We were both tucked comfortably into our respective bedrooms,
swilling wine using our time at home to catch up by video chat. Gintia moved away just over a year ago, and we hadn’t talked in a few months.
Comparing notes, we acknowledged the privilege of being only mildly inconvenienced by a global pandemic. We have not lost income, are reasonably able to procure food and supplies we need, and do not have to go to work “on the front lines” – healthcare, grocery, delivery, fire protection, law enforcement.
The weight of a global health and economic crisis was still threaded through the conversation, and i voiced my feeling of general helplessness – given my demographic, what can i really do to help?
“We are witness to history. Perhaps journaling, writing… somehow documenting what this feels like, what it looks like…”
Yes, that is the word. She nailed it. We can witness. From where we are, with what we have, with what we see. What we feel.
Here’s a glimpse of my world these days:
- Routine: i’ve been retired for almost 3 years. i liked not having a routine! Once quarrantined, i was drawn to a schedule. My morning – language lesson (Turkish, using Duolingo) in bed with my morning coffee. A ‘plank challenge’ with a group of my SCUBA friends on Facebook. Studying for my HAM radio license. Daily walks – meeting Studley daily, between 3-5 miles. Sometimes around the neighborhoods, sometimes in a park.
- Rescheduling Trips: Three trips between March and June (so far) are being replanned. An inconvenience. A privilege to have the flexibility to reschedule. We are not going to complain. So it goes…
- Doomsday Prep: For many years, i’ve been preparing to die. We’d started sorting out our affairs last fall, but given current events this has become more time critical. We found an attorney who could update wills, and sort issues related to property disposition. Lots of sorting, shredding, and filing in the home offices to get our other information up-to-date.
- Pantry Raids: To be good citizens, we grocery shop every other week. Leaving the delivery services to those more in need, we are stretching the fresh goods, digging into the freezer, and doing more aggressive meal planning. Baking? You bet! Don’t let those bananas go bad – mash ’em up, and turn them into brown butter banana nut bars! i’ve done more cooking and baking in the past three weeks than i’ve done since Christmas. Sometimes it’s like playing the home edition of “Chopped” – “Hmmm, what can i make from a half jar of artichokes, a can of SPAM, two apples, and quinoa?”
- Porch Drops: i’m not the only one baking! Studley dusted off his mother’s ‘devil dog’ recipe. Other friends are doing cookies and breads. Rather than bash them in isolation, we’ve started doing ‘porch drops’ – containers of cookies, coloring pages, notes of encouragement, a shared bag of flour. Every few days one of us will drive the circuit. These deliveries bring a good bit of joy.
- Video Connection: With my children and grandcritters far away, i’ve gotten comfortable using vid chat. Beyond mugging for the littles, i’m now doing more video time than ever. Weekly (or bi-weekly) ‘meet ups’ with friends – we’ve done an on-line game night, and have watched movies “together”. i’ve set up a weekly chat with my sisters. Catching up with friends, like Gintia, who are distant – she noted that there was absolutely no reason we couldn’t do that before the pandemic. She arranged a “group crafting meet up” via conferencing. It was lovely to meet new people, listen to their stories, while i was trying not to sew my fingers together while making face masks!
- Random Mental Health Exercises: Since so many events have been canceled, we took a cue from a local cosplaying friend, and decided to get dressed up anyway. A stroll around the neighborhood, and through the cemetery, in steampunk gear… because why not?
That’s what the days feel like here. What are your days like? How are they the same, or different, than they were before the advent of an historic global pandemic? What will you want your descendents to know about your experience?