MY PANDEMIC DIARY
6:57 – Wake up. Enjoy three seconds of ignorant bliss before remembering what’s happening in the world. Groan in abject dread, roll over and try to go back to sleep. Fail.
7:13 – Go downstairs to the Elliptical machine. Tell myself that one good thing that can come out of this crisis is getting in shape and losing weight. Spend the entire time on the elliptical thinking about the chocolate chip cookies I’m going to have for breakfast.
8:04 – Shower. Use a lot of soap. A LOT of soap.
8:28 – Get dressed. Have trouble deciding which pair of sweatpants to wear. My socks don’t match. Who cares?
8:32 – Say good morning to the first adult child who has moved back in. He answers with a grunt. The other two adult children who have moved back in aren’t up yet, even though their work days start at nine. Oh yeah, and my oldest son’s girlfriend is also with us. She’s great, but still, that’s a lot of twenty-somethings for one bathroom.
8:39 – Take the dogs for the first of their nineteen daily walks.
9:25 – Go down to the basement to my workspace. I exiled myself there for privacy, and also because the background décor has kind of a cool funky vibe, which will come in handy for all my zoom video conferences.
10:00 – The first zoom video conference of the day. “Hey, that’s a cool funky vibe you got there, Tom,” says one of my colleagues, which makes me feel good, since she, like almost everyone I work with, is approximately the same age as my kids.
10:42 – Scroll the news online, just long enough to be frightened by the state of the world, dismayed by the state of our country, depressed about the stock market, embarrassed that I’m dismayed about the stock market when there are far more important things to worry about, and awed by the courage and dedication of health care workers.
11:24 – Time for a snack! I go upstairs, past the room where one of my kids is on the phone trying to sell something to someone who really isn’t in the mood to buy anything right now, through another room, where another kid is on the phone trying to sell something to someone who really isn’t in the mood to buy anything right now, and into the kitchen, where my third kid is on the phone, telling his boss that people really aren’t in the mood to buy anything right now. I peer longingly into my office, where my son’s girlfriend is working away. She sees me and waves cheerfully. Why wouldn’t she be cheerful? She’s got the sweetest spot in the house.
11:26 – I don’t find a snack. The kids ate everything.
12:30 – Another dog walk, this time at Sherwood Island. It’s not crowded, but it’s not empty. It’s gorgeous. I thank the Gods of Westport that it’s still open, and keep reminding my wife, who is too damn friendly to other people, to make sure to respect the six-feet rule.
2:15 – Another zoom call. I start getting used to seeing people in little square boxes, and find myself fascinated with other people’s decors. I never would have suspected that quiet, unassuming Brad from accounts would have a giant photograph of a nude bowler in his living room, but there it is.
3:05 – Road trip. I work up the strength to go to the grocery store. I take a deep breath and put my gloves on. I walk in, saying to myself Youcandothisyoucandothisyoucandothisyoucandothis. The store is moderately crowded with people, but extremely empty of toilet paper.
3:45 – Wash my hands, using a lot of soap. A LOT of soap.
3:55 — Time to visit Mom. She’s eighty, but looks sixty. I ask her if she needs anything, she says no. She goes to the market every day. I tell her that’s probably not wise at this point. She says, “I enjoy it, I’m very careful, I wear gloves, I bring Purell. I’m fine.” I decide the same thing I’ve decided since I was ten years old – arguing with my mother is pointless.
4:45 – Time for the last Zoom conference of the day. More accolades for my cool, funky vibe. I work in the theater business, and my colleagues and I discuss the perilous state of our industry. Everything is locked down, and will be for the foreseeable future. There are no shows. There are no ticket sales. There’s no income. Everyone is hurting, badly. It feels slightly uncouth to complain about it when there are so many people in the world suffering way worse than we are, but we do it anyway.
5:22 – Time for another dog walk, the ninth of the day. The dogs look up at me like, Are you serious right now? The streets are filled with walkers, joggers, and bikers, and we all wave and smile. It occurs to me that people are much more friendly to each other during a pandemic.
8:15 – Dinner. Everyone in the house will take a turn cooking. Tonight it’s my middle son’s turn. He makes one thing, but he makes it very well. He also cranks the music to 11 while he cooks. We plan on taking our dinners very seriously during this crisis. It’s the one time of day when we all come together; when we try to stop worrying for an hour; and when we remember how truly lucky we are that we have what we have – a roof over our heads, enough food to eat, and a family that enjoys each other’s company. We even laugh a little.
9:10 – We spend twenty minutes scrolling Netflix to try and find something we all want to watch. We fail.
10:15 – My wife and I call my wife’s sister, who’s a nurse at Norwalk Hospital. She’s been working almost every day, and is exhausted. We tell her she’s our hero. We tell her all her colleagues are our heroes too. We tell her we love her and we tell her to stay safe, and she promises she will. We hang up and we worry.
11:30 – Time for bed. I take a very mild sleeping aid. So sue me.
DAY TWO UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Pretty much exactly the same thing as Day One.