The flies are here

This morning my oldest son announced that he had a wart on his foot.  And yes…there it was, the intruder all round and bulky staring at me with its little eye in the middle, all defiant, shouting…. Yes m’am! Despite all this chaos…here I am.  What are you going to do about it, huh? After observing it for a while, I calmly said, “Put a sock on that foot and don´t take it off, if you take it off,  we´ll all get it.”  So now, this is his natural state, in pj’s, with disheveled hair, doing his homework from his computer, barefoot on one foot and with a sock on the other.  A surreal vision that would have driven me nuts in the past era, the era of humanity that ended three weeks ago.

To think, only a few weeks ago I would have immediately taken him to the podiatrist and in an instant the problem would have disappeared.  My God…how much control I had only three weeks ago! Now, like with everything else, I have been forced to yield all control….I now grant you the scepter, honorable wart. Now you shall decide, it is under your power, whether or not to creep up on the remaining nine feet of my family.

Each time I read novels or watched movies that talked about civil wars, the Holocaust, Cholera, Spanish Influenza, a slight but palpable uneasiness crossed my mind. When will something bad hit us? Like, truly bad? Given the history of humanity, statistics will teach us it is nearly impossible to live a long, say ninety-year-old life, immune to any disaster.  I get chills thinking it’s here.  The day is here! Every time my conscience warned me…Do not spend all your paycheck… you should save a little bit “por si las moscas”… in Spanish, literally translated…In case the flies (flies like in insects)…. which makes no sense at all, but it is a Mexican saying that translates…Just in case something bad happens… well, guess what?   The flies are here! An apocalyptic plague of green disgusting flies with angry bites of uncertainty, anguish, zero income, little patience at home, irritability with the husband, with the kids, with oneself, and tremendous, collossal boredom…

Time passes by slowly these days, there’s enough time to do it all.  Big enthusiastic projects fluttered through my mind the first day of this new era:  at last I would paint the mural I had in mind in the guest room, I would now have time to return to writing my weekly articles, my Internet page would finally be upgraded,  I would meditate for thirty minutes, I would stick to a tough exercise routine.  I have not done any of those projects.  Not one.  I am spellbound under an apathetic lethargy, and sometimes I want to drink a glass of wine. This is new, I had never had this desire in weekdays before.  Like yesterday, I decided to make an especially strenuous recipe from Julia Child’s cooking book to kill a few hours. It was Beef Bourguignon and it needed three cups of red wine.  Well, I poured two in the pan and drank the other two glasses at ten in the morning, a cheap cooking wine that tasted like heaven.   The rest of the day, I had this visión of myself as an old decrepit, white-headed lady in an AA meeting many years from now saying… Hello, my name is Regina and I am an alcoholic…and then they’d say… Hello Regina…and then I’d say…It all started in the 2020 quarentine…some of you weren’t even born yet, but let me tell you, it was not an easy time… to get my mind off things, I started to choose to cook recipes that had wine in them….

The only semi optimistic idea that sustains me today is to think…if this lasted only three more months… if I knew for sure, if it were a fact, that everything will end in three months, would this change my state of mind? Would I start one of my projects? Would I stop choosing recipes with wine? I don’t know! I don’t know anything!   But at least this idea makes me sit down and write for the first time since this lockdown started.

I write this article in a trance of total distraction…I stand up every five minutes and supervise my kid’s homework.  I jump from the dining room to the kitchen table, the new classrooms, trying to understand a quiz about the Cold War for my freshman son and then help my second-grade daughter create an octopus from a tube of toilet paper for her art project.   Then, I sit down again and write another pharagraph, then I delete it because it’s so bad, then I write another that I think is a little better.  Then, I see another notification in my phone…I swear, one of my new projects will have to be to get the courage to block that person that sends such stupid messages every two minutes.

In between trips, I turn off the stove. The tomatoes are boiling.  I get the sharpest knife I have and I start to chop the onions and garlic, because today I will make red salsa with chile ancho.  This red salsa, I say this with total honesty, is the project that excites me the most today. Yes, that’s right.  My new reality.   I think of the amount of chili I will put in it.  I like my salsa very spicy, my husband very mild.  So what will it be? Spicy or mild?  I smile.  At least in my kitchen, I still have the power to rule as I damn well please.

Regina Moya,  day 18 of lockdown.