I cried today. For the first time since this crisis started, I cried.
I woke up this morning to find my beloved sitting at her new “desk” (the kitchen table) all showered and made up and dressed for work. The 3-day pajama party had ended. She’s struggling to find normalcy in this epic shit storm. Her head is in her hands. Her young autistic son is stuck here at home and Nickie has to go to his school and pick up lesson plans. She worries that she’s not doing enough to keep Jason active and learning. She feels she is somehow failing him, that she’s a failure as a parent. She breaks down and sobs, completely overwhelmed by the weight of the moment. She pulls herself together and heads out, only to return empty handed. No one answering the door at the school. I console her as best I can, but hugs can only do so much.
It’s Thursday, just before 8am. I suit up to catch the last hour of “senior shopping”. The mask, the gloves, the hoodie pulled up over my baseball cap. Not my nice cap. An old skanky one. I get to the market and wipe down my cart. A young employee, a kid really, stands in front of the market looking shell shocked. He pulls out a rag, sprays some sort of clear liquid on it and wipes my cart down. Didn’t he just see me? No matter. I venture in. It’s not the same experience of just two days ago. People look forlorn. The smiles are more tired, the shoppers moving a little slower. Probably just a reflection of myself. I thank every clerk and shelf stocker for being there. I’m finding most of what I need, but still no paper products, no cleaning products, no eggs or ground beef. I don’t even want eggs or ground beef. We have all we need for the next week. And then it hits me. The novelty has worn off. I see my fellow shoppers, many old and frail, frightened and confused. This isn’t a fun little adventure anymore, this is literally life or death. How many of them won’t survive? And it’s still early days. This is only the beginning.
There is now a huge piece of plexiglass between the cashier and me. This massive sneeze guard wasn’t here two days ago. The clerk looks like he’s lost his will to live. I bag my own groceries and thank him. He grunts something in return.
I arrive home, with the groceries and all of the good advice I read in a doctor’s post that President Obama shared. I carefully remove my mask and cap and hoodie and put my keys aside. I take the tainted clothes to the laundry room and grab some Clorox wipes. I return to the front room and start removing all of the groceries from the bags, carefully wiping each package down. Nickie comes in to help and the absurdity of the moment, the REALITY of the moment, hits me. What if I did all the right things but in the wrong order? What if I brought one tiny, little nasty bug into our home? What if I’m getting my wife and children sick just by bringing home some frozen peas?
I looked at my partner and I just broke down and cried. Is this our lives now? This surreal sci-fi movie? Good Lord. Who could have imagined?
I know I’ll find the light and I’ll have many little victories today, reignite my spirit and regain my resolve. I know am more fortunate than so many, that my blessings are many, that my gratitude for what I have is greater than fear and sadness.
MUCH LOVE TO ALL! You’re going to be okay!