Still here, on my couch, week three of self-isolation, quarantined, socially-distancing.
This is the week that things have come undone. In my neighborhood, Stuytown, I feel the impact. The masks are now on people’s faces: bandanas, scarves, balaclavas. The gloves are on people’s hands. The parks are padlocked. The Purell in the lobby has run out, and there will no longer be refills. This is the week when people won’t get into an elevator with another. This is the week where my friends are losing their beloveds. This is the week where fear is a factor.
I’m trying to stay within the confines of Stuytown, but there are days when I too, must leave campus, and I dread it. To hell with my ten thousand steps. While inside Stuytown, it’s a bit of a ghost town—of the eight apartments on my floor, four of my neighbors have left the city, the flyers jutting out from under their doors the telltale sign. On a sunny day, there are still quite a lot of people sitting on the benches around the fountain in the Oval, but the playgrounds are closed. Kids whir by on their scooters, parents push their prams, people walk their dogs. We’re still alive, we’re still clinging to some semblance of an outdoor world, but we’re doing it in a COVID19 world, we’re doing it tentatively, we’re doing it mindfully, we’re doing it with hope that this is truly temporary, that we will make it out alive.
We know the rules now. We have to wash our hands. We have to not-touch our faces. We have to stay six feet away from other people. We have to stay home. We have so many boundaries, holding us to task now. It’s a lot. Everything weighs.
So for me, this week has been a dramatic shift, in the changes within me and around me. This is the week I learned that if I gargle with saltwater, I can eliminate the hoarseness in my throat. This is the week I ordered a ton of dark chocolate from Ghiradelli. This is the week I went to the apothecary and spent 10 dollars on a mask. This is the week where things shifted.
The routine is still in place. I wake up every day at 7:30, Rocky waking me. We do our ritual—he gets fed, I shower, we go for a walk. I gear up, gloves, mask/scarf, treats in my pocket. I Saran Wrap my phone because I want my steps counted. I do a Zoom call at ten with the company I’m freelancing at, and then the day just speeds by—emails to answer, lunch to be had, texts to respond to. By 6, it’s time to walk Rocky again and then eat dinner. I do spend my days knowing what my meals will be, the source of that knowledge based on the finite items in my refrigerator. Every night at 7pm, Stuytown applauds the health care workers, the first responders, the people making it possible for life to continue on. I tear up every night at 7, listening to my neighbors cheer, knowing what’s at stake, what’s at risk. At 9, we do our final walk, and by ten, I’m ready to fall asleep. This is my day, every day in my third week.
So, I stand in awe of us. I sit on my couch in awe of us. I am in awe, of all of us. I hope you are too.