Pandemic journal: Day 11

Tuesday, March 24, 7:24 AM

Day 11 of voluntary social distancing, Day 8 of mandatory shelter-in-place, Day 5 of statewide shelter-in-place

SD’s and AGB’s birthdays 

Theme of the week: space 

It did work to think about the apartment and channel my energy into that, instead of all the things I can’t have. I was able to do several things — tiny things — that I’ve been procrastinating on for a long time: washing a makeup brush that’s been on a bathroom shelf for who knows how long, putting away some deliveries, picking the crap off the bedroom floor, decanting a wide flat box of sweets into a compact jar to clear up counter space. Very small things that I somehow just didn’t get to until now. And those help build momentum for bigger things. 

One of the first closures we heard of was Erik’s old elementary school. Mommy just told us she learned it was because three parents who coached a second-grade sports team had all contracted the virus, and one of them has now died. I’m thinking of their families, and everyone who had contact with any of them or their families, who must be battling a combination of grief and fear (maybe shame about the fear). And then I saw a Facebook post from a 42yo man in Chicago who’s been hospitalized, a very detailed day-by-day account of his experience.* It was a chilling account in its specificity and his being otherwise healthy, and I thought, we’re going to be seeing so many more stories like this. Already, every day I’ve been seeing shares from doctors mentioning patients of this age or even younger, and now here’s a direct account, and there are just going to be more and more… in fact, I have a FB friend who suspects they might have it.** 

I felt so chilled thinking of what’s to come. (I also felt physically chilled, because our apartment is not warm, and I’m worried about it because cold lowers immune response.) The prospect of more and more people in my orbit contracting the virus felt scary and lonely and doom-ish. I wrote to a pen pal and that helped — to marshal my thoughts, have a witness to my feelings, and think about someone else for awhile — and then replied to a note from a preschool friend, and then Erik came and sat with me for a bit and we talked and then he did dishes while I tidied up, and then we went to bed and talked some more, and touched, and all of that helped. And it helped to learn that Erik isn’t unaffected by all this either, just because he shows it in a different way than I do. 

As to what I actually did yesterday: we were late for preschool Zoom circle. I was incredibly upset because I thought, if we miss this, I might not see anyone all day (except Owl and Erik). But then even in the call I still felt sad, because I could see my parent friends but didn’t know whether they saw me. Later Mommy had a Zoom technical question so I helped her with that, and then I quickly put a lunch together and went to the bedroom for my weekly listening call with R. I really needed it. I cried and snotted all over our bedsheet and wanted to cry even harder and more helplessly but I ran out of time and didn’t have the space to fully fall apart. But I was so grateful. 

I felt extra tender and sad for much of the rest of the afternoon. I did laundry. I online-shopped a local children’s boutique that is going out of business (COVID exacerbated an already precarious situation). I chatted with Y. I registered for an evening yoga class; the registration process was buggy and took a shockingly long time. I did some of the household tidying I mentioned earlier. And for a good hour at least, Owl and I both watched TV, and since blind auditions of The Voice always make me happy, I felt better afterward. (I’ve never actually watched the show, nor do I fully understand how the audition process works; I just love seeing people give it their all and make beautiful music and experience the drama and relief of being chosen, and I love watching the judges be moved and sometimes shocked by the contestants.) 

And then Erik was done with work so I cleaned up the bedroom and did yoga for 75 minutes, and it was still amazingly restorative in spite of my being able to hear Owl the entire time. 

Last night before I went to bed I moved my desk to the window that gets the better morning light, as a gift from my evening self to my morning self, just the way I sometimes set the breakfast table the night before. And it was a great thing to find in the morning. It just lowered the activation energy on everything. 

Sending loving thoughts to those who have lost family members, friends, dear ones, community members.

*He’s now home from the hospital and self-quarantining from his partner and child. 

**They later tested negative.