Social Isolation #2: Reflections of the New Normal

There’s something about an open window in spring, listening to the birds whistle over an echo of distant thunder. This spring, in the viral nightmare of 2020, the breeze from that window serves to lift the spirits of those under house arrest. The freshness of it peels away the layers of Lysol and Clorox. Although, my doorknobs and light switches have never been cleaner.

I so badly wanted to touch my face while out in the world, forced out of solitude to find sustenance. It’s always itchy in spring: seasonal allergies. I’m trying not to sneeze, fearful to become the supermarket pariah. But I will obey the wisdom of “don’t touch your face” and “wash your hands” and “sanitize everything.” I have no qualms about heeding the advice of medical professionals and scientists, even if their voices are being muffled a dangerous, powerful, orange clown.

All of my freshly purchased groceries and necessities are temporarily banished to the garage. I’m terrified that Covid may have clung to a plastic bag, metallic label, or cardboard box. I spent $400 on food just to avoid shopping for as long as possible. There’s no fucking toilet paper anywhere because we live in a nation of greed. But I did find new toys to help my children stave off the boredom. They just can’t have them until they’re properly decontaminated. So yes. I fear-purchased groceries and guilt-purchased toys.

I need to spend time on social media to check the status of my coworkers from the past decade. I am worried about them, and I care about them. Everyone is out of work: all those wine lovers, passionate professionals, and hospitality champions. They’re scared of losing everything. Some have gotten jobs at places where they are exposed to hundreds or more people per day. It seems the poor and desperate are always the ones putting themselves at risk. But I have to check out of social media as quickly as I clicked on. The arguing, conspiracy theories, bad politics, and unfounded “facts” are bewildering and dangerous. I don’t want any of that in my head.

Instead of good wine, ugh, I have been supplementing: Rooibos chai with cream and honey, wine (if we can call it that) that comes in a box- because quantity over quality right now, and a half a pot cookie hidden in the freezer. I’m just trying not to lose my mind right now.

There are positives to remaining home. My dogs, the sweetest doggies, have been elated. They are currently spoiled rotten. They are receiving so many extra pets. They have played ball more than ever. They are the lucky ones in all of this.

My kids and I have made greeting cards to send to lonely people. My daughter has created a Pandora station so we can have Disney Princess dance parties. We have played in the soggy yard, and we have walked our neighborhood more times than I can count. We are waving at neighbors who are tending their yards, biking, playing football, exercising, and enjoying the warm promise of spring. I drive around aimlessly on less appealing days, when the sky is grey and the air is brisk. Thank God I live in such a scenic place.

The window is still open, and it is raining on my shoulders. I lit scented candles. One is vanilla and the other coffee. I do so miss going to a coffeehouse with a friend. I can see and hear the orange-bellied birds behind me. They are not afraid. They don’t fear the rain, the presence of my dogs, or the virus. They hop in the grass, happily pecking for worms. They can fly away and be free. And, unfortunately for windshields everywhere, they don’t have to worry about toilet paper.

P.S. I think someone beat me to the turkeys.

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