We’ve made great strides since the pandemic started in coping with our ever more surreal reality. I noticed that in New York City they’ve recently started to issue $50 tickets to passengers who aren’t wearing masks on the subway. “Yeah, but how are they going to enforce that,” said Sue. “The kind of people who won’t wear a mask are the same ones who would just tear up the ticket.”
“Well, they could do what they do with illegally parked cars,” I said. “Put a boot on repeat offenders! If someone thinks it’s a such terrible inconvenience to have to wear a mask in order to protect every other commuter, let’s see if they’d rather limp around with a 50 pound metal boot wherever they go.”
Since the pandemic began we’ve personally progressed in many ways. For instance, when the lockdown first went into effect in March, Sue and I took the opportunity to mop and wax the floors. By July we had advanced to washing all the windows and polishing the outdoor porch furniture. Today I noticed Sue in the garden vacuuming between the rows of kale and collards. “It’s easier than weeding,” she insisted.
When this first started we were washing down all the containers and bags from the grocery store with Clorox. Once we realized that groceries were pretty safe we began ordering take-out food from some of our favorite restaurants, to try to help them stay in business. Lately I’ve just been going down to the cellar and eating my three month stockpile of beans, tuna, and sardines directly from their cans. Does anybody want to buy some toilet paper?
In the beginning I would go out to pick up the daily paper from the driveway wearing gloves and would set it aside for three days before I read it, to allow time for the virus to die off. After a couple of months I cancelled home delivery, and subscribed to the online version instead, since I didn’t want to miss any of the latest news because I was afraid to touch it. Now I only read archived newspapers from five or more years ago and pretend I live on a different planet.
When we initially couldn’t meet with all of our regular groups in person, we discovered Zoom and were soon doing Zoom yoga classes, Zoom wine tastings and even Zoom protest marches. Then we got sick of having Zoom going somewhere in the house all day long, particularly after the incident where I walked naked behind Sue on my way to the shower, while she was broadcasting to her Zoom book club. Soon it turned out we could go to real outdoor protest marches and meet-ups, as long as we wore masks (and clothes) and stayed six feet apart. Now that it’s getting cold I’m heading back to my office at Funny Times where I can hide out from all these damn people and try to get some work done in peace.
When the shutdown first started I thought I would use all the extra time at home to write a book or build an addition onto the house, or maybe learn how to play the glockenspiel. After three months I hoped I might write a short story, or repair the broken garage door, or maybe learn how to make Mom’s chili recipe. Now, more realistically, I hope to finish the final season of Game of Thrones, replace the batteries on the channel changer, and maybe finally learn how to turn off the subtitles that appear on every show I watch on Netflix.
When they first shut down our barber and salon, Sue and I decided to let our hair grow. After about a month I attempted to trim my own hair, with only minor blood loss. Sue let her hair grow more. After two months I asked her to cut my hair and she did just as good a job as my barber and I didn’t even need to tip her. When I offered to reciprocate and cut her hair Sue started wearing a bandana all the time. Recently she found a stylist who was willing to work outdoors and I am once again able to see her hair (and she no longer has to hide the scissors from me.)
When it first started and I saw how other countries were handling it I thought, “Maybe if everyone is sensible and listens to the scientists this thing will be manageable.” After hearing Trump deny that it even existed and then recommending that everyone inject bleach I thought, “No, in America we’re probably all gonna get it, and millions will die.” Then it seemed like, “Maybe the scientists can come up with a vaccine faster than anything they’ve ever done before and if everyone takes it things will quickly go back to normal.” Now I think, “We’re all probably gonna be wearing masks for the rest of our lives.” But what the hell, it beats having to wear a boot.