Louis Fowler’s Pandemic Journal: The End of Act One

If you haven’t heard by now, Oklahoma is officially open. As fighter jets soar in the skies above to remind us of our check-cashing freedoms, in this mostly lost year of 2020, the names of bargain barber shops and half-price appetizers ring across the fields of waved-out wheat, where we have decided as a state that the curve is flattened enough to fully return to our old lives of oil and gas, sin and debauchery.

The golden calf of commercialism shall rise again and save our very souls!

As we come out of our maintained hovels to face this brave-ish new world of a disease-less Oklahoma City where citizens walk freely without facemasks, standing close to anyone they damn well please, sniffling and sneezing within close proximity because fuck you, snowflake, there’s something about the past couple of months that will always be a constant reminder of this time for us: the rampant medical waste.

On any given street and every useable sidewalk, from the most-traversed parking lots to the least-adored playgrounds, the sheer amount of used latex gloves and face-masks—many probably still contaminated with germs—will decorate morning walks and evening runs in our neighborhoods and main thoroughfares for quite a sickly while.

I have found them in both the likeliest and unlikeliest of places, tossed while effortlessly sauntering or thrown from a moving vehicle, these wrinkled powder blue hands and white paper rectangles will be a haunting memory of a time spent with our families, filled with moments of self-reflection and the idea of actualized physical and spiritual growth…and that need for Chili’s Southwestern Eggrolls that made it all go away.

I still haven’t gotten my check, by the way, but you probably knew that.

The surgical gloves and protective masks are impossible to miss, unless you’re trying hard not to look. Since the middle of March, I’ve been looking continually, recording my thoughts about this worldwide pandemic here, the best I could—except that week when I, you know, had another stroke—and now, it looks like it’s time to dog-ear this page of history and wait patiently for the sequel. All blockbusters get one, right?

So I guess it’s inevitable: we all have to give in sometime or die trying, opening up right along with Oklahoma. If you see me in the ICU, don’t be afraid to wheeze “Hello.”


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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5 Responses

  1. For Louis and anyone else who hasn’t received a check yet -this IRS website is for you:


    No I don’t have my check yet either. But the website tells me:

    “You are eligible for the payment. Once we have your payment date, we will update this page.”

    When you go there, be sure to enter the slashes in your date of birth and the dashes in your SSN, or you get a stupid error message. Great programming!

    In addition to so much other thoughtless “Don’t tread on me” behavior, why are Oklahomans so fond of littering? Cigarette butts that so many smokers habitually toss down crush anywhere at all are bad enough, but discarded masks and gloves? That’s really disgusting. What the F is wrong with people? Were they raised by raccoons? Didn’t their mothers teach them anything?

    And it’s only the top of the second inning.

  2. I’ve literally not seen a single discarded glove or mask, and asked friends in the city who have not either.

    Someone needs to go full Karen on your behalf about the check. Or you can check the IRS website Graychin posted and do it yourself. I’d guess the most common reason for not getting a check yet is that people haven’t filed 2019 taxes yet, or their banking info or address isn’t current with the IRS, but idk.

  3. I haven’t seen any masks or gloves either but I probably don’t get out as much as Louis.
    He doesn’t seem to be staying home as much as the rest of us….

  4. I too have seen gloves and masks everywhere… and by everywhere I mean the grocery store because that’s the only place I’ve gone in the past six weeks. The parking lot usually has at least two discarded things stuck in parking lot goo or flattened with greasy tire tracks. Parking lot discarded medical equipment is the new parking lot discarded dirty diapers.

    1. Good point about grocery store parking lots. I also haven’t been to a grocery store in two months so that’s probably why I haven’t seen discarded stuff. Grocery delivery is a thing. The very few other places I’ve needed to actually leave the house to go to have drive thru or curbside options.

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