Today is day what of sheltering in place? Eight? Ten? I can google when Gavin Newsom made the shelter in place order for our state and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made the order for our county (same day), but that would surely take me down an internet rabbit hole and I’m trying to focus. Trying to write.
I know that on March 11th I went to a restaurant with my friend Marisa. She said she was so glad we went to dinner because it helped ease her anxiety. Ironically, that’s the night the shit really hit the fan – The NBA was cancelled, The Hankses announced they had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the president held a press conference where he read from a script and yet still incorrectly stated no flights would be coming in from Europe after Friday the 13th. (Also, I know that Hankses sounds weird, but trust me Hankses is the plural of Hanks – not Hanks’. It’s grammatically correct.)
On March 12 I went to a popular bar for a going away happy hour for a coworker. (Are people who are a few ticks higher up than you on the corporate ladder, but whom you do not report to coworkers? I don’t know. Anyway.) As I was driving there it was pouring rain. I didn’t feel great about going. But I went anyway. I’m healthy. I’m good about washing my hands. I try to use a tissue or a sleeve every time I touch my face. But still. I was on two planes just eight days before. (And two planes nine days before. And a plane eleven days before. And two planes fourteen days before.) This was before the term social distancing was part of our everyday language. Before we were
advised mandated to stand six feet apart. But I was still surprised that the restaurant was so crowded. But like I said. I was there too.
On Friday the 13th I went to Trader Joe’s at 11AM. I knew the president was going to issue a state of emergency at noon and I wanted to get to the market before he did that. Before they really were out of everything. I saw two women from my office there and my friend’s husband. They were already out of so many things. Pasta. Rice. Meat. Vegetarian protein. Potatoes. (And of course all paper and cleaning products.) Dog food. My favorite $9.00 bottle of Sauvingon Blanc. I bought some good cheese. And dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt. If we were going to be stuck in the house at least we could enjoy ourselves.
We don’t really eat fast food (In N’ Out doesn’t count!), but on Sunday, March 15th, Dave, Marley, and I walked to McDonalds for Shamrock Shake Oreo McFlurries. I wanted to bring the dog and walk and eat the McFlurries because I did not want to eat inside. Dave and Marley wanted to leave the dog home and eat inside. I brought Purell wipes and wiped down the table. Truth be told, it was too minty for me – I would have preferred my McFlurry un-shamrocked, but I ate the whole thing. The weather was cool – in the 60’s, but mostly sunny. It was a gorgeous day. There were a lot of people out walking. Families out taking a walk. I wondered aloud if there were more people than normal out for a walk at 3:00 on a Sunday afternoon. On Sunday night Newsom would shut it down – so there’s the answer to my question. It’s been a week as I write this. A week of shelter in place. I guess we were lucky – we went to a place we never go on the last day we could go there.
Because we had McFlurries so late in the day we weren’t that hungry for dinner so we just had some cheese, a bit of salami, and wine. (And an apple. You know. To be healthy.) Sheltering in place might make me fat.
I went to work on Monday even though I could have worked from home because I knew it would be my last day going in until all of this is over. I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed. Dave works at the same company as I do, but he has a desktop and had to wait until Wednesday for a laptop so he could work at home as well.
In Nashville there is a bar called Winners that hosts a concert every Monday and Thursday night with different country artists called Whiskey Jam. Because the bar has closed for the coronavirus they’ve turned Whiskey Jam into a nightly virtual event (9:00PM CDT) on Instagram Live called Risky Jam. On Tuesday night I watched Mitchell Tenpenny, Meghan Patrick, Ryan Beaver, and Ernest perform and I was happy and my anxiety melted away for an hour.
Wednesday night I told Marley that I didn’t feel comfortable for her to hang out with her friends. Even if it was just at someone’s house. She was angry with me (understandably), but stayed home. What she didn’t know is that I had diagnosed myself with COVID-19 (with no symptoms) that day and I didn’t want her spreading it to her friends. Dave had oral surgery on Wednesday so I made soup for dinner. Matt Nathanson did an Instagram live concert and for an hour I was happy and forgot that my daughter hated me and the soup I made wasn’t my best and that I had coronavirus.
On Thursday morning I got up and took the dog for a run and knew that if I had coronavirus I could never do that. (I was cured!) Dave had a second oral surgery. It was our 26th wedding anniversary and instead of a nice steak and a good bottle of wine we had pasta and our favorite $11 everyday wine. Love in the time of coronavirus.
On Friday at 2:00 a few people on my team had a 40 minute virtual happy hour. I made myself a vodka and juice drink that wasn’t quite a martini, but I put it in a martini glass. It was pretty and tasty and pink. There were five of us on the video call and it made me happy and again I felt lucky that I work with really great people that I like and love so much. I barbecued hamburgers for dinner and Marley started speaking to me again. I watched Hardy and Devon Dawson and Lauren Alaina on the Instagram Live Risky Jam and my heart felt full with happiness and love and togetherness. I love that these house concerts are popping up to lift people’s spirits. They truly lift mine.
On Saturday we wanted to go for a hike, but when we got to the trail it was closed, so we went to the beach. The weather was beautiful. Perfect, actually. I thought I took a lot of pictures, but I took almost none. We walked on the walking path because we had our dog. It wasn’t crowded, but also it wasn’t dead. Again, I wondered if there were more people than usual on a cool March day since kids can’t play sports or go to birthday parties or go to the mall. It was nice to be in the fresh air. To be in nature. (Later I saw pictures on the news of Malibu and Huntington Beach being packed. We were at Zuma and it wasn’t like that. Nothing like that.)
At 4:30 I had a virtual happy hour with some of my best girlfriends. We haven’t all been together in over a year. Funny how being apart is the thing that brought us together. A couple hours in, the husbands joined the party. Dave and I had cheese and wine again for dinner. We’re going to meet again virtually next weekend and attempt to play Cards Against Humanity. We’ll see how that goes.
This morning I went for a run with my dog. He loves to run, but he’s not the best behaved dog and is a terrible running partner. We crossed paths with a woman with two dogs. I said hello as I was coming upon her and she ignored me. As we were running past her, my dog lunged at her dogs, crossing my path and causing me to trip over him. I yelled as I came tumbling down and she never looked back. Didn’t ask if I was okay. I’m going to assume it’s because she didn’t see me fall (and must have had earbuds in, so didn’t hear me yell) and not because she thought I was a coronavirus carrying zombie. I cleaned the house today. (My house is cleaner than it’s ever been and no one can come over to see it.) I baked banana bread. My writing group had a virtual creativity session at 2:00 where we all dedicated one hour to working on something – writing, editing, practicing yoga, etc. I’m being productive. I wrote this. It’s the first thing I’ve written in a long, long while.
The coronavirus is worse than terrible. Possibly the worst thing ever. And the worst is truly yet to come. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more than a little bit scared. And yet – the humanity has been so wonderful. (Well, other than the blind-ear-bud-wearing-corona-virus-zombie-fearing dog walking woman.) The Instagram Live concerts truly fill my music loving heart with joy. Virtual happy hours make me feel connected even when we are forced apart. And I wrote! (And my house is clean!) This is really hard. And is really terrible. But we will get through it. Together. Even when we have to remain apart.