Weekend Wanderer: As We Try to Escape Omicron, Is Anyone Else Leaping from Fantasy to Fantasy?

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I think we can all agree the universe is a Hydra of suck right now – eliminate one problem, watch another sprout up in its place.

I mean Hydra the mythical being here, not Hydra the villainous Marvel faction. Although really, both apply.

My kids’ schools are a Whack-A-Mole of previously uncharted problems – substitute teachers for substitute teachers, multiple classes merged into one, daily covid exposures.

Covid is as intransigent as my old sofa.

Which – yes – is still here.

My two teenagers – right on schedule – are practically vibrating with anxiety. Last week, one of them told me they will only sit in the passenger-side back seat of the car.

Well, OK.

“You know,” I replied, “the driver is more likely to protect their side of the car.” Which I once heard Dwight Schrute say on The Office. I feel like I can trust Dwight Schrute. Probably because my husband is very Dwight Schrute-ish.

Besides the omicron drama and teen angst, my father isn’t doing well, my youngest has struggled with ADHD for the last year, my oldest might have ADHD as well, and my mom might have dementia.

To quote the venerable Tone Loc, I’ve got it all going on, baby girl. And I’m on fire.

Making matters worse, I’ve given up sugar, I’m doing No Spend January, and I’m partaking in Dry January.

So when the day sucks more than a vacuum – and there’s no sugar for consolation – there is really just one thing left to do.

Believe in ghosts.

Do I actually believe in ghosts? No. I have a master’s degree in a scientific discipline. I know there is a rational explanation for things that seem otherworldly.

But when it’s three in the morning and I’m making my way through a dark house to let my dog outside? Yes. I – like almost half the adults in North America – believe in ghosts.

My oldest kid and I are in a rabbit hole of paranormal investigations on Discovery+. When she’s stressing about AP History and learning to drive and marine biology camp, we binge a few episodes of Destination Fear.

And suddenly, the world is a little better.

Except at three in the morning. Then it’s way worse because do you know how many ghost voices that show picks up on digital recorders?! A lot. Let’s just say that. A lot.

I can’t be the only person who is escaping with little bits of unreality, right? Because it doesn’t stop at ghosts.

When I’ve had a rough day with my dad, and I won’t soothe myself with those duck boots that are finally on sale, I go to France by way of Instagram.

Remember when we talked about all the damage our houses incurred during lockdown? At the time, I shared some advice from Design Mom.

Well, that lady’s Instagram feels as good as shopping online while drinking a beer and eating Crumbl Cookies. I’m not kidding.

She owns a sixteenth-century house in the French countryside. Her charming videos detail living room renovations one day, day trips to Paris the next.

I mean, don’t talk to me when I’m looking at a Design Mom highlight. Well, don’t talk to me anyway, but especially when I’m watching her stock her newly installed pantry. Did you know French people have hard water? Don’t use window screens? Use something called a jigsaw?

So educational.

My final escape is travel. Which is probably as fantastical to believe in as ghosts, but I don’t think I’m fooling anyone when I say I don’t believe in ghosts.

I am obsessed with Finland because of this article I read in a French newspaper.

Let me just say I’m not trying to be snotty here. I have two parents with cognitive decline. The brain is use it or lose it, so I’m trying to use it by refreshing my French. Which won’t help me in Finland, but I’ll sound all kinds of fancy when I’m confused in the nursing home.

And, as long as we’re talking so much about France, that same newspaper called a winter sky “as gray as a day without bread” so now I’m rethinking the whole no sugar thing.

Finland has a Santa Claus village on the Arctic Circle. With reindeer and everything. Tell me that doesn’t sound like a spectacular place to spend Christmas.

Or a Saturday morning after you told your mom she was scammed – again – so why not spend fifteen minutes or so visiting the Santa Claus village in your head?

You can sleep in an igloo. An igloo!

Last week, I read that Quantum Leap is getting a reboot. I’m pretty sure that was me getting lost in unreality again, or my own dementia has set in, because how can something that wonderful be true?

If it’s not true, at least I have the ghosts.

Hey – do you think Design Mom’s house is haunted?

I hope so. What a perfect intersection of escapes.

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