So, this is the end of Week Six, of the weeks that I have been in effect, quarantining.
The last time I was at an ATM machine? At the dry cleaners? Walked into a bookstore? Can’t tell you. I’m blocking it out, I suppose, the weight of it too great. Today, I took a long-ish walk, longer than I’ve had in two weeks, to the post office, to send The Teenager a package she’d received some weeks ago, an immediacy which I could not abide by, as here in the epicenter of the Coronavirus, running errands is simply not an option. The walk, the way my legs moved in the world, was a foreign experience. The emptiness of the streets. The clusters of people waiting at bust stops. The shuttered quality of stores, save for the pharmacies, the supermarkets, and that Post Office, its ceilings so high, its employees in good humor. Being outside in the world was not familiar, it was not comfortable, it was not freeing. It was a reminder of how fragile New York City still is.
If I had a weekly income, or enough of a savings account where this endless stream of time were welcome, I suppose being quarantined could have its upsides. Being home. Being with my dog. Being alone. All things I covet when I’m grinding. Will we look back at this time indoors, lamenting what we didn’t do enough of? Sleep enough? Relax enough? Binge watch enough?
In Stuytown, the women and men banished indoors with their children continue to struggle with physical safety and mental safety, allowing their children to soar on their scooters, wind in their hair, life flying along with them, carefree if only for a moment, until they are swept back inside by their mindful parent. Some children have masks, some don’t. There is no judgment, not from me, as I can only watch as the parent struggles, these scars embedded now in their minds. Me, not able to put my hand gently on a mother’s shoulder, let her know her child, her young young child, may not have clear memories of this time, if in fact, this is the one time their child lives through a pandemic. That I feel for her, I do, not that my feelings can help her, because what she needs, what she really really needs, is a respite from being a full time parent in a pandemic. I watch, carefully, behind my mask, not in judgment, but in socially-distanced solidarity.
This week for me was another notch in the belt of resilience. Of knowing I no longer have a steady income. Of watching a fellow neighbor come undone, attacking other neighbors, naked in his mania. Of expanding my repertoire of menu items, of needing a new blender, of adding more Brooklyn Born Dark Chocolate in Mint to my freezer. Of doing laundry, of scrubbing the bathtub, of sweeping, oh the endless amount of sweeping. Of wearing gloves, of hand-washing masks, of spraying disinfectant on things, on things that may have been exposed. Of feeling every scratch in my throat, rattling in my rib cage, ache in my body. Of accepting what is now, of hoping it will not be as such for the rest of our days.
And so the weekend is ahead of me. Yoga. Instagram. Rocky. Repeat. I hope you enter the end of your sixth week with a smile, knowing you’re in half-time.