Quarantine Diaries – Patriot’s Day Edition

It’s Patriot’s Day here in Massachusetts, a holiday which commemorates the first battle of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord. Every year, the battle is reenacted on Lexington Common, but not this year. Patriot’s Day is also the day that the Boston Marathon is run. After months of arduous training, folks run 26.2 miles from the suburbs to the greatest city in the world, but not this year. Marathon Monday will be held in September, the first time the race has been postponed in it’s 123 year history. On Patriot’s Day there is morning baseball; an 11:05 start, the only morning MLB game, but not this year. Fenway park is less than a mile from the finish line. The end of the game usually works out well so the baseball fans can watch the masses as they run by. The day is truly a Boston tradition. Sure, it’s be interrupted before. Seven years ago for the Boston Marathon bombing, two years ago it rained and there was no baseball (sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Well the Red Sox went on to win the win 108 games and the World Series, so..) The weather is not always good, but sometimes it’s stupendous. The true start of spring, but not this year.

We miss the daily rituals, the meeting a friend for coffee or a cocktail, the ability to run to the store for that one ingredient to cook up a masterpiece, leaving the house on a daily basis. I so very much miss fresh produce when I want it rather than making do with what is in the house… so so much. But the big milestone days, the days of rituals past. I miss Patriot’s Day. I do not want to be sitting on my couch writing this, I want to be out in the world doing things, seeing things, seeing people. Today will pass and tomorrow we’ll be back to missing coffee with friends, gossip at the water cooler, going to a movie or a party. I know it won’t be easy. More than a few people have started to hit the wall from being inside, from not knowing when this will end, from job and health insecurity, from lack of the social contacts we are used to having. This really sucks. We’re all grieving for our old lives. And just like in any situation involving grief, everyone handles it in their own way. No matter what your reaction, it’s ok. You don’t have to be productive right now. If you want to take up something new, if that will make you happy, then do it. If you want to watch all of Netflix, do that. If now is the time to track down every dust bunny in your home, go for it. I’m exhausted from feeling sad. I just want to do something positive.. Someday we’ll think back and say: remember that time we all had to wear masks, stand six feet apart, crossed the street to avoid walking by a stranger, only waved to our neighbors and communicated solely on the phone or on ridiculous, insecure Zoom calls? That sure was crazy. But for now, we have to preserver. What other option is there? Stay home if you can, wash your hands. You know the drill. Please think of every trip outside: is this worth risking my life? Is it worth risking the lives of every other person I come in contact with? Is it? Be a a Patriot and do the right thing. Please ask for the help you need, financial or otherwise. People want to help, you would be amazed.

Quarantine Diaries

Cheryl Stayed has a new podcast, Sugar Calling where she interviews writers. Episode One is George Saunders. This is the definition of my wheelhouse, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. In the podcast, George says to notate what life is like right now because maybe in fifty or hundred years no one will believe it, it will all just be the stories we capture.

I’m not George Saunders, so I’ll bullet point out what my weekend was like:

Friday Night

  • Just happy my exhausting work week is over at the job I am grateful to have and glad to be able to work from home. Now for some wine and start re-watching the Sopranos, which is, as you know, so uplifting.

Saturday

  • I went outside, yes outside! I met a friend near a local bakery that we are scared will not make it. They no longer have pick up as the did at the beginning of the quarantine time. Now you can order by Wednesday, and pick up Sat morning. The sign on the door says only one person can enter at a time. A few tables have boxes and bags labeled with names. It’s certainly not enough to keep the store afloat. When I ask the sole person there, who stays well behind the counter away from him if they did well this week, he replies: it helps.
  • After pick up, my friend and I stood six feet apart outside on a sidewalk, both with scarves covering our faces and chatted. Behind us was a line to get into a grocery store which is limited the number of people allowed in at a given time. About half the people in the line had masks, almost no one in the line looked six feet away from the person in front of them. At one point someone walked by with a big package of toilet paper. I said to my friend: look TP!
  • I also gave my friend an unopened box of ten N95 masks that I panic bought in January for her to give to her sister, an ER nurse.
  • Next I went to a drive through pharmacy. The line took forever even though there were only three cars ahead of me. And then I realized: where else do you need to be? It was actually soothing to feel as if I was just running errands like a usual Saturday before. I was happy to see the person staffing the window had both a mask and gloves. I wondered if she’d balk at cash (the prescription is only $4 and I don’t really want to touch a keypad to use a card), but cash didn’t seem concerning to her.
  • I arrived home before noon and got ready for Zumba at home. The Zumba teacher from my gym live streams classes from his home via a private Facebook group which we pay him weekly for. So worth it!
  • I clean a little. Start a stew that will need to simmer for some time.
  • Late in the afternoon the singer from one of favorite bands will play acoustic from his basement. You can tip which he is donating to the people who work in the clubs his band were scheduled to play in.
  • Try not to eat all the baked goods I bought from the bakery after dinner. This is the most normal part of the weekend.
  • Read too much Twitter, watch too much tv. Actually stream too much online content. Decide I should be reading more, but fall asleep instead.

Sunday

  • Watched the Sunday political shows because I’m not afraid enough
  • Laundry
  • Went for a walk on a 60 degree day with a scarf covering my face. The people I came across reacted to my presence like they would to a person they encountered in a dark alley in the middle of the night. I was saddened when people crossed the road not to pass me. I was scared for the people who didn’t, none of whom had masks.
  • Back at home to more twitter. Make it stop.
  • Decide to write this up, but oh! Trump is doing another briefing. I thought I read he was taking the day off from that today, but no. These briefings are such train wrecks that it’s difficult to look away, but I decide not to watch for my sanity.
  • Take a break in the middle of writing this bulleted list to check twitter. It seems the briefing had no news, and was mostly about suggesting there is a drug that may help fight the virus. Dr. Fauci has however said there is only anecdotal information that it will. Who are you going to believe? . Fauci. I start to wonder who has money in the development of this drug because why would anyone sane push a drug that hasn’t been approved for this virus. Why would anyone do that?  Where are those baked goods… and some wine?
  • Time to prep for the upcoming week at work, which consists of Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting.
  • Shit.. need to fold the laundry.

How your quarantine?