Hi my beloveds, how are you? I realize it’s been ages since I’ve been here, and I’m not sure why. Or, I’m a little sure why. Writing has been hard, but it’s been hard since the start of the pandemic and the reason I thought it was hard for months was that nothing new was happening in my life. I’m a creature of novelty. The other day I got paranoid out of my mind because I watched a video about narcissism and one of the top traits is novelty-seeking. Also, the title of the video was something like, “Why are narcissists always bored?”, and I read that and was like, oh shit, that’s me. If you know me and haven’t mentioned to me that I might be narcissistic but you think I am, please let me know.
   Anyway. Now things are sort of happening. I got my second vax in late May. Then waited the 2 weeks for science, then went out for a celebratory beer. I saw my friend’s band play at the farmer’s market in my neighborhood on my birthday, and 2 weeks ago I returned to my pole studio for in-person classes for the first time since March 2020. Even though these things are things I used to do, they are new again because of their absence in my life, and yet, even they have not inspired me to write.
   Of course, any writer worth a semicolon, (and semicolons are worth a lot, when used judiciously), will tell you that if they waited for inspiration to strike before they write, they would never write. You’re supposed to write anyway, even when, especially when, you’re not inspired. Those are the secret writerly rules. And I have been writing, unmotivatedly. My word counts have been feeble, though the writer rules would tell you not to pay attention to word count. What I’m saying is, there’s just not much to see here.
   What I’m also saying, if I’m being honest, is that “reentry” or “getting back to the new normal” has been difficult for me. Not impossible, not in a way I anticipate will last forever. I’ve had it blissfully good this past year: being able to work from home, having work at all. My struggles are with the reentry into ableism, into a world that I have battled with my entire life. The thing about not taking transit for 15 months is I almost forgot what that was like: people trying to schmooze my dog, telling me uninvited stories about their disabled friends, or the time they were “legally blind” for 5 minutes before they got the right glasses, or stopping me in the middle of a block to ask, “Where’re you trying to go?”, as if I am constantly lost. I also forgot how much energy it takes to navigate sidewalks with stuff everywhere: cars parked in weird places, people loitering, posts and poles and parking meters and restaurant tables and millions of other little things. I am easily frustrated and easily irritated. I’m probably a little depressed, probably a good time to get back into therapy. I am lucky to have that option, too.
   This morning I walked over to a coffee shop in my old neighborhood that I haven’t been to since early last year. There’s a big wall up blocking the stairs I usually take to get in. A guy leaned over it from the other side: “You have to go around,” he said. I stared at him, trying to hear over the brain-breaking rumble of Stone Way construction.
   “Around,” I said.
  “Yeah, just go left at the corner and go down the other way.”
   “Why?” I said stupidly, like he was the coffee shop guard and could explain all the changes this place  went through during the past year.
   Miraculously, though, he could. “Since they serve beer on this patio, the city made them put up a wall.”
   “Cool,” I said, “I haven’t been here in a while. Thank you.”
   That seems to sum it all up: I haven’t been here in a while. Where “here” is “anywhere.” So I’m getting used to being places again. It’s going to take a while. I’m going to have to be ok with that.

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