Pandemic journal: Day 17

Monday, March 30, 7:35 AM. CW’s birthday.

Day 17 of voluntary social distancing, Day 14 of mandatory shelter-in-place, Day 11 of statewide shelter-in-place

Theme of the week: partnering [I have to say, this was not as successful a theme as the earlier ones] 

Yesterday Trump announced nationwide shelter-in-place through April 30, which, thank god, because he’d been blithely promising a reopening by Easter when people are predicting a death peak in mid-April. When I mentioned this to E, he said, that’s in NY; the Bay Area is still several weeks off from that. I’m still hoping we can flatten the curve here, as one article said is already happening (but has anyone confirmed that person’s numbers or method?).

I’m eating some oatmeal I made yesterday: vegan, since we’re out of milk. I’m eating less meat, too. For me it’s very possible this SiP will lead to an improvement in general health, not just in my diet. I hate that we might be seeing positive effects when other people are experiencing hardship or stress across many areas of their lives. Inequality on display (as ever). 

Yesterday was a good day but tiring; I hosted a Zoom mini art retreat. It was 6 hours… in future I’ll break it into shorter sessions because it was hard on my body, sitting in one place for that long. I also spent the vast majority of the time “power moderating” as PM put it, rather than making anything — though I did complete my part of the piece E and I are making for Adam’s project, and if I hadn’t scheduled the retreat I don’t know how long it would have taken me to get around to it. I think for me the mini retreats are proving less useful for generative work than for inspiration and cross-pollination, which is maybe more valuable. But it takes effort on my part to hold that space, even when I enjoy it. 

We never had more than I think 8 people in the room at any time, which is just right, and sometimes people stepped out or were busy with kids or laundry. It was quite a diverse group as far as age, experience, creative discipline — and therefore quite a diverse group as far as how people are coping with the pandemic. LMR shared how the theater world is imploding. NB has to move in a few weeks. JB described the quiet at her senior residence. PM said her kids keep her so busy, her downstairs art studio might as well not even exist. SY said this has been a minimal transition for her; even her deadlines aren’t affected. TR told us about her entitled rich neighbors for whom this house is one of many, who are still traveling and hosting friends. TT is settling into an AirBnB in a different state (where they’d been visiting family at the time of the shelter-in-place order). AH showed us the work room/maker space in their new house. TY shared that her work responsibilities have increased, since she’s covering for her supervisor who is on maternity leave. R joined for a short time and made sketches, asking my advice on shading, and then said how meditative and relaxing it was to draw, even more than meditation and hot baths; I said it’s a very present-moment activity and grounded in our visual and tactile senses. SI shared how her students are struggling and how she wishes she could just say “fuck it” and give every single one of them an A. 

I was very tired afterward, but told E to go into the bedroom and get some quiet time, since he needed a break too. Owl was already playing a game or watching TV or something so I let that continue while I tried to work up the energy to cook Bryant Terry’s gumbo zav; I eventually did and it was lovely and will be a great thing to have on hand this week.

Before I knew it, it was time for the SC chat I’d set up at others’ request. I’d thought I might just check in briefly and let others continue but I ended up staying on for 1 hr 15 min. It wasn’t as connective as my own party but it was still helpful to hear how other mamas are doing. 

After that E and I cleaned up. Our grocery delivery service no longer accepts ice packs for re-use, given studies of the virus’s longevity on plastic surfaces (even if they’re not much of a vector it seems valuable to protect their staff’s sanity), so I’m throwing those out. We haven’t been able to get a delivery window with them anyway… I want to support our local store during all of this but I found out Safeway does pickup and I’m wondering if that isn’t better? Fewer hands on the items, less time spent near others?

I’ll probably drop in to CSW’s dance class again this morning although I’m not sure it’s the best thing for my body, with all the pliés… but it’s good for my brain. Yesterday I didn’t dance at all and I really felt my tension ramping up. 

Sending loving thoughts to those whose access to medications and medical care has been disrupted by the pandemic