Little by Little and Bit by Bit

I’m not ready to go back into the world either, Homer.

After all the false starts and false hope of the last year and a half, it looks like this might be it: COVID-19 is on its uppers. It’s not gone quite yet, but it’s in the rearview mirror in my area. Everything is reopening. When Bill and I drove out to get dinner tonight, the streets were full of traffic, kids were playing in the opened community pools, and there were very few masks to be seen.

Last weekend we went to Second Story Books, an enormous warehouse of used books out in Rockville. I’d say “We haven’t been there in a while,” but that pretty much goes without saying unless I’m talking about Baltimore. You still had to wear masks inside the store. I overheard one guy announce to his wife that he couldn’t stand it anymore and huff out due to the masking requirement, but y’know, at least he just left instead of throwing a massive tantrum in the middle of the store.

It’s very, very strange to be around people again. It’s especially nerve-wracking in a place that has extremely narrow aisles and a lot of “chokepoint” spots. Any time too many people started clustering in one area, I’d get really edgy and flee for a section that wasn’t attracting customer interest. I’d been having a lot of issues with crowds making me anxious and squirrely even before COVID-19 hit, and this long exile has not helped that. Intellectually I know the people around me aren’t likely to be carrying the virus and even if they are, I’m protected. Somehow I can’t make the emotional side of me buy into that.

Tomorrow, though, should be a fun thing: We’re going to the Alamo Drafthouse to see The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It. Yes, I know the Conjuring movies are really cheesy. Yes, I know they present a very Christian-centric view of horror. This was apparently news to the New York Times critic who reviewed the movie today:

(The relevant part of this quote says “the franchise demands viewers invest in a worldview ruled by Christian dogma, where Godly good must battle satanic evil.”)

…OK? I’m an atheist and a secular Buddhist, but that comment made me think “You just described like half of the horror genre.” If I were only allowed to eat on days when I could name a horror movie, book, or TV show that this applies to, I’d be very well-fed. Rattling off any vampire story where crosses, holy water, and other Christian-identified items fend off the bloodsuckers would keep me going for a long time before I got to genre stalwarts like The Exorcist, The Omen, and The Amityville Horror. Remember how Angel gave Buffy a crucifix on the very first episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer? Remember where she was unceremoniously pulled from during the dreaded sixth season? OK, that series never had the overt Christianity of the Warrens as depicted in The Conjuring, but still: God saved the world a lot in the Buffyverse.

Anyhow, I duly reported this shocking news to Bill, and we decided we’d still like to see the movie. The second Conjuring gave me some legitimate creeps, and I can’t help it: I just love Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren. While I believe that the real Warrens were probably fuller of shit than a Thanksgiving turkey, I’m completely ready for their movie counterparts to usher me out of the darkness of this last year and a half.

(This better not suck.)



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