Or was it closer to 20 months? When did mask mandates start to lift in a significant way? I can’t even remember.

On 3.1.22 the N.Y. Times reported that mask mandates were being lifted in “several” states, but didn’t masking more or less stop sometime in the fall of ’21? Can’t recall if it was early, mid or late fall.

I know that when I saw Spider-Man: No Way Home at the Grove on 12.16.21 no one was wearing a mask, and that‘s what I first got Covid (i.e., Omicron). But I didn’t care. Because I was so sick of living a mummified pandemic lifestyle that even being sick felt like a liberation.

For roughly 18 months (3.20.20 to the final third of ’21) we were all part of a Vast Army of Suffocated Shut-Ins.

Tatiana and I got the hell out of Dodge twice to escape the awfulness of it all — to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley area in August of ’20 and then an escape to Belize (lost iPhone, pit-bull attack, dead bats) in June of ’21.

As we speak I’ve been vaxxed four times and have had two four-day bouts with Covid (the last one two or three weeks ago), and I don’t care if I get it again because it’ll just be another flu-like experience and so what?

I died a thousand times during the pandemic, and I’d rather physically die than go through that again.

For several decades I lived as a free soul more or less, acquiring experience, taking my lumps and loving certain moments, and then life stopped sometime around 3.20.20. It was exotic at first, and then it was hellish. Pandemic gov’t assistance was a lifesaver, of course, but that didn’t change the fact that life just slowed to a crawl.

Bob Dylan’s lockdown: “It was a very surrealistic time, like being visited by another planet or by some mythical monster. But it was beneficial in a lot of ways, too. It eliminated a lot of hassles and personal needs; it was good having no clock. A good time to put some things to an end.

“I changed the door panels on an old ’56 Chevy, and replaced some old floor tiles, made some landscape paintings, wrote a song called ‘You Don’t Say.’ I listened to Peggy Lee records. Things like that. I reread ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ a few times over. What a story that is. What a poem.

If there’d been any opium laying around, I probably would have been down for a while.

“I listened to The Mothers of Invention record Freak Out!, that I hadn’t heard in a long, long time. What an eloquent record. ‘Hungry Freaks, Daddy’ and the other one, ‘Who Are the Brain Police?’…perfect songs for the pandemic. No doubt about it, [Frank] Zappa was light years ahead of his time. I’ve always thought that.”