A year ago today is a day where many of us Americans had to start taking COVID-19 more seriously.
I worked that day, not knowing it'd be my last full week of work before we got furloughed. It feels weird to say this, but I was working — when I could, as the airport valet operation had gotten much less busy starting late February — with the knowledge that I would go on vacation the next week, taking PTO so I could go to the Coast. Had I not arranged that, I would have had one more full week of work, Sunday the 15th to Thursday the 19th, then...furloughed. (Which happened on Friday the 20th.)
I remember Tuesday the 17th, the day before my trip, where a boss person who otherwise didn't come to the valet booth came to the booth and told us, smiling more than I think was warranted (grr), that we were very likely to get furloughed because our traffic had fallen off so much. I remember that Tuesday at work for other reasons I won't get into here, but I'd tell you directly if you asked.
I wish I had more record of what I was saying and feeling at that time a year ago. Maybe I didn't feel up for it; I was probably processing the news, which was big and worrying. My Facebook posts were a photo I'd saved from the airport, taken during one of my breaks, and a Star Wars joke. I just checked my Twitter account, and I didn't tweet much that day, either. (What I did do, after work, was drive to a 24-hour Mexican restaurant I like called Javier's in North Portland. I haven't been there since. Luckily, as I just confirmed, Javier's is still open.)
So. I'm still here. So many aren't. I've managed, sometimes all right, sometimes not nearly as well. There've been tears. There've been rants. There've been scares, and sadness. There've been reprieves where it was easier to enjoy things, to feel good or at least better about stuff. Under careful conditions, there have been hugs...while masked, but: I've been hugged a single-digit number of times this past year. That, for me, is way, way, way low. Whoa. Huh. I hadn't thought of it that way until just now.
It's a big anniversary. And it's happening as maybe, maybe, we get on a more clear path to Better Times After This. But this year...it's been a tough time.
I don't have a poetic way to close this, so: see ya.