Life in the Pandemic

If there were a movie with the title of this blog post you’d expect danger and action. But life with the coronavirus is just the opposite. I’m at home, often by myself, and doing my best to avoid people. When you do that, things are still and dull.

I walk outside in the morning and I’m struck by how quiet it is. Even if you live in a quiet neighborhood you always hear the drone of city traffic in the background. I’m outside now and that sound is absent.

It’s the eerie silence that comes from fear… not of violent people or some monster but a virus, something that makes no noise and cannot be seen. When you see people they may have it. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not freaking out. I don’t look at people now as sinister harbingers of something that will kill me. I smile and wave as they walk by.

But constantly telling people to stay away from each other creates distance and dread.

I’ve been occupying myself by working on my garden. I climbed a ladder to cut off the tops of some overgrown hedge trees. I fell off the ladder and landed on my side, which knocked the wind out of me and later hurt like hell. Stupid! I didn’t have a plan for losing my balance and jumping to safety. And I’m too old to be stupid. I could have busted my head! Did I break a rib? I don’t think so and I’m sure not going to the ER for an X-ray, the way things are.

Earlier in the week I was exchanging messages with a woman I know. I think she’s pretty good at tennis. We’d never played and I asked her if she wanted to play. We’d been texting rapidly but suddenly I was waiting a long time for her response. That’s right… we’re not supposed to spend time together these days.

“Sorry,” I messaged her. “Sometimes I forget that things aren’t normal.”

I have the week off. I work in the media and I’m usually swimming in the current of news. Now it’s in the background. I spot a headline that says unemployment claims are at a historic high. Governments are trying to stop home foreclosures. I see an email from work, telling more and more people who work there to socially isolate and stay home… not come into the office.

We’ve got a stay-at-home order from the governor. The mayor has closed parks and beaches, and San Diego kinda looks like a ghost town. Shops are closed and the only thing you see are people in their cars, those mobile extensions of the stay-at-home space.

My mother is blind in one eye and she has an appointment with an opthamologist a week from Friday. Mom says she doesn’t want to go to it. Partly because it puts her in more danger for coronavirus but maybe more because she hates getting injections in her eye. They’re trying to save her good eye, so her doctor told me what her advice was.

I’m thinking, do we put my mom at more risk of getting COVID-19 as she leaves her apartment to make her appointment? At her age of 92 it would likely kill her. Or do we risk her going blind in both eyes because she’s delayed treatment? It’s her decision, not mine, and she has a week to make it.

One good thing. The kids are at home with me.  So I get to watch movies with them, eat dinner with them and talk with my daughter about her school work. She’s doing classes remotely, of course, so she’s here all the time, at least until she goes to her mother’s house at the end of the week. The thing I like about COVID-19: It doesn’t kill people under 20. It might take me, but God willing it won’t take my kids.



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