Things are strange right now. Like, insanely strange. In fact, the word strange doesn’t even really touch the surface, now does it?
I am not sure about you, but I usually do not know what day it is and I never know what time it is.
Each morning, the first thing I do, before I even get out of bed, is ask Alexa what the weather is going to be. It is the only piece of “news” I care to know. I do that in lieu of what I have done for the past 25 years of my life: half watch, half listen to “The Today Show” or “Good Morning, America” or whatever CBS’s morning show is called. Stopped watching those weeks ago. At least I think it has been weeks. It could just be days, but, no I am pretty sure it has been weeks.
So much has changed.
I cannot go to my boxing classes anymore and, even though they’ve done an amazing job with an online presence, punching the air just isn’t the same as pulling on my pink gloves and ripping the stuffing out of a heavy bag. Now the only gloves I wear are those to keep me – and anyone I come in contact with – from getting sick.
Instead I walk. A lot.
But even my walks on the beach aren’t the same. Gone are the days of the wind whipping through my hair, chatting with whomever I want for however long I want. Now, I have to stick to one or the other side of the path, depending upon which direction I am headed. I have to wear a mask and gloves, not for warmth, but for protection. I have to ensure that I time it just right so that there are not a million other people doing the same thing. Now, I wait for high tide every day – oh, yeah: that’s the other thing I ask dear old Alexa – and I hit the sand, aggressively searching for sea glass. Seriously, even the joy of spying sea glass isn’t the same.
I am reading, but only books that are quick, light, and ultimately forgettable. Or, if not forgettable, interchangeable. Colleen Hoover, Elin Hildebrand, Harlen Coben? Sure, I planned ahead and took a bunch of “high quality” reads out of the library before they shuttered their shelves, but, yeah, haven’t been able to get into a-one of them. And, to be clear, by high quality, I am referring to those highly rated on Goodreads or a Facebook page I frequent: The Real Housewives Book Club. We aren’t talking “War and Peace” here, or even the NYT Best Seller List, folks.
With the exception of “The Kominsky Method”, I have not watched a single show. On my list: Unorthodox, Ozark, Schitt’s Creek (note: I have tried three times, just not getting it), Shitsel, even the damn Real Housewives, for crying out loud. Like my library books: haven’t watched a-one. (Oh, we did watch one episode of “Tiger King”…didn’t get it.) It doesn’t help that I have a self-imposed, hard and fast rule that I cannot turn on the television until after dinner. Why such a rule? No clue. Just cannot do it.
I shower every day. I put on jeans and a belt every day, too. I may come out of this period lethargic, discombobulated, with permanent heightened anxiety, and crappy-ass nails, but will be Goddamned if I am fat, too. So far: down three pounds.
Confession: PP (pre pandemic) I went to the supermarket between three and four times a week. I actually love going to the market. I have not stepped foot in one since early March. Barry, bless his heart, is not only my cook and chief bottle washer, but my DS (designated shopper) and, by and large, he is slaying it. Okay, so he bought Chi Chi’s Salsa and not Paul Newman’s, and he bought cans, not bottles of Diet Coke, and why so cheap with the La Choy Noodles (I might be addicted), but other than that (oh, and next time grab some decent chocolate, would ya?) I am grateful. (Bonus: he even washes it all down in the garage before bringing it in the house.) But here’s the thing…while he is dutifully adhering to the list I hand him, I deeply and profoundly miss picking up all the extras that don’t show up on any list. Not sure when I will go back, though. And that makes me sad. And I am longing for supermarket sushi.
The other day, in one of my near daily FaceTime chats with my brother, Rob, he (not so) gently
demanded suggested that I might want to consider putting on some makeup. Even a smear of mascara, for the love of God. He shamed me into it. For one day. The next day, I got up, showered, and considered putting something other than moisturizer on. I bagged the idea – imagine how great I will look when I finally put some on! (Note: most anyone who has ever met me had never seen me without mascara. This truly does signal the apocalypse.)
I will admit, however, that I do not totally hate this new life.
There is something soothing about it. I, and the people around me, are scheduleless. No one has to be here, there, or anywhere at any time, really. Each day is mellower, despite the insanity around us. And, while I make an effort to leave the house every day (McDonald’s Diet Coke – from the drive-thru with everyone gloved and masked – is even more perfect now!), if I don’t, I am not being lazy…I am being responsible. And the kids who are still at home? They are killing it. All deserve awards for Most Improved Player. Go figure.
I love having Barry home. To be clear, there are moments that I could kill him slowly and methodically with a ballpoint pen, but all in all, I like having him around. (And this is not just because he is my DS, although I will admit I find that kinda sexy.) Don’t tell him I said this, but I am going to miss him when he has to go back to his office every day. Without his commute (a mere 17 miles that can, on a good day, take 90 minutes to drive) we can take nightly walks while the sun is still out. He is willing to stay awake a little later in the evening since he can sleep a little later in the morning. (Aside: he’s a little mashugana about his sleep.) He cooks me a (usually) delicious dinner every night and he is much more on top of the laundry than usual. (Let me explain that. I am more than happy to do the laundry. However, Barry doesn’t like the way I do the laundry (I blame his mother for arming him with mad laundry skills). I also thank his mother for – when I complained that he was complaining about my laundry habits – suggesting that I just let him do it. Game. Set. Match.)
Someday we will go back to “normal”, but I am 100% certain that normal post pandemic will bear little resemblance to normal pre pandemic. Some things will be better. Some, not so much. Life has changed forever…that’s for sure.
We are all in a state of slow motion free fall. We cannot plan for anything. Rites and rituals are basically non-existent. It’s strange. It’s disconcerting. It’s life changing.
I hope you are at peace.
I hope you are able, between the freakouts and tears and panic attacks (you have those, too, right?) to make it through each day – in whatever iteration that might be.
I hope you are healthy.
I hope that the people in your life are, too.