Tag is exactly life in COVID
2020-03-24I just finished making dinner. Day 2 of distance learning. My emotional bandwidth is low. A cat is meowing, persistently. Can you guess which one? This afternoon, I went out today to shop for food. I felt the acute weirdness of distancing bodies on our quiet neighborhood sidewalks. This and the occasional thank you from folks who appreciated me quite literally going out of my way to avoid them. I go shopping. Not every day. I don’t know what else to do. I wash my hands. I wipe down the high-touch surfaces in our apartment. I wear a glove and wash that and my hands afterwards. I don’t know what else to do. A package arrived today containing Tylenol, Wet Wipes and a small bunch of pussy willows and lavender. Thank you. At home, I could hear Brendan opening the box and telling the girls to take it to me, seated on the couch, distantly learning how to teach something. I opened up the bundle, smiled, and put my face directly into it. I inhaled deeply, then burst into tears. Where is outside anymore? I’m so very sad about this loss today, one that I picked out of a field of so many other losses. Later, outside for a moment, I wanted to hug a tree, but my sister, standing 8 feet away from me, told me not to so I put the sole of one shoe onto it and leaned back like the most awkward senior picture for a school year without a graduation. I used to (a couple of months ago) volunteer at a hospital in the city. This was separate from my other hospital work and each year, for my medical clearance, it would be required that I take a respirator fit test using an N95 mask. Spoiler alert: I’m a size small. During the test, which to me always seems a bit like a bizarre performance art task and/or good modern dance, the person administering it asks you to do a variety of tasks: move your head slowly side to side, slowly nod up and down, deep breathing, normal breathing, and speaking. The text they ask you to recite is printed on a piece of paper taped to the wall at eye level in front of them. Here is the text: When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I don’t have to look all that far. There are rainbows all over the place if you have the right map.