In this time of Covid-19, a female comedian sheltering-in-place in NYC admits that she has become infatuated and obsessed with Governor Cuomo, and eagerly awaits his daily news conferences. A tv co-host shares her virtual social life these days, recounting cocktail parties, movie-watching parties, and virtual celebrations of key life events. My friends recount how much they are enjoying Facetime and Zoom with their grandchildren and other loved ones. Even my canceled SAGE exercise classes have been reborn on Zoom much to my delight. Although I could have done without the experience of being Zoom bombed.
For those who have not heard of the practice of Zoom bombing, it’s when uninvited people decide to crash your Zoom meeting and download pornographic and/or racist images and/or make sexual or racist comments. In the case of my Yoga class, we got hit with all of the above during our closing meditation! Before you give up on Zoom, there are things the host can do to prevent this from happening.
I now know I live in a healthy community, as there was a run on brown rice early on and other whole grains and the more expensive organic beans. Within a couple of weeks, a tofu shortage happened at the Co-op Supermarket and Mom’s, or I just consistently pick the wrong day and time to shop. Daily I forage on-line hoping to find hand sanitizer that appears to actually be hand sanitizer. I wash my hands so much that even my dogs have noticed.
In my court, we have a variety of age groups and household formations. Up until we were ordered to stay in our homes, everyone had been social distancing yet still engaging with their neighbors from afar. We have all been checking in with each other. Neighbors with kids worked hard to keep their children occupied as the parents adjusted to everyone being home all the time. With Governor Hogan’s stay at home order, a lot of that has stopped. Playgrounds are closed which used to draw lots of children to a newer playground near our court. We still check on each other, but now it is a phone call or a text.
I have observed that a lot more yard work has been done. I know my yard will be in better shape than it has been in years. The court is looking spring-like with all the trees and bushes budding and the early bloomers blooming. It has been nice to have had time to watch squirrel wars in my yard, as young males fight over territory. My pregnant wren is back. She used to nest in my dryer vent as the old dryer vent cover was easily bypassed, but after HIP in 2019, the new dryer vent cover has proven impenetrable. (I was glad to see that she built a nest in one of my bushes.) I have been paying more attention to birds as there are more hanging around my yard than in past years, and they seem to be quickly adjusting to long periods of time without humans and dogs interrupting them And within my house life goes on as well. My rat snake laid eggs, and I am trying to incubate them as I do every year at this time – previous years were not successful so will likely not work this time.
I am a person with a lot of energy so I was concerned about how I would handle being home most of the time. It has been interesting to be forced to slow down. At first I had a lot of nervous energy which I put to good use, but soon I had run out of closets to clean. Then I started to slow down and experience the quiet and calm in my house. I had time to think and contemplate things. My dogs were more relaxed as I was sitting still more and home more. I learned the rhythm of their days – when they have their quiet times and when they were most likely to sleep. I learned how calming their sleeping presence is for me.
I couldn’t do all my usual volunteering as everything was shut down or closed to volunteers. While I love working with animals, I must admit that I enjoy not having so much of my time scheduled every day. I walk my dogs and chat with other dog owners from a distance. I rediscovered the enjoyment of talking to the occasional neighbor or friend as they pass by on the inner walkway (from a safe distance of course. There has been much that has been disconcerting as well. Time seems all distorted. Things that I think must have happened a couple of weeks ago actually happened a couple of days ago. I worry about those families who are food insecure or in danger of being evicted or are afraid to seek medical care. I find it hard to believe that our many doctors and nurses don’t have the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) they need. I worry that we don’t have enough testing capability to have a true picture of what we will face in the coming weeks. It is clear to me that we are in another before-and-after event in our country.
This continuing hiatus from the normalcy of life has been a challenge in some ways as I am sure it has been for everyone. I also know that this pandemic will continue to be the source of powerful lessons for me on so many levels.