Pandemic journal: Day 7

Friday, March 20, 7:46 AM

Day 7 of voluntary social distancing, Day 4 of mandatory shelter-in-place, Day 1 of statewide shelter-in-place

Theme of the week: nourishment 

I woke at 2 with plans and ideas. When I woke again E and I both seemed to be having digestive upset. Let’s hope we don’t end up both needing the toilet at once. 

I posted another IG Live of me dancing, feeling slower and less cheerful than yesterday, but still glad to be sharing movement with others.

I went to bed anxious. Last week’s tension went away on Sunday or Monday but now it’s back, and I know why, too: I read that we’ll have to keep social distancing for 12-18 months until a vaccine is developed; I read about shortages of PPE for front-line healthcare workers; I read about patients in their 30s and 40s who are on ventilators, not expected to survive; hospitals are going to be restricting all-hands-on-deck emergency rescue because it’s too time/resource-costly to have that many staff running into and out of isolation units. Wartime comparisons are starting to feel more apt. The fear and constraint and surreality are already descending but when I think of what could happen in the coming weeks, truly it’s unimaginable. I also can’t imagine the US population will take lockdown well, especially if it’s not utterly clear why (say, if the disease curve plateaus but we’re still being told to shelter in place). Riots are the least of it. 

I keep thinking of Rilla of Ingleside which is I guess the only wartime novel I’ve reread (and maybe also the only one with a female, domestic point of view). Everybody starts all gung-ho to do their part, and then as casualties pile up and initial timeframe estimates are way too optimistic, morale plummets and existential dread takes over, and when it finally ends the world is entirely changed and no one knows their place anymore. 

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that my digestion is roiling again! 

Yesterday was actually okay, anxiety aside. It started with some opera (Il Trovatore; Owl was interested, but ended up seeing a throat-slitting scene… not ideal, even if it was mimed with no blood!) and making cards for friends. Afterward we had preschool circle time via Zoom, which our director facilitated beautifully; good teaching really translates, even virtually! Owl was thrilled about it and E got to join for a bit too. It was so lovely to see everyone. Not long after that E gave me a break so I did an hourlong yoga class; it still soothed me even though I could hear Owl the whole time. And I took a few minutes after class to transition back into Owl-care, unlike on Tuesday where my savasana ended with E and Owl barging into the room because he had a meeting and Owl wanted to see what I was doing. 

Colorful hand-drawn birthday card by Lisa Hsia

I was on with Owl after that for about 4 more hours. I ate my lunch, I made cornbread. I sent donations or bought gift certificates to many local places; my hairstylist called me to thank me, and I was very happy to talk to her; she couldn’t have chosen a better time to offer adult company as Owl had just put marker all over a cushion and I was enacting “discipline” by taking away their markers (actually I don’t think Owl cared, whereas I was crawling around the room picking up markers and replacing their caps)! But for most of the afternoon Owl kept very busy — I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they end the shelter-in-place having learned to read, with minimal instruction on our part. 

A child's drawing that says HOW2 PICK BLUEBER RIES

I spent some time composing a public FB post about food bank volunteer shortages, with misgivings all the while; I really truly can’t tell anyone, in these times, to go out. But the fact remains that the food banks are volunteer-dependent and many vulnerable people are food bank-dependent, so, what options are there?! 

After E got off work we all went for a quick walk to get honey from our local beekeeper; I paid her online and she left the jars out on her porch for us, in a plastic bag on which she’d written my name and drawn a happy face and a heart. I also sent mail and got us lost a couple of times so the walk ended up longer than it needed to be, which was good for our legs; on the way back we passed a man watering his snow peas and he offered for Owl to pick one, which they did, and then ate it right away without (of course) washing their hands. Not the safest act in a pandemic but I appreciated the kindness. I called J on our way back and we talked about how people are either behaving super-cautiously and defensively right now, or with beautiful generosity and compassion (someone at the store let her have the last package of TP!). 

Sending loving thoughts to all those for whom work-from-home is not an option, and all those who face an impossible choice between continuing to get paid and keeping themselves and their families safe.

9:33 PM, posted to Facebook


So much gratitude and tenderness for all the ways people have found ways to gather and connect, friends and strangers alike. Together we will get through this.

So much grief for the good things we had, and the uncertainty of not knowing if/when we’ll get them back. An ache for what we’ve already lost.

Evening, not sure of time

I just composted the bouquet I got from the preschool auction on March 7. Grief. It was past its prime but offered such easy beauty and such sweet memories, I couldn’t bear to throw it out. So many things gone. 

Green plant past its prime