Pandemic journal: Day 15

Saturday, March 28, 9:20 AM

Day 15 of voluntary social distancing, Day 12 of mandatory shelter-in-place, Day 9 of statewide shelter-in-place

Theme of the week: space 

I was awake much earlier but have just been vegging out, in bed, on games, on chat and FB, reading epidemiologists’ predictions, reading about a TX supermarket chain’s emergency strategy (surprisingly interesting), trying unsuccessfully to tune out Owl, and just generally unable to shake what I learned last night, which is that my friend N has a fever and a cough and is terrified. I couldn’t sleep for some time, trying to think how I could help, which of course I can’t. 

Grief continues. I was looking through my April calendar and saw the writing workshop N and I were supposed to lead on the 18th, all my excitement and delight and anticipation over it now mutated to loss and disappointment. Of course we can reschedule but what does that even mean, now? Who knows how this time will transform any of us? What will social life and gatherings look like even a year into the future; will our institutions and organizations have a future; how will our kids will be changed by this; who will we lose in our communities? 

Also, you know, it’s weird but you’d think I would feel closer to friends and family. And maybe that will come as we move forward. But I don’t feel that drawing-together, right now. I feel connected in a general sense, and gratitude for the contacts that have happened, but everyone is so far away and anxious and trying to stay afloat, we’re all just touching base when we can, and for some, that’s not often. I’m realizing just how much relationships (at least for me) are built in the little moments and unplanned interactions: not the party, but the catching someone lingering to the side during it; not the school events but the daily drop-offs and pickups; not the question you email someone about but the thing you only remember when you’re face-to-face. Some of that actually translates okay to video chat, but so much doesn’t. 

Yesterday was a blur; I was definitely on devices way more than is healthy or good. I ought to develop offline tools for whatever it is I’m seeking when I turn on the phone or iPad or laptop. Granted it’s hard to find anything that (a) I can do while homebound with Owl, (b) I actually care to do at the moment, and (c) is also offline. But this would be a good list to brainstorm. I recognize how utterly luxurious my life is right now, that I have the space to do things like brainstorm how to take care of myself.

Someone asked how I’m spending my time, and I said I’m quite busy but I don’t know with what! It’s funny; I got kicked out of my house in my fashion game twice in 36 hours and realized I’m just not playing it as much as I was before — you’d think I’d be playing more games, stuck at home all day.

We decided to order takeout for dinner, which we haven’t since shelter-in-place started. So exciting! E carefully decanted everything and we prepared to feast… but after 2 weeks of eating our own cooking I wasn’t impressed; it was nice for variety, but everything was so oily, mushy, and lukewarm; the ingredients weren’t as fresh… of course the restaurant may be having quality control and staffing problems. But I didn’t expect to react this way to our first takeout. I’m glad we did something (however small) to help support a Chinatown restaurant, though… 

Assortment of Cantonese restaurant dishes decanted into bowls and plates and food-storage containers

Meanwhile, I’m not exactly bored but I do feel the days dragging, so I’m thinking I’ll unpack some of the deliveries we’ve been letting decontaminate in the hall (is that necessary? No one can agree), and write some more postcards to voters, just to guarantee I’ll walk myself out to the mailbox at some point! 

I don’t have much else scheduled, though I have ideas (of course I do). I want to cook green gumbo and maybe bake something, and CA is asking about a hangout, and E and I have our family meeting and I have a preschool committee meeting and I also need to give E some exercise time. And as usual I want to keep checking in with more people, and do some email and social media, and keep typing up entries for the blog. It’s a full day when I lay it all out like this! A shower and some stretching would also be welcome. 

PS. I forgot to say I ran into (well, actually saw) J & M from next door, while I was getting the mail. They stood in their driveway and I stood in our yard and we asked each other: do you feel supported, are your parents okay, do you have everything you need. J said she just started working from home today. I said, I don’t even know what you do. Turns out she works in homeless policy for a nearby city. I asked her what that’s been like, and whether there’s anything we as individuals can do to help. She talked at length and then said, I’m sorry to put all that on you! I’m kind of wired right now… I’m going to go inside and take a deep breath. We told each other: take care of yourselves, let us know if you need anything. 

PPS. TB said it’s been so sweet to see her kids play together, she really feels for families with only 1 kid. I said honestly, I’m not sure I could handle more! But perhaps she’s right; the kids with siblings are getting continued social education, while kids like mine are not. 

PPPS. A word I didn’t know a week ago: virion. 

Sending loving thoughts to those in poverty, those who are newly entering poverty, those without homes, those in temporary homes.