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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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.
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.