It was bound to happen. No matter how exceptional I think I am, no matter how careful we have all been for the first two years of this pandemic, over the last few months it has become clear that some variety of Covid is likely to invade our bodies, sooner or later.

A week ago, I thought it was a head cold, and maybe it was. Three nose swabs came up negative last month; so did another when I started to feel lousy early last week. After the first three days of achy, itchy, sneezy misery, I felt better and chalked it up to allergy season.

Meanwhile, in the world beyond my small circle of personal concern, an American journalist named Shireen Abu Akleh, wearing a bulletproof vest clearly labeled “Press,” was shot in the head and killed in the Palestinian city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

On Thursday morning I had a sore throat and took another antigen test. The result showed quickly, a little line next to the one that shows the test is working, just like the pictures in the pamphlet. I made some phone calls and sent text messages to my boss and the HR person at work, the manager of my apartment building, several friends I had been with in the last few days, and the organizers of two municipal committee meetings I attended earlier in the week.

Then I called my doctor’s office to see what else I should do.

When the nurse called me back and got all the details of my symptoms and their timing, she looked over the CDC guidelines and told me I should stay home for at least four more days and test again before going out into the world, wearing a mask in public for five days after that.

Also on Thursday, Democrats in Congress floated a doomed bill that, rather than simply set into law abortion protections that began in 1973, which might have passed, pushed too hard against the growing reactionary tide of reproductive restrictions now sweeping the country. Meanwhile, the Israeli government began walking back from its original assertion that Abu Alekh was killed by a Palestinian bullet, since there was no evidence of such activity in the street where the reporter was killed and plenty of footage of IDF soldiers shooting at the reporter and her crew.

It’s a lot harder to stay home now than it was two years ago, a lot harder to find comfortable distraction. For one thing, the first quarantine was in winter and now it is glorious spring. For another, back then I had yet to exhaust the offerings on Netflix and Hulu. None of us were alone by ourselves in 2020. We were all going through isolation, and shared difficulty is almost always easier.

On Friday May 13, when I started writing, the internet in my building failed. No one I could reach had any information about the outage. I turned on my cellphone hot spot to read that Finland was applying for NATO membership, top Republicans were being subpoenaed about their involvement in the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, and the contrarian governor of Florida — known for defending gun rights in a state where an eighth grader with a history of violent mental illness was recently able to obtain enough firepower to initiate a standoff with the local sheriff’s office — is being considered as a sane choice to lead the Republican Party.

I live in a small apartment where all the windows face the setting sun and access to the out of doors is through shared hallways. The stairway nearest my apartment can take me outside without risk of contacting others but getting back in requires me to enter through one of only two keyed entries. My mailbox is in a common space, as is the laundry.

Saturday, as boredom occupied my self-absorbed attention, Israeli police attacked peaceful mourners in Jerusalem, citing their refusal to put Abu Alekh’s body into a hearse. Pall bearers showing respect to a fallen journalist were kicked and beaten.

Here in Maine, friends post photos of their freshly launched sailboats, plant sales are underway, and in spite of gas prices that (when adjusted for inflation) almost rival those of a dozen years ago, we are expecting a bumper crop of tourists.

Today is Sunday and I awoke to news that an 18-year-old from Conklin, N.Y. had driven 200 miles to a Buffalo supermarket where, armed with an assault weapon and protected by body armor, he killed 10 innocent humans. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment late Saturday, in spite of having previously posted a detailed plan online aimed finding and killing as many Black people as possible.

It is easy to live in isolation. Quarantine is not required. So much of what we ignore happens far away. It shouldn’t take boredom to initiate a search for news.

We live in a society that allows children access to weapons of mass destruction, where adults are criminalized for difficult choices and violence is woven into entertainment. Two years into Covid, we still issue a daily count of the infected and the dead, while out on the streets murder becomes too common to notice.

Shlomit Auciello is a writer, photographer, and human ecologist who has lived in Midcoast Maine since 1988. Letter From Away has appeared online and in print, on and off since 1992, and is published here on a weekly basis.

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