It’s been a ton of time since my last post and if I don’t jot down some of the crazy things that have changed the world in the past two months as the COVID-19 virus has crushed the economy and stripped the streets of Manhattan, Rome, Paris and caused the Venice canals to run clean I’d be one pretty lame blogger. While the government plays ping-pong with the stock market today with suspicious eyes on each side of a slush-fund for the right or a socialist welfare state for the left, there are too many people dying, too many people sick, too many losing paychecks and, frighteningly, far too many people who think it’s not a big deal.
But here’s my narrow experience so far–the first day of Michigan’s “stay at home” from Governor Whitmer.
I haven’t had my calendar this empty since 10th grade, 40 short years ago. In just a matter of three days I’d had shows, film festivals, school outings and bar nights turn into the memories that are as weird as seeing kids rolling around the back of a 1970’s station wagon without a car seat. My Facebook “1 year ago today” showed me actually in a germ-cesspool to see Hamilton; I stared in disbelief that I could actually be sitting with my knees just 8 inches from someone’s shoulder. Last week at work, the day before we decided to all work from home, someone actually offered to shake my hand–without gloves! And in the brief spell we remained together that afternoon we were sure to speak downwind from one another, if that’s possible in a modern HVA-C environment.
We discovered Zoom, both at work for miraculous getting our teachers online in just 24 hours, and getting our extended family together from seven states. I also discovered the fatigue that comes with trying to make eye contact with a Brady Bunch-on-steroids collage of my family’s faces–and important tips such as not picking one’s nose unless one moves off-camera, for this TV show can laugh back at you. It’s been amazing to touch base with Lucia, our 1984 exchange student from Italy as she discusses the need to have proper papers to travel outside of the backyard.
Not sure how long this is going to last. But we haven’t had this many consecutive family dinners since we were parents of two kids under kindergarten. We’re watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with buckets of popcorn and I’ve even binge-watched three Carole Lombard films–a star I’d never seen, but got reminded of her talent in a YouTube Dick Cavett interview with a grumpy (perhaps not quite sober) Lucille Ball as she discussed the most talented, funny and sexy actress she ever knew. This Dick Cavett show was my nineteenth clip, also a result of my sequester-ization.
I’ve also been learning the challenges of working from home–it’s perhaps too easy to check one’s work email and handle things as they come up–until suddenly it’s been an 11-hour workday and the dog has peed on the floor.
Perhaps the most shocking thing so far has been how we’ve found time to read, go for long walks with the surprised dog, organize shelves and not spend money at drive-thrus.
Stay well everyone!