Several weeks ago, or was it several lifetimes, Washington State became Ground Zero in the U.S. for the corona virus, now known as COVID-19. I’m thankful I haven’t caught the virus, since I’m in the age group that is suffering and sometimes dying from it.
I’m happily healthy but still aware that life as I know it has changed.
Early on, I received countless emails from government officials telling me to wash my hands. Now I’m receiving countless emails from arts organizations asking me to donate the ticket money I will be not be using due to the cancellations of their plays, exhibits, and other programs.
My critique group spent an hour and a half trying to get everyone set up with Skype last week and another hour telling each other, “I can’t hear you; you sound like you’re underwater. It’s so quiet. Is anyone there?”
Before downloading Skype I downloaded ZOOM, which is billed as the latest thing for virtual meetings. Then I learned that Skype was to be our preferred meeting tool, so I dumped ZOOM into the trash can. A few days later, a class I signed up for notified me we would not be meeting in person. We would be using ZOOM. So out of the trash can that will come. Here’s hoping it works better than Skype.
Then there’s the issue of toilet paper. We have enough, but I heard from a friend who went to Costco last week that the lines to buy toilet paper were out the door and the manager told her they didn’t even have any in their warehouse. Another friend emailed yesterday that Safeway also had had a toilet paper purchasing explosion, so I was happy to inform her that Home Depot was currently stocking the TP that Safeway was missing.
Movie theaters are still open, which would allow us to leave our homes for a few hours a week, except that the only new movies arriving in town should be rated R for Reject. Might as well stay home with Netflix.
Grocery stores are still open. We make a point of making a trip a day; it’s become our entertainment. My husband fears they’ll soon run out of brussels sprouts. I worry more about Trader Joe’s pesto sauce. Other friends have turned house cleaning into their daily amusement. I haven’t yet reached that level of desperation.
I told myself that with all the time I now had, I could finish writing my novel. And I think I will, but it would happen sooner if I didn’t spend half of each day looking at the latest news about the virus and its spread.
I know I have it good. I’m not worried about eviction, lack of health insurance, having to go to work, especially in a hospital, and childcare now that schools are closing. And those situations are all part of what are turning this into a new and different world.
Stay well, everyone. We will get through this, though we will all be changed to some extent. If nothing else, we’ll be talking about this for years to come and we’ll make sure we don’t ever run out of toilet paper.