As we finish week three and start week four of staying at home, I desperately need the sun to come out so that I can have my balcony available and so that my walks with the dogs are a pleasure and not a slog through a Viking Hell deepfreeze.
And then, I need a plan and routine for the next four weeks. That’s today’s task—to draw up routines, rhythms, and schedules.
I probably won’t follow them. But I like knowing that they’re there, and the very act of preparing them soothes me.
My to-do-list right now is substantial. I have outstanding marking and learning. Also, so much copy-editing, I can’t even. A set of galleys that should have been proofed yesterday. Also, taxes—thank you for the extension, Revenue Canada, but now I’m worried I’m going to do my taxes never—don’t you understand? I’m a freelance writer, I need deadlines!
And I also need the sun. I already said that.
And my alone time on the balcony.
I the evening, when the children are fed and I feel my tasks are in some kind of state of adequately pushed forward (or, I’ve accepted I will not get to them not today, I don’t want to), I begin the Covid19 Quarantine check-in on friends. I send some texts; as I do this, texts from others come in.
Some of my friends and loves don’t participate in this dance of connection and reassurance. They neither reinitiate nor respond. I check the news to make sure a 36-year-old mother of two is not among the dead. Nope, not this week. Good. I let them be.
You think I’m joking and I am, a little. But, after all, that is the purpose of our boring as all fuck texts. “I’m still here and me and mine are fine. You and yours?” “We’re here too.” We don’t use those precise words. “How are you holding up?” is probably my phrase of choice, although sometimes, I’ll just send, “Checking in…” or “Oooof.”
Sometimes, worded out, I send a link to a Youtube video, get a meme in return.
One of my loves has chosen to interpret self-isolation as a totally inward time—even by my standards—and there are no texts at all. Coping strategy, depression, or a self-created retreat in the middle of global chaos? Hard to know. Uncertainty makes all of us a little irrational. I try not to feel rejected—but, I do.
Another friend feels rejected because I’m unplugged from Facebook. “I miss your posts! I miss chatting!” she writes. I point out we still can. Privately. But we never have before—and, she doesn’t miss me enough to do that. Yet. She also feels rejected.
It’s all right. Weird times.
We are none of us rational.
Irrational, I extend my stay in bed mostly because there is no one in the room with me.
Ponder silence. Isolation. Loneliness. Neither alone nor lonely, I am starting to feel disconnected. I need to hold your hand and hear her voice and see their face—and not as an image on my laptop screen.
I think—if I had spent three, four weeks—months—away from you in Cuba—I wouldn’t miss you. Not like this.
I yawn. Stretch.
Begin Week 4 by dragging myself out of bed.
Um. In another 15 minutes or so…
God, I need the sun to come out…