Three.

I get laryngitis all the time. Probably at least once a year — since I was a teenager at least. And every time, without fail, there comes a day where, suddenly, not only do I completely forget what my actual voice sounds like, but I am also absolutely certain that it will never return the same as it was before. This is where I am in my quarantine. I forget what it is like to make social plans, to see people’s actual faces, to have someplace to be and I am absolutely certain we won’t return to a sense of normalcy that actually feels…normal.

I had heard a long time ago about the “Icky 3s” as it related to quitting something and quitting other people seems to be no exception. “At three weeks, we’ve gotten through the shock of physical withdrawal and we’re just beginning to tackle the mental side.” Uh, yeah. That’s pretty much spot on. It doesn’t seem crazy anymore or as weird as it did. I notice I’m not (nor is really anyone else) saying things like “in these strange times” nearly as much as we all were. It’s not that strange anymore. It’s a new normal. But I’m reactive and moody and I’ve retreated pretty far into myself (for me, anyway) as a response to the social interaction craving.

I’m also absolutely enraged by people not following protocol. Anytime someone tells me they’re seeing family members because “we’re related!” I want to scream. I thought at first that it could be jealousy and a sense of fairness (if I can’t, why can you?) but then I realized that it’s actually indigence. If I will, why won’t you? It’s really no different from someone listening to a video on their laptop in a cafe at full volume. It would be chaos if we all did it and the only reason you’re able to is because I (and other people like me) are. The chaos is real. Driving your brother to CVS or having your adult nephew over for lunch in the middle of a stay-at-home order is listening to your laptop at full volume in a cafe. Those of us following the rules and staying home are making it safe for you to abandon those very same rules.

I could go on and on with various metaphors and ranting, but it actually doesn’t help me. Rage is not going to make this any better. Ennui is not going to make this any better. Wallowing in carbs is not going to make this any better (though it is going to make it taste better.) The only thing that is going to make it better is to keep slogging through it and to remember that there will again be warm, sunny days where we see neighbors from a distance and play games as a family and get work done and the goodness of people shows itself clearly.

Until then, fuck Week Three. Fuck it right to hell.

In the Bag.

I gave up coffee during this quarantine. Not at all on purpose, but I had a cup one day and I felt like crap all day. The next day, I didn’t (inadvertently) and realized I felt better. Then I had one the next day and felt like crap again. Seems like a no-brainer. I don’t miss it, but the headaches coming off caffeine kind of suck. I’ve been subbing my morning beverage out with decaf black tea (all we have) but I’m hoping for regular tea in our next rations drop. (That’s what online grocery feels like now. Brown bag on our doorstep. Knock and leave.)

The Who decided that he prefers a schedule, which is a total reversal, although I can see that predictability in this mess could be a craving. When he was in school and doing all his extra-curriculars, the last thing he wanted on the weekend was a schedule. Now that we are home and scheduled basically to the minute all week, he finds that he misses the structure over the weekend. He can’t wait to get back to it tomorrow.

And about that schedule…I’m finding it incredibly comforting, too. I like knowing what’s coming and when. It is pretty structured, but it’s also not overwhelming. It’s not like I have him buried in math problems for six hours a day. There are about 1.5 hours of academics (tomorrow it’s Civics and Art), lots of breaks (some with screens and some without), quiet time, “recess” (which is always outside, twice a day if its not raining), chores, regular practices (Hebrew and piano), and the occasional virtual extracurricular (also Hebrew and piano, actually.) It sounds full, but it’s got a soothing pace to it.

We’re also doing a very good job of keeping him off the news. We asked him not to watch news on YouTube and we are very mindful of not putting it on the TV unless he is in the basement or in bed. It’s working for me, too. I got saturated in the first few days. A quick catch-up on MSNBC in the evening is enough. Being assaulted with doom is really hell on the psyche. Who knew?

I don’t want to pretend it’s not happening, but I’m really just trying to bury my head in the sand just enough. You know how when you’re walking somewhere far and you keep your eyes down, looking at your feet or counting the sidewalk cracks, you’re there before you know it, but if you keep looking ahead at the destination, it feels like forever? That’s sort of how I am approaching this. Head down, assuming we are in it forever, and hoping to be pleasantly surprised when one day, they just say the spread is over. The vaccine is ready. The flowers are in full bloom. You get a car and you get a car and you get a car! Everybody gets a car!

Until then, though, more wiping down my groceries with Clorox wipes and singing the ABCs in front of the sink.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Stay the fuck home. I love you.

Bullets.

  • Kids (and really everyone) talk VERY loud when they are video chatting with headphones on.
  • Outside is amazing.
  • When people are scared, sometimes anger bubbles right up to the surface.
  • Wearing real pants all day, while not the most comfortable, makes me feel more human.
  • Obvious things don’t seem the same level of obvious to all people.
  • Algebra is hard.
  • When people are scared, sometimes incredible human kindness and generosity bubbles right up to the surface.
  • Bread, eggs, and milk (ok, half and half) really are snow day/quarantine necessities in my family and it has nothing to do with French toast.
  • Having a kid has really changed my perception of my own mortality. I think there might have been a time in the past where I thought: well, if I get it, I get it. That is not the case anymore.
  • Booking future airfare in the middle of this shows incredible optimism (which, aside from my daily 10-minute freakout and nighttime news saturation, I have.)
  • Snow days and natural disasters only offer local empathy and community. Global pandemics offer a sense of oneness many have never experienced in their lives.