Caught In A Landslide

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This blog, about writing and publishing, has been on pause. Kind of like our world has been. For the past couple of months I haven’t written anything beyond lists – daily, weekly, shopping, chores. I’ve written cards, emails and texts. Instead of actual writing I have made two meals a day, baked, made masks, bought things on Amazon and with Instacart, and cleaned every closet, drawer and cabinet in the house. I walk my dog at least three times a day.

This blog is going to take a turn. Kind of like our world did. This is my Corona Diary.

How it began for me…

Thursday night, March twelve. Husband and I were at odds over a planned trip I had to go to Tampa in a week. I was to petsit my niece’s dogs while she and her family went on a cruise, booked a year ago. Cruise ship passengers, infected with COVID-19, were all over the news.

“There’s no way you’re going,” Husband said.

“I think my niece will probably cancel but at this point, I can’t bail,” I said. “She paid for my ticket.”

“So you would endanger, not just you, but me?”

A huge fight ensued. Angry words were said, tears were shed, doors were slammed.

Turned out to be something of a blessing, as we were about to go into a lock down together. By that following morning my niece had cancelled her trip. Husband and I were going to have to hunker down. Together. We talked, got honest, got real and cleared the air.

Just in the nick of time.

I kind of feel like I was designed for this. I can be a recluse. I keep myself busy. I’m never bored and never lonely. I mean, I miss doing things that require going out and being around people, but I’m also fine with this.

I haven’t been writing fiction but I do observe things and wonder things and have all kinds of thoughts, which I have been noting.

At the beginning we thought older folks, like me, and those with existing, compromising conditions were the ones most at risk. When I read that a middle grade teacher overheard some students referring to the virus as the “Boomer Remover,” I thought it was funny. But also, sadly, true. Of course now we know better. Anyone can be in danger.

I know it wasn’t just me who felt drawn to watching Outbreak, Contagion and The Stand. I don’t know what I was feeling those first few weeks. Unsettled. Unnerved. And yet determined to be happy and grateful.

After years of proudly stating that I don’t read or watch news, I find myself glued to it. The Shit Show, aka the daily briefing, became my soap opera with more outrageous antics from the cast every day. Scary and unsettling and would be hilarious if it weren’t so real.

There is so much content on television to catch up on, but I spent the first week or so rewatching Lost for the zillionth time and sewing masks. There’s time enough to watch season three of Ozark. You can’t pay me enough to watch Tiger King.

March 17th or so. It’s an overcast, dreary day here in Vista, CA. I was just walking Bug. A nearby neighbor’s trees are devoid of leaves. A crow sits alone on one stark branch, cawing. Very Stephen King-like. A scene from The Stand.

I have the itchiest face. If not touching my face is the key to not getting the virus, I’m doomed.

Early April, walking Bug. It’s been raining hard for a couple of days and the ditch along my street has turned into a canal. There’s a little boy at the end of the road, playing along the side of the ditch. No adults around. The kid is maybe six. I watch him, because he’s close to that water. I don’t want him to see me and Bug. I don’t want to engage him, but I’m keeping an eye on him and wondering where the parents are. I’m convinced the water is not deep and he doesn’t seem to be getting too close, so I start to sneak away.

He spots us, follows. “Hey, hey.” I let him catch up to us. Bug is dying for some attention from someone other than me. I let the kid pet Bug. This is just before I stop allowing anyone to touch my dog. So I say, “Do you live in that house?” He points up another driveway. He’s bummed because softball practice has been cancelled. I ask if he’s still having to go to school. He nods. I say sorry. Then he says, “Three kids at my school have the corona virus.”

I yank on Bug’s leash and back up quickly. Okay, I say, time for us to go. Now he’s following us up the street. When I tell him he should go back to his house, he says he can go up the street. Brat. I can hear his footsteps following us. Creepy brat. Finally he heads back.

Thinking about it later, I realize it’s unlikely three kids got the virus and it wasn’t reported. It’s probably not true. Still, one of those surreal moments.

Goodbye for now. I hope you all stay safe and healthy. Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.

A smile and a wave counts as interaction these days. Have fun hunkering down. Let the stress go, let the fear go, just be sensible. See you next time.

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