if we're vaccinated. And if we want to. We've stopped quarantining our materials for four days, but we still have our plexiglass partitions, which I hate. It's hard to hear what patrons are saying, and inevitably, I have to roll out from behind the partition on my roll-y chair so I can hear them better. Especially the mumbly kids,
who aren't old enough to be vaccinated and still wear their masks, so maybe I should keep wearing mine too in solidarity? And how do we go from wearing a mask every day to just... not, and how do we know who's vaccinated, and odds are it's 50/50 around where I live, and I'm no longer worrying for myself at the moment because I understand how vaccines work, but what about dangerous variants--
and all of this analysis of risk and what my responsibilities are to my fellow human beings is making me tired. I just want to talk about books,
the book I read last week, for example, called Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips which takes place on a remote peninsula in Russia where two little girls have gone missing. All of the chapters are different, interlocking stories, women in the area, who are doing the best they can, but feeling trapped and everything they know about their world seems to be changing and it's hard for them to make sense of it.
Or the book I read before that, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, which is about a woman from Nigeria who moves to America to study, her experiences as an immigrant and as a Black woman who is not African American, the cruelty and casual racism, the crappy arrogant way white Americans view immigrants and Black Americans, but also, it's a love story about a long ago romance with a like-minded man and how they've gone their separate ways and somehow manage to find their way back to each other, in Nigeria.
Or the book I read before that, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, which was about a despondent girl who regrets most of the decisions she's made in her life, but is given a second chance (actually, she's given a million chances) to try again and again and again, until she gets it right.
I don't have many regrets, but I do appreciate second chances, and aren't we profoundly lucky, those of us who've made it through this thing, the first Global Pandemic since 1918, so far, anyway, slipping our masks off or keeping them on,
for just a little while longer, mindful of each other and our varying degrees of trauma, our wishes to return to normal, to browse in libraries, to read books
and to share them.