the coronavirus diaries: week twelve

My constant struggle against the downward suck of boredom is starting to have a numbing effect. By the end of last week, I felt like I’d crawl out of my skin. All week long, I’d been at home (and it’d been depressingly dark and rainy and cold) and now the weekend loomed with more of the same. Normally a homebody, I suddenly found myself longing for the excitement of the unfamiliar — Airplanes! Sticky-hot beaches! Open-air restaurants! Packed buses! Potholes! Strange insects! A different language! Weird smells! — with such intensity that it was almost a physical ache.

But I can’t go anywhere so so much for that.

I keep reading that, in times like these, people dig deep into themselves and find reserves they didn’t know they had. They become more settled and peaceful. They grow.

But I’m just becoming stagnant, it seems. I go running and cook food and write (yes, I’m writing again) and check my daughter’s algebra problems and watch Netflix and read and pick the asparagus and with each passing day, I feel like another small bit of my soul has shriveled up and died.

So dramatic, I know, but it’s true.

And it’s also true that I’m perfectly fine, sigh.

I said I needed more cuddles.
***

How are you navigating the reopening?

Without a comprehensive national plan, it appears we’re all on our own for figuring out when, and how, to do this.

For now, I’ve decided that I’m waiting for the following: 1) to see how reopening goes — will there be an uptick in cases? — and 2) waiting for our local area numbers to go down for fourteen consecutive days. Last I heard, they’re still on the rise so it will probably be awhile yet.

***

Good news! Now that it’s getting warmer, we can at least do a bit more socializing as long as we stay outside.

On Saturday, my parents and my brother’s family came over for supper. It was such a treat to sit outside in the fresh air, chatting and watching the dogs run circles around each other.

My mother is forever giving my husband That Look. 

And then last night, we had more friends over for pizza and salad. Here we are, giving them space while they serve themselves first:

Turns out, there’s a big bonus to socially-distanced, outdoor hosting: no need to clean the house!

***

While rolling out pastry for a raspberry tart, I listened to Poet Sonya Renee Taylor on NPR’s Here and Now speak truth after truth.

For example:

I heard someone say the other day, you know, ‘In this time of great fear,’ and I thought to myself, ‘There’s always been great fear.’ We are not experiencing something new. We just happen to see it more clearly.

Also:

Here’s the scary thing: We have nothing but the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. … If we’re saying, ‘This space is open right now,’ then we also are saying, ‘I have some choice about what I would like to see put in it.’ We are at a tough time, but I believe that it’s possible to really activate what I like to call our liberatory imaginations to what it is that will deeply bring us joy.

It left me wondering: What space is open to me right now? What “liberatory imaginations” do I have that need activating? Quite honestly, I have no idea. And that truth leaves me feeling mildly bereft…

Listen to the (way too short) interview here.

***
Attending a church council meeting.
***

Have you watched Hannah Gadsby’s new show on Netflix? I’m excited to see it. Also, here’s her interview with Terry Gross; I just finished listening to it today.

For our Sunday night movie, we watched Just Mercy. At one point, we were all crying (some were sobbing), but we all agree: it’s absolutely a must watch. No, scratch that. It’s a must, must, MUST watch. (Also, Bryan Stevenson’s interview with Terry Gross is wonderful, as is his book —I read it months ago and then dug it out again after watching the movie and now my husband is reading it.)

***

And to read…
*Quarantine Fatigue Is Real (The Atlantic). By drawing on what we learned from the AIDS epidemic, we know that “… an abstinence-only message doesn’t work for sex. It doesn’t work for substance use, either. Likewise, asking Americans to abstain from nearly all in-person social contact will not hold the coronavirus at bay — at least not forever.” Instead, in order to learn to live while in a pandemic, we need to learn to 1) differentiate between low-risk and high-risk activies, 2) acknowledge contextual factors for different individuals, and 3) stop shaming people who continue to chose high-risk activities and instead provide them with tools to minimize danger.

*From Camping to Dining Out: Here’s How Experts Rate the Risks of 14 Summer Activities (NPR).

*When The World Went Away, We Made a New One (The New York Times Magazine). If you have an extra twenty minutes, this personal essay about a single mother (who is also a recovering alcoholic) parenting her toddler while sick with Covid makes for a good read.

xo!

This same time, years previous: period, the quotidian (5.28.18), butter chicken, the hard part, the quotidian (5.26.14), the quotidian (5.27.13), one dead mouse, strawberry shortcake with milk on top.

2 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Things are starting to ease up a titch here in Nova Scotia, Canada. We have only had about one new case per day in the whole province for a while now. A couple of weeks ago we were gifted with the two-bubble family easing of restriction where we can interact without socially distancing with one family. We have to stick to that family and that family only. It must be hard for some who have larger families and have to choose who they partner with. However, in our case we only have our daughter and her family here in town. Honestly, I cried when I heard the announcement of the two bubble family …. we drove over to see our grand daughter and were hugging her within 7 minutes flat!!! Previous to that we could only socially distance outside with up to five people total in the group and that still remains except for our bubble family. So that means, we still can't have outdoor dinners like you are having as there would be too many people. However, some businesses are slated to open next week as long as they follow protocols. We feel quite safe here as the measures are very strict and the people we see are really following the guidelines. Sending you lots of good vibes from the Maritimes!!

  • mommychef

    Twelve weeks! Sometimes it seems like it's only been a couple of weeks and other times it feels like…forever. Living in Canada's epicentre, Montreal, feels very disconcerting. Like, I know it's real…very, very real. My sister-in-law who lives next door caught it at work (health care professional) and yet, no one in her household caught it off her and she didn't self isolate within the house (it's not a big house). Thankfully, it was a mild case and she's been given the all clear. My own family was in NYC March 6th! Time's Square, the M&M store (all bulk – the horrors!), hotel buffet breakfast, subways, doorways, hockey games, public washrooms and…nothing! Unless we were all asymptomatic and everyone we came into contact with was also asymptomatic which is very disconcerting. What a weird, strange time. While I am an enthusiastic introvert, I can say wholeheartedly that I am 100% over it.

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