WORDS BY MARY LUCIA
I don’t know if it’s presumptuous to claim to be living in a post-COVID world, but I have noticed many noteworthy changes happening around me. People in everyday encounters seem extra timid and cautious. While getting dressed to go out, I deliberately go through my outfit item by item to eliminate the more car-jacky apparel. Normally, my favorite strangers to chat with are of generation OLD. These days, the codges want nothing to do with me.
Maybe it is because everyone’s most reliable news source seems to be the Next Door app, the gathering place for the special hybrid of entitlement and Get Off My Lawn demographic.
- I heard a loud bang at 1:20 AM.
- I have a used Diaper Genie for sale.
- Is this your cat that’s been living in my garage?
- I hate this city. I’m moving before I get murdered.
It’s also proficiency that’s sunk to a new generation of sloth, though, too, and I hope it’s not exclusive to me. If I hear “Sorry I didn’t see your email” as a viable excuse in a professional setting, I want off this planet. Same goes for “It is what it is” as any rational explanation for anything. Say it, I dare you: You are getting hip-checked into oncoming traffic.
Most startling, though, has been the realization that I no longer exist in a soundproof workplace. Think about that for a minute: My entire career, short of a hot mic, I’ve been headbanging to music at an intolerable tinnitus-inducing level. Screaming my frustrations aloud to no one in particular. All without disrupting a soul.
Funny story, a year ago when I knew I was going to be crafting an at-home recording studio, I asked one of the lifer audio engineers how best to do it. I crap you negative his response was, “Go to a U-Haul truck rental and steal their blankets.” I’m not a criminal, but thanks anyhoo.
But also, nobody informed me that in the summer of 2022 there was a citywide mandate of all-day fireworks. Also to my surprise, I lived on the Oprah “You get a new roof, you get a new roof” block!
Creating the quietest space possible at home to record voiceover auditions—usually five pages of boring IT instructions—only to be interrupted by my three pugs barking at top decibel at a neighbor half a block away receiving an Amazon package inevitably throws me into a world of F-bombs. Of course, this only ever happens after having read 99 percent of the copy without a stumble.
Because of the punishing 14-month long winter we’ve endured, my windows have been mostly closed. But now it’s summer: Grandma taking her daily heart-healthy walk will no longer be spared the flurry of expletives I’m hollering at any given moment. I’m sure my new neighbors think they have Joe Pesci as a neighbor.
Luckily, it was the dead of winter when I last threatened to throw Enzo’s head into a fucking pizza oven. Enzo. Sweet. Tiny. Headstrong. Demonic Enzo. Adopting an eight-week-old puppy seemed like a blissful idea a year ago: Freelance writing, recording, writing a book—no sweat! How could I have known that it would be the equivalent of babysitting Keith Moon on a 24-hour drug tear? My new job is ensuring he doesn’t perish or drive a Mercedes into a hotel pool.
He’s stinking adorable, but he gives off a definite Damien vibe, especially while on a walk. People are literally crossing the street to avoid him. Large dogs strain away on their leashes to steer clear of this 13-pound menace. Flocks of birds scatter from above.
Cue Lee Remick’s car being assaulted by a gang of hooting, angry baboons. Believe me, while bathing him I have searched through his cute little fur looking for the mark of the beastmaster.
The house is stocked with chew-friendly toys, but whenever there is an unnerving amount of quiet, I have to investigate what he’s busy chewing on. Hundreds of dollars of pet toys and I’m chasing him around the dining room table to pry my negative COVID test from his mouth.
Still, noise and chaos aside, the whole work-from-home routine finds me diligently reporting to my tiny office/recording studio every morning fully dressed. (Sidenote: I relax at home with my boots on.)
Perhaps my crowning achievement this last year was finally acquiring health insurance. I’ve been telling people for the last three years my “dental plan” was to refrain from chewing on the left side of my mouth where I imagine there to be several rotten molars with angry, raw nerves exposed. Jumping through the tedious bureaucratic hoops that seem designed to make every applicant feel like the village idiot, I don’t know where I found the mental fortitude to stick with the never-ending process.
Incomplete form. Denial. Court appeals. Attachment failure. Clarification: So, you’re unemployed, you subsist on eating sand, you have zero dependents. We’re still going to need a copy of your W-9’s from 1998. By the looks on my friends’ faces throughout this month’s long ordeal I should’ve known this would be tantamount to splitting the atom. Now all I want to know is Does MNSure cover shock treatment?
Because I’m no longer broadcasting daily from a soundproof padded cell, I’ve been meaning to say something for months: Thanks sincerely for reading my writing.
Now shut the fuck up.
Life on a Chain, Pete Yorn
Nate’s Song, The Lashes
Which of the Two of Us is Going to Burn This House Down, The Star Spangles
Beauty Deluxe, Visqueen
I’ve Done Everything for You, Rick Springfield
What You Need, INXS
Isn’t It a Pity-Version 1, 2020 Mix, George Harrison
Água de Beber, Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim
Madame Butterfly (Un Bel Di Vedremo), Malcolm McLaren
E=MC2, Big Audio Dynamite
It’s a Good Day (to Fight the System), Shungudzo
Waving, Smiling, Angel Olsen
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jaques Morelenbaum, Everton Nelson