Coronavirus Diary Part 8

Thankfully, I haven’t had any major drama in the last week. My sewing machine has helped me churn out one mask after another. It’s been nice to go a week without a crisis (besides, of course, the general coronavirus crisis).

In that regard, it’s been a week.

Around the country, people are protesting the president’s own stay at home orders. Governors in some states are lifting these orders just as cases begin to rise. And the president is encouraging his followers in certain states to liberate themselves from the rules he himself put into place, during a national emergency he declared. It’s a real head scratcher.

Being in NY, there is no way our state will be among those reopening any time soon. And that is both a stress and a comfort. I was talking to some twitter friends weeks ago and said this time makes me feel like Shrodinger’s Cat. My friend Chris perfectly summed up the Quarantine Feeling when he coined Shrodinger’s Hierarchy of Needs:

You both have and do not have access to food and shelter. You both have and do not have social emotional support. You both have and do not have a sense of personal fulfillment.

Can I just state for the record that I’m emotionally exhausted from living in interesting times? I read an article today about a guy who’s hunkering down through this pandemic in an isolated, windswept cottage in the Shetland Islands. I am so on board with this idea. If it was possible to fly internationally right now, I would love to jet off into the middle of nowhere. Preferably a place with no power, since it’s impossible to avoid the news, which gets nuttier by the minute.

At this point in the quarantine, I feel like a human made up mostly of cortisol, adrenaline, and coffee.

My masks are traveling around the country, so I have gone to the post office a few times now. It is so deeply disconcerting to see the big plexiglass walls that have been erected at the registers. At the post office, at Walmart, at the drive in at McDonalds. For take out now, you order on an app, pay on the app, slip in, grab your food, and get out.

We have compressed ourselves into slivers, making our lives and our impact as small as possible. This is how you defeat a virus, but it’s no way to live a life.

It’s hard right now. Hard for those whose lives are just slightly inconvenienced. Harder for those who’ve lost their jobs, and their steady, reliable incomes. Their food security. Their sense of purpose. And for those who never even had a tightrope to walk on, it’s been absolutely devastating. I worry about these people so much. So much is wrong with a society where so many people are in such poverty.

I hope that something good will come of it. I imagine the world could be like Japanese Kintsugi, where gold is filled inside cracks to make broken objects more beautiful.

We live in a very fractured, broken country right now. Perhaps after all of this is over, a shared experience will help people understand each other better.