Pandemic Diary: February 29-March 12

February 29

Matt and I went to dinner at his friends’ house so we could hammer out details for the Philippines trip in May. Everyone is on board and we almost have the locations nailed down. We just need to buy the tickets.

One of the friends works for Amazon like Matt, and she said that Amazon moved all its job interviews online out of “an abundance of caution” for the coronavirus. But they didn’t think that’d be an issue by May.

I’m getting more and more excited about going to the Philippines. I’ve never traveled outside the US with Matt. I’ve never been to the Philippines. I’m afraid everyone else in the group will want to party the whole time, but Matt and I are going to make sure it’s fun for us, too. We might rent kayaks for a week and spend whole days paddling along shorelines.

We need to just buy the tickets. Once we do, it’ll feel real. 

March 6

Amazon rented out Snoqualmie and Alpental for employees and their families to ski for the day. Which is nuts. How are you such a big company that you can afford to rent a ski resort. I guess some people wanted to cancel it because Amazon was promoting “extreme sports,” which are dangerous. And then some people wanted to cancel it because of the coronavirus.

But anyway, it was nice: I finally started to see why people like skiing. By the end of the day I was going down the bunny hill, and Matt was so amped about it. 

March 8

The coronavirus feels menacing. This morning when I playing piano at St. Matt’s for the 8:00 service, there was no communion. They didn’t even pass the offering plates. Pastor said that they’re talking about canceling the service altogether and just having one at 10:00. I’m scared of that happening, because then I wouldn’t get paid for the 8:00 service. I could be out of a job.

I don’t think Mabel will be affected much, but what if customers come in sick and pass it to us? Or what if one of us baristas gets sick? Then I think we would have to shut down.

Travel is laughably cheap, though. I want to book a flight somewhere.

We just don’t know if this’ll be a huge thing or nothing. It feels like the beginning of something horrible but we just don’t know. I’m fretting about losing money though, and not seeing my grandpa every week like normal.

March 9

The Philippines trip is canceled. 

March 10

My sister Kate and I went to trivia at the Old Pequliar and complained about how the coronavirus is going to mess us up, but otherwise it was typical. We drank Guinness, did bad at trivia, our team name was “Chelsea and Kate,” and a drunk guy kept feeding us answers, but whenever we followed his suggestions, they were wrong.

March 11

Governor Inslee announced today that in Seattle, gatherings of 250 people or more are banned. Seattle schools are also closing for at least two weeks. 

The World Health Organization has officially called this thing a pandemic. Pandemic makes it sound… cinematic. When was the last time we had a pandemic?

I received the expected email that tonight will be the last choir rehearsal until further notice, and that services will be canceled until further notice. They’re going to try to keep paying me, though.

It all makes my stomach hurt. Part of me loves the chaos: I can’t wait to see what happens next, I think it’s fascinating, I wonder what opportunities it’ll open up. And part of me is sad: I want to see my grandpa. I want to go to church. I don’t want to be afraid to touch my boyfriend’s face. And part of me is scared: what if I lose a job? What if I lose money? What if I have to stay home? What if I get bored? 

I’ve cried about all this a few times. 

At the coffee shop, we have less and less cash in the till every day, because the only time we use it now is to pay out credit card gratuity. Our hands are dry from the obsessive washing and bleaching. We’re slammed because everyone is working remotely and comes here, but no one comes in when we open at 6:00, since they’re sleeping in, so our regular flow is off. We’ve stopped putting lids on the drinks for customers. Instead, we set them on a saucer and let them do it themselves. Instead of the weather, everyone wants to talk about how annoying/awesome it is to work from home.

I’ve got to get off Facebook. Scrolling through Facebook is sickening.

And also, I’m not reading books! I gave them up for Lent. I haven’t given up something for Lent in years, and this was the year I decided to do something. It took a few years of chickening out, but this year, I committed to it: from February 26 to April 9, I committed to reading and listening to only the Bible. No podcasts, no audiobooks, no magazines, no novels. Just the Bible. I figured it had been a long time since I’d been neck-deep in the Word, and it would be a good spiritual and intellectual discipline.

And the one year I chose to only read the Bible, that was the year a global pandemic broke out. Now that we aren’t supposed to go out, I have all this extra time on my hands. I could be reading so many things, but I’m slogging through 2 Chronicles.

March 12

Trump banned travel from Europe for 30 days. 

I don’t know how to get COVID-19 out of my head. It’s scary. I want to think about other things but it’s always on my mind. I relax when I have a beer or two but I don’t just want to drink. Tomorrow I’ve got to get out and do a hike or something. 

For weeks now I’ve not been working on my “career.” I’ve got ideas: take a course on editing, post a blog, this is the perfect time to look for a lucrative remote job. But I can’t bring myself to. I do not have the will. 

Here is some advice to myself that I think will help:

  1. When you are scared of not having enough, trust in the goodness of people. Your employers are looking out for you. Your friends will help you. Your family will be there. You won’t lack anything.
  2. Don’t sit on your phone reading the news. Take in good content, or make things.
  3. Work out and eat good food and get enough sleep.
  4. Remember that it is almost springtime, and that is the most beautiful time of year.

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