Herbie taps at my feet to ensure I'm awake (enough at least) to provide breakfast.
But this morning, as I yawn my way unsteadily towards the kitchen, I notice something.
Barely perceptible, but it's there, a dull ache. Call it 'throat awareness' - a variant of the footballer's vogue-term for a hamstring about to tear.
So, cat fed, I'm off to do the test.
I can't say it is pleasant, but I can't say it's unpleasant either.
The nose manoeuvre certainly brought tears to my eyes, but no more so than if I were enjoying wasabi, or a French Dijon Mustard.
These are the little moments when life hesitates, beguiled briefly by its own reflection.
When we know that among multiple possibilities there really only two: alive or dead
Yes, that is overly dramatic.
But if a COVID-19 test doesn't make you contemplate the big question, then I am not sure what would.
Driving away from the test, you're compelled to think about mortality, and that of anyone else you may have affected.
To borrow from Poirot: "use your grey cells, mon ami".
Or to remember John Wyndham, whose classics such as The Kraken Wakes and The Day of the Triffids, tell of very British middle-class worlds torn asunder by extraordinary events.
In its own way, COVID-19 has done that by increasing our self-awareness, inviting us to question afresh what for too long, we have let slide.
Like the fact that we realise we live in a community most keenly as we see it disappearing before our eyes.
Yet as difficult as it is, COVID-19 is not the worst pandemic we might have encountered just now.
It could have been just as contagious for example, but even more dangerous to contract.
Another stroke of luck potentially is that it arrived after the digital revolution, when we possess the computing power, the knowledge sharing, and technology hopefully, to develop a vaccine in record time.
Perhaps we've been given a second chance.
There is a lot to learn quickly, from the medical to the economic and the political.
From exorbitant assumptions of how we exploit a finite world, to the sickening chasm between the uber-rich and the vast bulk of humankind: only this month we learnt that Amazon owner Jeff Bezos "earned" $13m a minute. This is not a criticism of Bezos, this is how the capitalist game is structured.
Sadly the economic logic of the "precariat", so convenient to a pre-COVID world, now seems to be a system perfectly designed as the pathogen's midwife.
And all the time, our biosphere remains at the mercy of every choice we make.
One lesson we surely all feel deep in our bones, contra Margaret Thatcher: there is such a thing as society.
When Thatcher made that statement it was misunderstood as analysis: in reality it was a promise - an explicit goal of the pro-market economic rationalists.
Now after 40 years of that harsh agenda we can see how vulnerable we have allowed ourselves to become.
Unburdened by non-balance sheet considerations like "community" and "society" we were encouraged to embrace international just-in-time manufacturing, cheap global travel, outsourced and casualised workforces.
It was a logic that thought nothing of tasking casual security guards with running vital quarantine conditions at hotels or of forcing underpaid aged-care workers to work two or three sites to cobble together a living wage, turning some of the most vital frontline healthcare providers into unwitting viral vectors for the most vulnerable age group.
These are the myriad markers of a "society" progressively hollowed out by the dynamics of relentless "growth" and greater "efficiency".
Well, such are one's thoughts as you drive home from "the test", and as you begin your first 48 hours in responsible, perfect, "iso".
Well, not quite perfect. For me at least, contemplating too much stuff.
Still, I have a constant companion - for Herbie's here too. He sleeps, eats, purrs and snuggles - sublime in his ignorance of the pandemic beyond.
- Tony Nagy is a Melbourne-based former journalist who writes on culture, history and economics. He tested negative. Herbie continues with his catlike indifference.