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How Is It November Already

Nearly a whole year amid the wreckage.

November COVID

We’re hosting our own Election Night Twitch stream and Discord chat! It all kicks off on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET—get all the details here.

When this whole thing started, it was still quite cold in New York. I remember bundling up and going out for the daily trudge, dodging as many people as I could, and feeling miserable. Then we all started having to wear masks, so I would bundle up with my mask and go out for the daily trudge, dodging as many people as I could, with my glasses fogging all the way up and my breathing constricted and my nose running from the mask pinching it, and feeling my misery reaching interesting new heights.

If you don’t have glasses, it’s hard to describe the ennui that dealing with the mask-fogging brings, especially for someone like me who is a danger to all life if I don’t have my glasses on. I started researching all these techniques: oh, you should wipe the lenses with soap and let the soap dry and it creates a filter! Oh, you should put a piece of tissue paper under the mask and over your nose and it creates a barrier! Oh, there’s this special anti-fog spray that really works! The tissue paper worked the best, but nothing was perfect.

Then the spring and summer came around and the temperature shot way up and the fogging issue dissipated to a large degree, which was good, because there were a lot of other very important things to think about.

But now it is November, and the temperature has plummeted once more, and we are all pulling our cold-weather clothes from the back of the closet, and my glasses are going haywire again. I’ve got special anti-fog masks and special anti-fog cleaners and maybe I’ll put the tissue back under my eyes, but air is air, and there’s no 100 percent cure to this issue. (Yes I’m sure you have a great technique, just let me vent here.)

I say all this because I have been repeatedly clobbered by the simple, stupefying fact that we have been living in the nightmare long enough that we went through the entire weather cycle. We’ve done the masks in coats and scarves. We’ve done them in brisk jackets. We’ve done them in shorts and sunscreen. And now we are starting over again, and all the available evidence suggests that we could very well get through all the cycles once more before this thing ends.

Back in August, I wrote a blog called “How Is It August Already.” I was bowled over that we’d been living with COVID for so many months, that it had bulldozed its way into our world and set up seemingly permanent shop. And now it’s November! Three more months down the drain, and things are, unfathomably, worse across the country than they were in August. 75,000 people have died in those three months. Nearly a whole year amid the wreckage.

There is an election tomorrow, you may have heard. (Please watch the Discourse Blog stream, it’s the only way to deal.) The election is important—very important!—but, even if the good thing happens, it will not be like a magic switch that sends this tortured, grinding ache of a year away in an instant. COVID will not look at the election results and pull its suitcase out of the corner and start looking at plane tickets. The wreckage will still be there. We will still have to do something about it.