My story​ will be that John Harvard gave it to me.
July 8, 2020 10:18 AM   Subscribe

The first real symptoms were not mine, but my cat’s. Miette, who kisses me on the lips each morning to see if I have become food yet, became deathly ill with a stomach virus two days after my return; my other cats soon contracted it as well. I know what you’re thinking, but please let my husband have this. It pleases him so much to believe that our cats might have had coronavirus “before those cats in Belgium”.
Patricia Lockwood writes a plague diary for the London Review of Books: “Insane after coronavirus?”
posted by Going To Maine (26 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Related, from Andrew Liptak in The Verge (2018): “Tesla Briefly Offered A $1,000 Surfboard”
posted by Going To Maine at 10:25 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]

(how much does a good surfboard usually cost?)
posted by SoberHighland at 10:44 AM on July 8 [1 favorite]

For everyone else whose first concern was for the poor sick cats: they appear to have recovered OK.

(The author clearly did not actually know what I was thinking. When sick pets are being discussed, what I am thinking is "oh no, are they okay" and "photos please".)
posted by ZaphodB at 10:54 AM on July 8 [22 favorites]

In her twitter thread about the piece Patricia “MeFi’s Own” Lockwood does indeed provide a picture of a recovered Miette.
posted by Kattullus at 10:58 AM on July 8 [8 favorites]

This was generally a tour de force but I must admit what stuck with me with the most urgency was: was the Q&A board she mentioned where people were asking about how to stop nose picking the Green? Is Patricia Lockwood One of Us??
posted by potrzebie at 10:58 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]

(how much does a good surfboard usually cost?)

$1000, same in Laguna.
posted by clavdivs at 11:04 AM on July 8 [6 favorites]

Also I'm so glad she's okay.
posted by potrzebie at 11:10 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]

TechBros going to Mollusk play more than $1k, but a custom board built by a decent shaper will come in at about 1000 bucks.
posted by sideshow at 11:18 AM on July 8

This was HILARIOUS -- thank you so much for posting it, Going to Maine. The bit about Titanic. The accusations of fakeness in coughing. The Skyrim repetition. Creed and soup. The cryptic "quarantine" file. And it's so expressive, too, like in the bit about Internet rumors, and the line

Beauty played outside the window like a movie.

which -- yes, that's what it's like for me, too, in a beautiful spring and summer in New York City.
posted by brainwane at 11:22 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]

Also I'm so glad she's okay.

I get where this comes from, and I also thought this article was hilarious, but my takeaway from this was quite the opposite:
I explained to a different blurry doctor that after three months I was still experiencing intermittent symptoms: low-grade fever and difficulty breathing, mysterious arthritic nodules that had developed all over my hands, and for three weeks an almost total numbness in my legs, feet, arms and face. I was aphasic, stumbling in my speech, transposing syllables, choosing the wrong nouns entirely. Some of the delusions I had developed during the most severe phase of illness persisted: that my vision was a picture that had been pasted in front of my eyes, that my floorboards, creaking with the expansive spring humidity, were going to fall through. Hours, days had fallen out of my memory like chunks of plaster.
All this after *3 months*. And no way of knowing when, or even if, she will ever fully recover. I hope people are reading this and taking away that even a mild case of covid (because that's what this is) could have lifelong consequences. It's incredibly irresponsible how casual people in this country are being about so-called 'mild' infections, especially as regards children - the point of a novel virus is we have no idea of the long-term outcomes.
posted by aiglet at 11:42 AM on July 8 [34 favorites]

Thanks for posting this. I burst out laughing at "I read crazily, as if I were a train and the last page was Anna Karenina."

According to her twitter she still has severe arthritis and can only type with the use of a stylus. Sixty thousand new cases a day in this country, and that's just the ones we know about.
posted by theodolite at 11:50 AM on July 8 [4 favorites]

I didn't say "I'm so glad she's in perfect health/back to normal/totally fine/recovered" for a reason. She's not in magnificent shape, but I'd describe her current state as "okay", which I did. She's able to write like this again. It's not perfect, but she's climbing uphill.

I'm glad she made it. That's what I meant by "okay".
posted by potrzebie at 11:57 AM on July 8 [11 favorites]

I've been terrified of long-term neurological effects of COVID -- and while Lockwood's piece makes it clear that I'm right to be terrified, it is also a helpful reminder that these effects don't mean loss of the self. It's too easy to conflate damage to the brain with some kind of absence or disappearance of the self, the soul, and that conflation is both a capitulation to anxiety and an easy way to start dehumanizing people with disabilities. I have no idea if Lockwood is going to fully recover, or if anyone who's had COVID will, but I take comfort in her recognition that she hasn't gone away, that she still recognizes herself, that her brain has its old themes and patterns even though it has suffered serious harm.
posted by thesmallmachine at 12:04 PM on July 8 [16 favorites]

It's only in the past couple of weeks that I've actually become scared of COVID. Of course, since March, I've been careful, cautious, handwashing, quarantining, doing my best -- but only since I've learned what it does to people, healthy people of any age or walk of life, have I become terrified. And it's taken months to even begin to shake out what it's capable of.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:09 PM on July 8 [15 favorites]

Apologies, potrzebie, it was not my intent to imply that you specifically were minimizing the effects of her disease, and I agree that this article is proof she is pulling through - the casualness I was referring to is the general minimization of the effects of 'mild' covid cases that you can find all over social media here in the US. I also think that the humour, while entertaining, kind of encourages this type of minimization - it comes across like she is trying to convince herself it will all be ok, finding the funny in a frankly scary situation, but I can't help but read this as a strongly cautionary tale.
posted by aiglet at 12:52 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]

I cherish this proof of life from her. And I am almost certain she is talking about Ask Metafilter w/r/t the nose picking threads.
posted by Tesseractive at 2:37 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]

I’m uncertain about the “obscene ceramics featuring Kermit going down on Miss Piggy”, but this is probably the Garfield tee-shirt.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:23 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]

I am starting to think cats definitely do get Covid19 and a warning sign was a pile of 'em dying at the start of this year in my social group.

Probably paranoid.

Poor Miette.
posted by Phalene at 4:30 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]

Thanks for that. I knew about Miette but I had no idea she was such an amazing writer.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:06 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]

I’m uncertain about the “obscene ceramics featuring Kermit going down on Miss Piggy”

They are by Emilio Rangel and I need to get off the internet
posted by babelfish at 7:44 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]

later, of course, it turned out that he was also delirious and had been playing the same twenty minutes of Skyrim over and over without ever progressing. When he checked later he saw he had saved 130 games, and that all of the characters he had so painstakingly created had ripped abs, leather outfits and huge cat heads

That's amazing. I never want it to happen to me or anyone else, but amazing.

See, and here I was thinking the depression and dissociation brought on by being by myself a lot were getting bad. I've gotten used to crying at least once a day, and I've been repeatedly vaguely freaked out that my cats are alive—not like I'm going to do anything weird, to be clear, but more like one common manifestation of my OCD and anxiety combo is to worry that I'm secretly a really bad person, and one manifestation of that is now worrying that I'm secretly a really bad pet caregiver. But my cats are in fact healthy and happy and well-fed and have more toys than ever, and everything in their life is good, and I definitely haven't had this virus yet and never want to have it, so I'm gonna keep staying inside, with my fully stocked freezer of frozen raw cat food and backup dry and canned cat food. Whatever mental health issues I might be having from avoiding the virus are nothing compared to, like, Lockwood's aphasia and deep delusions plus a ton of new and ongoing physical problems. This virus, man.

Otherwise, oh wow, re: Mexican sculptor Emilio Rangel, there are many more wildly NSFW ceramics where that came from.
posted by limeonaire at 8:19 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]

I am certain the "multiple questions in those early days from people desperately wondering how to stop picking their noses" is in reference to this ashamed ask and its companion four days later in early March.
posted by zenon at 8:35 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]

I just realized there was a Khia reference in the piece, which is, as far as I can tell, a first in the LRB.
posted by Kattullus at 5:43 AM on July 9

yeah I'm sorry I know this is supposed to make me more afraid of the virus but this already sounds identical to my quarantine life? except instead of Skyrim my housemate watches the same episode of television 4 times a day every day while thinking she's making progress in a series, and I have not yet researched muppet erotica.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:33 PM on July 9

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