Livin' La Visa Loca

It looks like we are exiting the Covid era. I will be proclaim it to be so: We are exiting that. So this is a bittersweet moment. Did you fully take advantage of your hiatus from a conventionally productive life? I did. I was fully content drawing up my own world of exchange, challenges, assignments, ambitions, goals, as so forth. I lived primarily as a cohort of my visa card: I shopped, bought nice whiskey, ate well, went skiing, and generally explored the life of a loosely- budgeted gentleman under the guidance and financing of an unexamined tally of expenses. This card was generous, did not complain, and worked without fail. It only required a token return in exchange for this mildly lavish sustenance. As I exercised greater latitude with what I felt were appropriate expenditures, its monthly requests from me grew only marginally. Like a true friend, without judgement and always up for a lark. Over the course of the season of the pandemic however my dear card grew frail, and developed a sickly pallor. It wheezed when it stood and tired easily. What began with a laugh would end with a cough. It exhibited the forced gaiety of someone who has received bracing medical news but doesn't want to spoil the party. It began to sit outside while the rest of us dined, and would scan the horizon with sad eyes. It would take my arm with both hands, suggesting we talk. I would scoff and turn away, or make some excuse about being consumed with another, more important matter. Then I'd playfully jab its shoulder and suggest we get something good, "Live while we're young", get a sushi platter and Manhattans to go. It would wistfully bow its head, its full grey beard grown in the pandemic brushing against its tobacco stained corduroy jacket, and off for another curbside pickup. A bottle of something good from over yonder to go with the dish, "We can't be cheapskates with our palettes, no sirree!" One morning recently it did not show up for breakfast. It was afternoon until it made an appearance, unsteady on its feet and laconic. Later in the day I heard it talking on the phone in hushed but emphatic tones. He avoided me entirely for the rest of day, forcing me to fend for myself for dinner. A beer, leftovers, then water. A strange man appeared the next day, in a suit and an official looking car. Nothing has yet been said but it is clear that the good times are over. A suitcase has appeared in the hallway, the shaving kit in the guest bathroom is gone. The strange man has been seen taking inventory of the household's valuables, leaving post-its on the more expensive items. Even the weather has become suddenly gloomy. I have heard rumors of a thorough accounting of the past year's saturnalia and an expectation of quick recompense from my end. My expectations have not been dispirited however, the next adventure beckons. All I need is the willing companionship of another card.

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