Pandemic Diary: April 1-10

April 1

Here are my people:

  1. Matt, my boyfriend
  2. Michael, his housemate
  3. Stephen, his housemate
  4. Mom
  5. Dad
  6. David, my brother
  7. Ashley, my sister-in-law
  8. Dahlia, their kid
  9. Kate, my sister
  10. Josh, her boyfriend

That actually seems like too many. Is that too many? I don’t know how to cut out any more.

April 2

The governor extended the stay home order through May 4. And the CDC is now recommending that everyone wear masks outside. I know this is petty, but I don’t want to wear a mask because they look both sinister and stupid. And no, sewing one with cheerful fabric won’t make it better.

Matt and I talked about going to a reception at Seattle Art Museum months ago. Obviously we aren’t going to go, but it’s still in my calendar. I am glad we got to the O’Keefe exhibit while we could.

I would love to go to an art museum right now and be all alone in a big building like that.

April 4

I’ve been mostly in Puyallup for the last two weeks. Mom has a tally on the fridge tracking the days we’ve been ordered to stay home. My siblings are in and out: since they live alone, they are up in Seattle at their places a lot. But I have seven roommates, and since my parents’ place is so much bigger, I’m more comfortable here.

I should be chronicling what our days are like, but they’re so similar. We sleep in, have coffee, play with the dogs, I get antisocial and read and work out and do random sewing projects and maybe apply for unemployment again, I take a shower, we filter into the kitchen around 5:00 and snack and chat, we have a big dinner, we watch Netflix, we go to bed.

Today, Matt and I take a walk in Old Town Tacoma. He does every hopscotch on the sidewalk and we look for teddy bears in the windows, and we talk about our career dreams and what’s holding us back from them.

It sounds easy on paper. It is easy. But it also isn’t. Because if one of us leaves the house, it shatters the illusion that we’re just having some extended quality time. It’s a break but it’s not a vacation.

We’ve been eating well, and that is a genuine, fun blessing. Mom, Josh, and Matt instigate most of the gourmet nights. Last night, Matt and I made Algerian meatballs, baked cheesy polenta, and a big salad. We had red wine and Rice Krispie treats for dessert, and I felt guilty for harboring dissatisfaction because I have it so easy compared to so many.

April 5

When I go to bed, I wonder if my scratchy throat is a symptom of the virus. I am a little worried, but also not, and I decide I should probably just sleep. I have been staying up way past midnight for the better part of two weeks now.

April 6

Today I’ve been researching how to cut my own hair and make my own shirts. 

Kate and I have been doing lots of workout videos in the basement. The instructors are so peppy. They never mention the virus, but they say things like, “When life gets tough, remember that you are tough!” Or, “Sometimes things feel out of control, but you can control these next 30 minutes and develop your core strength!” 

“Find your why!” said the lady today on the video. “Dig deep, and find out why you are doing this workout!”

“So I don’t get depressed!” Kate yelled at the laptop.

April 8

I get off the phone with Igor, my friend from the Camino who is under strict lockdown near Bilbao. We’ve reconnected after a couple years of not speaking much. He gets off the phone because he needs to perform his daily piano concert on his balcony and we agree to talk next week.

I go into my bedroom and hear a wailing sound from outside. Our next door neighbors are singing Happy Birthday to someone on a phone. My dogs are barking at them from the deck. 

I signed up for a half marathon called the Social Distance Run. You sign up for the distance you want, and then run it somewhere private where no one can bump into you. I wish I were working out purely for the joy of movement, but it’s more to maintain mental equilibrium.

April 9

I come into Mabel to check on the place and make myself an Italian soda while Brooke, Karen, and I Zoom about extending our closure from April 14 to May 5. We decide that that is the best idea. The whole time we chat, I see people walking on the sidewalk. Several are customers, but I don’t catch their eyes. They are walking quickly, hitting the walk signal signs with their elbows. One of the people is a substitute teacher, and I wonder how she is doing now.  

After that, I walk down Ballard Avenue. So many stores are boarded up. So many murals are painted on the plywood. They’re beautiful, but it’d be better if they weren’t necessary. They’re like get well cards.

April 10

Tonight is Good Friday I’m sick of Zoom. There are three church services happening right now, and I don’t know which I’m supposed to attend. There’s a happy hour afterward with friends, and I’m not going because I hate Zoom happy hours. Do people actually like them? Or are they just obligated to do them? I think I’m getting worse at staying in touch with people. I have friends who texted me weeks ago and I haven’t replied. I can’t use the “I’m busy” excuse. I want to use the “I’m exhausted from being expected to maintain social normalcy online the way I would in real life” excuse.

Running is more and more important. I ran nearly nine miles on Tuesday. I’ve never run that far at once. When I run I don’t talk to anyone. I don’t even think that much.

2 thoughts on “Pandemic Diary: April 1-10

  1. I love how you’re capturing it in bites. I read this and looked back and recognized all of my own “putting on my best front” attitudes and activities. We DO have it easier than many: no small children to make do school, no fear of running out of food (or anything else), no huge worries about paying bills. But it has grown tiresome and it’s harder to be noble. I keep singing that line from JC Superstar: “Then, I was inspired. Now—I’m sad and tired…” But we raise our heads (but not our masks) and we hang in there.

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  2. I have a friend, he’s charismatic and close to God, who has always run as a way of quieting his mind and finds that’s when God speaks to him. He says it’s the only time his mind gets quiet enough to hear God. I am not a runner. I wish I had something that I could plug into and definitively know it will shut down my mind every time. I don’t. If you are able to “not think” when you run, develop that. It’s a gift, rare, I think, in this age, to have moments of a quiet mind.

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