Although last week I WAS writing about how our private lives march on despite global events, I’ve made what amounts to a writer’s U-TURN. The arrival of a global pandemic into our homes negates my thesis. If a global event becomes personal, marching on obliviously is not only unwise, it’s insanity.
If we can’t see something, we can more easily ignore its existence — until we are immediately and insistently confronted with it. In the case of Covid-19, we are reading dire news and warnings. We think, “What if..?
What would seem overly compulsive begins to become somewhat normal, at least not exactly completely off the wall, although maybe a little over the top…
Wait! Take off your shoes!
Hand me those cans of diced tomatoes. I need to wash them.
Here, wear these plastic gloves while you pump gas.
No, you can’t go play basketball with your friends. All that sweaty up close jumping and bumping isn’t safe.
You didn’t take off your shoes!? Now we have to mop the floor with Clorox solution.
—unless you have been hearing from your niece in Rome, Italy, who says about social distancing, “Some [people] won’t believe it until they start seeing how devastating it is and some will just never practice the RESPECT required to follow the rules for safety.”
Indeed, it’s a crazy time. Will our imaginations run away with us or help us?
A parent tells her son he absolutely cannot hang with his friends, not at home, not anywhere; and what are you doing now!? You can’t be on your phone all the time!
A group goes out to a restaurant to celebrate a birthday; the governor, the mayor, the parent, the adult child, all say, Stay home!
Social distancing just isn’t any fun at all.
It may be time to pull out the 1950’s playbook, before TV, plastic, fast food, and work out joints.
Since there is no chicken broth on the grocery shelves. Boil down a chicken with an onion, carrot, celery, slices of lemon, and salt.
Can’t go to the gym? Go to the yard and dig out dandelions and wild onions. Plant a flowering shrub.
Spring clean like Mama used to do: scrub the walls and base boards, move furniture, wash windows and curtains, air out all the rooms. Vacuum the car. Clean out the garage.
No mayonnaise, no Ketchup on the grocery shelves? This is indeed a catastrophe! Spread ripe avocado or cream cheese on the bread. Hummus works too.
Tired of silence? Memorize Spanish or French verbs. And sing! Who cares at home whether you can carry a tune?
Is it time to paint a room? No one is coming over. This is a perfect time.
Arrange bike rides or hikes with friends. Go for a drive in the countryside.
No toilet paper? Some of us remember the routine in the privy on the farm. Recycling a catalog or magazine didn’t mean tying it in bundles and taking it out to the street for pickup.
Out of paper towels? Rags, folks. Use rags. And soap and more soap and more.
Write a book. It doesn’t have to sell; that’s not why you write it.
Write notes to or call people who absolutely should not be out in public. And listen, listen, listen. No one can see what you’re doing while they talk with you. Just carry on while they talk. They need to vent. We all do.
That’s what I’m doing right now—venting. I have something to say, redundantly, since others are also writing, in newspapers, on Facebook, in magazines, on blogs, in email. You will forgive me, I hope, for seeking your attention. It’s quiet here in my den in front of the fire. Even the dog is quiet. And my husband is upstairs writing a book that will never sell.