There’s a scene in Singles — Cameron Crowe’s 1992 under-appreciated grunge-era comedy masterpiece (and one of my favorite movies ever) — in which Steve (Campbell Scott) and Linda (Kyra Sedgwick) are awaiting the results of a home pregnancy test. If it’s blue, they’re expecting. If it’s clear, they’re not.
After ten minutes, they examine the vial and have a debate over it.
“That’s bluish, right?” Steve asks.
“It’s fairly blue,” Linda agrees.
Still not 100% sure, they decide to put it against something blue. And then, against something white. The scene is great because there’s nothing bluISH about that vial. It’s a deep, dark, undeniable blue. She’s preggers alright, but they are in too much shock to admit it.
Hey, speaking of home test kits, you know what else was undeniably positive this morning? My COVID test.
What. The. Eff.
I’d managed to go two and a half years without getting the dreaded coronavirus. Even spent a week in quarantine with my positive wife and never experienced so much as a sniffle. Just this week, the daily Madison newspaper switched their COVID reporting from daily to weekly because cases have dropped so dramatically.
Man. Talk about late to the party, huh?
And yet, not a total shock. Sunday morning, when we picked my parents up from their hotel, my dad informed us he had come down with a cold and slept like shit the night before. When he said he had a sore throat, we suggested he take a COVID test, but that never happened.
The day they left, I worked from home, and noticed I was coughing and sneezing a bit. Nothing real bad, so I went into the office the next day. My symptoms worsened, so I avoided everybody else and worked from home again on Thursday. I’d chalked it up to a rare bad cold, but when I woke up this morning and felt like I’d swallowed a mouthful of hot coals, I broke out a home test.
Figuring out how to take that thing was like deciphering hieroglyphics. Insert swab into nostril. Rub in circular motion. Repeat with other nostril. Break seal. Swirl in solution for 30 seconds. Rotate five times while squeezing. Put your right hand in, put your right hand out, put your right hand in, then you shake it all about.
So, that’s what a COVID test is all about…
I did all this right before stepping into the shower. The instructions said the results would take 15 minutes, but that positive line lit up like a Christmas tree within seconds. Nothing bluISH about those results either.
Metaphorically speaking. It’s actually a red line.
Earlier in the week, when I told Tara how miserable I was feeling, she replied rather condescendingly, “Sounds like somebody’s suffering from a man cold.”
I wasn’t offended. This is how we interact. And truth be told, I get sick so rarely, when I do end up with a cold, fine: I tend to whine about it. Still, it gave me a bit of perverse pleasure informing her this morning that she was wrong.
“Man cold, my ass!” I told her after I’d finished my shower. “I’m COVID-positive, bee-yotch!”
Has anybody ever so gleefully shared bad news? Probably not.
Then, I had to let my folks know. It was still super early on the west coast when I texted my mom, so I just asked her to call me ASAP. Don’t worry, nobody’s dead, I added, because when you wake up to a text like that, naturally your mind will go to dark places.
When my mom called a couple of hours later, she was still anxious. She knew that nobody had died, but assumed instead we were in the hospital, badly injured.
Guess that plan backfired.
“Hey, how are you guys feeling?” I asked.
“Well, I caught your dad’s cold the day after we got home,” she replied.
“Mmm-hmm. I see. Do you have a cough? Runny nose? Splitting headache?”
“Yes, yes, and yes.”
“I think you’d better take a COVID test.”
Tara, for the record, is perfectly fine. There isn’t exactly a lot of space to self-isolate in our apartment, so she’s been exposed for days. We figure maybe her bout with COVID earlier this year boosted her immunity. Plus, she had a cold a couple of weeks ago herself (though she did test negative then). Her immune system’s doing a spirited job of keeping her healthy, knock on wood.
I’m going to live. All things considered, I don’t feel too terribly bad. As annoying as these symptoms are, they’re more an inconvenience than anything else. I can still smell and taste and don’t feel especially sluggish. I can (and am) working from home, so all I can do is power through with rest, hydration, and medication. Hopefully by Monday, I’ll be back to normal. If a boring-ass weekend is the biggest fallout from this whole thing, I can’t complain too much.
Although, I gotta say, between the elbow/arm sprain from moving, the twisted ankle, and now COVID, I’m feeling like I can’t catch much of a break these days.
Tara would accuse me of making a “man complaint” anyway, so my lips are sealed.