Swaying to the Pandemic

When the Pandemic sunk in and I started staying home whenever possible, I had a hard time wrapping my head around a few things. First, I was used to running out to the grocery store on a whim. Public health announcements urged us to limit our trips to once a week for getting necessities. What if I’m feeling like ravioli tonight? What if I want to make chicken soup and don’t have any celery? What if I’m out of sauce for my shrimp cocktail? And doesn’t everyone need to replenish milk? How was this going to work?

At first, I stealthily went out more than once a week. Then I started going through my food stores. I had cans of green beans and red beets to last for a month, loads of tea and coffee, twelve cans of diced tomatoes, a basket filled with bags of dried fruits, and twelve bags of various dried beans. Clearly, I wasn’t going to starve anytime soon. I began being creative with what I had on hand. I limited my outings to once a week until I ran out of wine. I remember the day, feeling guilty and thinking the empty roadways were a bit eerie. 

Second, I couldn’t believe they were serious about wearing masks. On my weekly outings, I tied a scarf around my nose and mouth.  When it didn’t seem the mask requirement was going away, I bought a face mask. It didn’t feel comfortable, but I kept wearing it anyways. I realized I had not caught a cold, like I normally do. At my doctor’s appointment in May 2020, I was given a disposable mask. I liked it so much, I got a box of them.

Oddities sprang up. I watched virtual trainings, concerts and lectures. (I solemnly hoped they soon would return to an in-person format.) I pickled watermelon rinds. I painted the downstairs half bath; I painted the exterior fence. I wrote a novel, and I started listening to audio books. My cornerstones of health maintenance disappeared when the acupuncturist, chiropractor and masseuse stopped accepting appointments. I doggedly kept up with my daily walks. My international travel plans were thrice thwarted.  I felt powerless in my frustration.

Ultimately, I let go and went with the new flow. I realized I had not missed using my car each day. I liked rolling out of bed for my Tai Chi class via Zoom, more than rushing off to practice. I wasn’t missing live theater as much as I imagined. The manicure, pedicure and hair trims weren’t as requisite as they seemed. Even weekly virtual potlucks were so much easier than visiting in-person.

Now that there is less need to isolate, I am grateful to return to the gym. I am relieved to return to monthly acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment and massage. I went to one live theater performance, but I’m not pining to see another soon. I visited one museum exhibit, but I’m in no rush to see another. I’ve dined indoors, but I can do without that risk. I’m enjoying mini road trips with take-out meals. When I hear hosts on virtual programs, pining to return to in-person formats, I think, No! Let’s all stay warm and dry at home.

I feel distressed that so much traffic has returned to the roadways. I like wearing my face mask. I’m still limiting my grocery shopping to once a week.

TATTOO—Journeys on My Mind is available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com or Apple Books.

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Buy it. Read it. Let me know what you think. —TMLL

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