A Journal of the Plague Year 2021–chapter 238

New York City’s skyline at Union Square.

Sunday, November 14

“The time in bed was more work than rest,” writes Nick Paumgarten in a recent New Yorker article.

I often feel that way—the result probably of my grueling, sweaty-sheet-inducing dreams, which make me want to get up and get out of bed and drag the comb across my head. 

But if I get up, I need a nap.

Paumgarten’s article is about how these days, many people say they frequently feel tired and wonder how they might get more energy. The article is a fairly deep dive into the science of humans’ metabolic system, with little visits to the research of Columbia University behavioral-medicine doctors, California cardiologists, and blast-from-the-past psychic frontiersmen like Franz Mesmer and orgone box inventor Wilhelm Reich.

You remember Reich, no? His orgone accumulator drew Age of Aquarius public attention because it was said to enhance orgasms, among other things. He was around in the 1950s, when such sex talk was scorned and drew the attention of our very own Torquemada, a.k.a. J. Edgar Hoover. Reich was ultimately jailed for shipping orgone boxes across state lines and died in the federal pen in 1957.

Anyway, anyway. 

Emily and I are back in Gotham, experiencing our very own Inquisition at the hands of a variety of dentists and physicians. Between us we have something like ten appointments scheduled near term. The dentist appointments—which feature numerous fillings, crown-fittings and root canals—are particularly pressing since my former employer, now wearing the guise of S&P Global, recently announced in an 8-point-type form letter that they were canceling our dental insurance. 

The other day, I walked over to my Eighth Avenue gym, where thanks to United Health Care I still enjoy a membership, and was denied admission since I did not have proof of COVID vaccination with me. 

Now on the one hand, I endorse their uncompromising, pro-science stand. On the other hand, since in the past my locker there has been broken into and possessions stolen, I wouldn’t dare carry the much-envied “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card” anywhere near New York Sports Club.

So I came back to the apt and downloaded an app for the New York State Excelsior Pass, which certifies that I have indeed had the jabs. I hope that will do the trick.

Mind you, it does suggest that Big Brother is watching, just as the anti-vaxxers say. Precisely what other info does the Excelsior pass contain, I wonder?

The time approaches for the visit of our niece, Montana, who intends to get a COVID test on her way over. Then, we will have a feast of croissants, Italian prune plums, guacamole, fresh apple cider, and more. You just can’t get these things in Kansas City, no matter how up to date that place is. (Maybe Cinnabon or Dunkin’ is just as good. You bet.)

Dinner: If we’re not too stuffed from brunch, it will be spaghetti Bolognese and salad.

Entertainment: Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries via Kanopy.