Varicella Zosterina recently declared that she has been feeling dread. I asked what she was dreading: the clinics? People? Responsibilities? Monday? And she said dread, period. Or in Gen Z terms: dread, periodT. Or maybe adding T is no longer even “in”, the way using the word “in” to denote that something is fashionable is so early 90’s. Back in high school many applicants for the editorial staff of the high school paper wanted the position of Features Editor, because he would be tasked to write the column “What’s In, What’s Out”. I’m pretty sure someone had just copied the idea from teen magazines with Brad Renfro and Jonathan Taylor Thomas on the cover. What’s in, of course, was anything you could buy from Gift Gate.

I tried to make like a disenchanted armchair psychotherapist and asked Varicella Zosterina to try to operationalize “dread”. If this were the early 2000’s, when I had zero listening skills I would probably interrupt her by saying “at least you don’t have a syphilitic chancre”. We also realized that it’s difficult to do psychotherapy while eating delicious food. We haven’t eaten in Amici in a very long time, and were quite surprised at how good the quality of the pasta was, as if the actual pasta was made in the kitchen and not bought form the grocery. Or maybe we were just terribly hungry.

One of my exploratory thoughts was maybe we’ve been held hostage by the pandemic for far too long, and we’re already feeling an unhealthy affinity to it, a la Stockholm Syndrome (or at least the way we understood that syndrome from the movies, we haven’t actually reviewed psychiatric manuals). It would be a challenge trying to re-integrate into the society at large, specially for schizoids like me. I’ve been asked a couple of times for dinners the past week, and I would always palpitate–for dread of having to interact, and for dread of still dying for COVID.

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