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  • stefaninellen

Dear Diary: January 2021: Lockdown from here to Infinity.

It took a while, but I finally got there: staring into space and wondering what day of the week it was.

Remembering (correction: looking at the bottom of our digital kitchen clock and reading the answer), and concluding that it doesn't matter, anyway.

This morning, I spent long seconds wondering whether it was still December, and then wondered why I was wondering, where that idea to wonder had come from, where ideas come from, in general, and what an idea even is. Or used to be.

Another first: wearing the same clothes all week (and celebrating myself for bothering to change underwear, at least). Leaving the house wearing these same clothes. A ten year-old pair of "lounge" pants that's starting to get threadbare at the knees and bottom. It gets dark at 16:30, my winter jacket covers most of me, and no one gives a fuck, anyway.

Going on a run wearing these same pants.

Running out of deodorant and using Niels's deodorant instead. Goodbye, "Persian Lime," welcome "Nivea for men."

Giving the finger to a newspaper article about the British mutation.

Niels told me he's been interviewed about ways in which this pandemic helps universities to level up their online instruction game, and asked whether virtual classrooms are the wave of the future. He told the interviewers than no one can answer this question right now, because everyone is too busy doing damage control.

Dancing with Floris to "This Must Be the Place" by the Talking Heads at the end of the day as he's brushing his teeth and I'm drinking my 100th cup of Senseo coffee.

We're doing okay. The number of virus particles measured in the sewage water around the city of Groningen is going down.

I despise the lockdown as much as ever, but at least it's finally working. Still, I question the decision to design the government's official corona information website using a palette of red wine and dull navy. Summer night debauchery meets taxpayer's delight. Which one is it?

Sitting on the edge of the bathtub before or after brushing my own teeth at around midnight, cackling madly while texting with a friend who's currently not allowed to move more than 15km away from her home in a virus hotspot in Germany. We pretend the new vaccines are drugs, or perfume flavors, or fashion outfits from which we can choose.

(In reality, we can't.)

Find your look, your theme, and define who you are.

Chic and exclusive? Moderna.

Wild, crazy, a bit of a daredevil? BioNTech/Pfizer.

Mainstream, and not trying to hide it? Astra Zeneca.

On a budget? Sputnik V/Sinovac.

Prefer to sit this one out and wait for the Fall collection? Janssen/Curevac/Sanofi.

Daydreaming about my personal vaccination day.

It will be in late Summer of 2021. I will bike to the Martiniplaza, formerly a site hosting, among other things, dance performances and indoor athletics championships.

I'll look great on the bike. Toned and intriguing. I'll carry my "Hey babe, why don't you come let us vaccinate you?" note stuck between my fingers, so everyone can see what kind of mission I'm on, and wave at me with unjealous happiness.

The wide open sidewalk cafés are populated by everyone else who was in line before me to get vaccinated: the kind of super fit senior citizens typically cast in Viagra commercials, heroic hospital frontline workers emanating their honestly earned sex appeal, and, if you please, every single teacher in town.

I bike past all of them, breeze into the logically and efficiently set up vaccination space, and am waved to an ergonomically designed chair by my personal Injector. The Injector happens to be male, and aware of my femaleness in a classy and appreciative manner. He is also simultaneously the young Rutger Hauer and Viggo Mortensen at his peak: Strider in Lord of the Rings.

Walking on air, I approach him and the ergonomically designed chair, and take a seat. My Injector takes my hand with both of his. His hands are warm. For a long moment, he and I gaze into each other's eyes. This is fine. We have all the time in the world.

"Ready?" he asks, and of course I am. To the tumbling first bars of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On," the needle penetrates my rosy flesh in slow motion.

The moment lasts for an eternity—and yet, it has to end. The next person is already waiting in line. I get up and, after squeezing the Injector's hand, let it slip out of mine and sashay away, looking forward to my second shot.

It's fine, next person in line. You can have him now.

We're all sensitive people, with so much to give.

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