It’s the middle of September and in these parts this means it’s back-to-school time. What fun!
First days of school
School is starting in-person this year unlike other parts of the world so it’s been extra-exciting. Class schedules have been changed so there are as few kids outside classrooms at any given time as possible and there are mask requirements, so I’d say our schools have been well prepared. And while it is a rare moment where I’m part of the majority, there have been dissenters. Opponents. Mothers in crisis.
It took me a while to notice there was some drama going on in social networks because I was too busy (happily) settling into my schedule. Also, the year started with a couple of incidents in Cat’s class, one involving a girl who slipped and fell carrying a glass thermos (seriously, glass?), cutting her palm, and the other involving Cat falling on her way back from the cafeteria (she’d forgotten her smart watch and mask there) and getting a couple of impressive scrapes.
While this was happening, some parents screamed to high heaven schools and health authorities were turning their children into slaves. I still have no idea how a requirement to wear a face mask during breaks between classes makes anyone a slave although I tried. Perhaps it’s the feeling that having someone tell you what to do is a form of slavery. It’s quite popular around here. Perhaps it’s the very fact kids are back to school in person. I really don’t know and I’ve given up trying to see sense in this latest outbreak of emotions. It could be just boredom, really.
I have exhausted my emotional capacity to worry about Covid-19 and we’re now in “Come what may” mode of operation in our family. There’s only so much we can do to protect ourselves and we’re doing it. The rest is out of our control so we’re not thinking about it, much. Whenever did we mature this much?
The sweet torture of hypochondria
I was doing some research into early onset dementia for my book earlier today and I was reminded of the many wonderful sensations and emotions hypochondria could bring into your life in under a minute. Those palpitations when you read one of the symptoms of EOD is forgetting the right word? No other palpitations can compare. The family history of vascular dementia and precious memories from the last ten years of my father’s life? Unbeatable. And the sense of tension in the back of the head, which may be high blood pressure or it may be a tumour, or who knows what it could be? Priceless.
I actually wouldn’t say I’m a hypochondriac as such. I definitely do not enjoy feeling ill for any reason. I dread illness because it would waste me so much time in going to doctors and getting a treatment. The last time I injured myself (fell on the skating rink, landed on my hand, fractured some bone in the wrist) I only went to the hospital the next day, because I tried to will it to get better on its own. I failed and had to carry an arm brace for a month.
My problem is that I’m highly suggestible to my own brain’s manipulations. They are particularly effective, of course, when there is a rational basis for them, such as, you know, heredity. And, of a similar course, the flood of information about all sorts of horrible diseases that you can unleash with a couple of clicks doesn’t help, either. A sneezing bout a few days ago immediately got me thinking about The Virus, knowing how versatile the tiny son of a bitch is. Luckily, it turned out to be something allergic because Claritine helped. But I can’t begin to describe the thoughts and feelings I had in the time between I took the pill and it started doing its job.
The neverending contest
There’s a game me and Big C. have been playing for pretty much 20 years now. I shall call it “No, we’re worse” and it basically comes down to comparing various aspects of life in Bulgaria and Romania, trying for the most unflattering light of our respective motherlands. I suspect it’s actually a regional sport, right up there after complaining, but we’re in the unique position to live together, so we can reach a lot deeper, well, depths.
It’s an unending contest because while I have had to concede a few rounds, I’m not conceding on the important stuff such as quality of education and general level of stupidity even when we’re playing two against one, the two being Big C. and his brother, who’s refreshingly and infuriatingly extreme in his opinions.
The latest match concerned corruption. For those who are blissfully unaware of life in the big European family, Bulgaria and Romania are traditionally at the bottom of any corruption ranking unless they’re at the top if the ranking is of the worst-first sort. And here was Big C. last night telling me Bulgarian corruption is a small child compared to its big Romanian brother.
To say this was a statement difficult to swallow is to say nothing. For years media and social networks have been telling me we are the worst at everything — or, you know, the best, depending on perspective — and now this clueless Romanian, who speaks of his compatriots as “they” and who has lived here now more years that he’d lived in Romania, tells me we’re not the best at corruption. There’s a lot I would take from him but challenging my patriotic beliefs about the level of corruptedness of government officials and public servants? That was offensive. The contest continues.