By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
Well, it’s been quite the week, heh? Last week at this time I had all sorts of social engagements and golf games on the calendar. Today, I think of a trip to the grocery store as a major outing. Mind you, an outing the warrants rubber gloves and endless sheets of Clorox wipes. Who ever thought that going to pick up some rutabagas would become a life-threatening excursion? When they first told us to watch out for the elderly I envisioned the folks that Dash the Wonder Dog used to visit in the retirement care center. To my horror, I soon discovered that I’m considered elderly and, therefore, in a high-risk group. Our paranoia about the virus has resulted in some changes around here. We’ve begun to look at our friends in a whole new light – do we really think the Smiths wash their hands as thoroughly as they should? Is Sally going to the grocery store and then not wiping down her countertops? And what about those Johnsons? They had their kids and grandkids in for spring break last week. Surely they are swimming in germs over at their house. Just to make it easy, we are not only socially distancing – we are socially hibernating.
The other change is that we now spend a fair amount of time figuring out what to do. Normally, each morning when we walk Dash we talk about our plans for the day. Now, with nothing on our calendar, that conversation is a little stretched for content. My husband’s main “job” is to play golf. His secondary job is to watch golf and hockey on TV. But now our golf course has closed down and all sports have been suspended so he’s out of work. I’m not sure that the new relief package is going to cover his “unemployment”. But we may need it. His occasional pastime is watching the stock market but we’ve had to put an end to that as well – his heart just couldn’t take it anymore. I usually knit a couple of hours a day because I enjoy it and it’s a calming activity. But now that I have all the time in the world and no place to go, my knitting feels like a time-filler, which is sadly true. Yesterday I tackled some ironing I’ve been putting off and I cleaned the kitchen for the n-th time and then I ran out of ideas. Now I’m wishing that I hadn’t spent so much time last year organizing my closets. Damn that “sparking joy” craze. My spice rack is alphabetized, the sock drawer is neat as a pin, and all of my pantry items are resting in their designated baskets. I’m looking for other activities to keep me entertained, and – this is important – refrain me from killing my husband. My friends and I joke that among the 30-somethings we will see a baby boom in 9 months, while some of us older folks may well end up in the hoosegow for murdering our spouse.
We’re only 8 days into the 15 day “distancing” suggestion and I’m already antsy. I’ll get over it. Really, it’s not much of a sacrifice to sit on the couch with Dash, watch trashy TV and knit. When I think about what the front line people at hospitals are going through it gives me shivers. I can’t imagine their stress – not only the anticipation of a coronavirus tsunami, but the risk they take for themselves and their families working so near the disease. I worry about all the small businesses that may be lost because we all have to stay home – businesses that have provided our communities with so much diversity and character. But I am optimistic that we will all get through this. I’m cheered by some unusual bi-partisanship in Washington and how citizens of all stripes are pulling together. For every stupid college student on the beach in Florida saying they don’t care if they infect others, there are 10 great kids who are volunteering to help the elderly and needy. It’s uplifting and perhaps just what we needed to remind us that we’re all Americans.
I hope that in two weeks time when I’m writing this blog we will be through the worst of it. But according to this website https://covidactnow.org/ we may just be at the beginning. So just in case, does anyone have the name of a good bail bondsman?