Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Chapter One

Busy Black Woman's Quarantine Log, Stardate 042020 (doesn't matter which day) and we're in week #5 of social distancing due to the crisis currently known as COVID-19. I've been in three Zoom chat rooms today, two virtual dance parties, and have more laminating to do before falling asleep in my clothes again.

I thought that was a much better opening than what I initially wrote last week when I started this piece, which was this--->  By now, I figure that every blogger has written a version of this subject. And I figure I might as well add mine to the atmosphere since there are plenty of folks out there who are bored and actually care if I have gone bonkers yet...not yet. But the Kid is asleep and I just had a drink.

I don't know what day of the week it is. I'm joking, but seriously, does it matter? Unless it is Sunday, and then it only matters until the Livestream of Bedside Baptist is over and I turn right back into the un-showered pumpkin life I've been living.

The time of day doesn't matter much anymore either, unless it is 6:45am when I need to be awake to administer a daily prayer call. Administer is the official way of saying it is my job to remind the callers to mute their phones. That happens to be very important because some people seem to believe those instructions don't apply to them personally (trust me, we can hear your toilet flush). But bless them. Afterwards I get to decide if I will go back to sleep or scroll through my phone. Although that is typically a 50/50 split, I have determined that sleep is a better option. Y'all aren't saying anything important between 7 and 9am. Twitter has devolved into a middle school bathroom wall, a first wives club support group, or a Klan rally.

And I should clarify what I meant by that--time of day is important, but now that I am no longer in a constant rush to get anywhere I am always on time! Yes, you read that right. Unless I am experiencing some technical glitches (which are common now that everybody is on Blue Ivy's internet), but I haven't been late for church or the Kid's daily community meetings, which are the only two 'places' I have to be. The only thing I have to worry about is whether I am wearing the same shirt for more than two days in a row.

I have been spending more time in my kitchen, and after a few days I was reminded why I hate being in there--it's a damn broom closet. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook and this kitchen has been too small for 18 years. However, it seems a lot smaller now that my Kid likes to spend time in there with our Alexa Echo, a Christmas gift that I finally decided to connect last month. By the way, Alexa is better described as a smart-ass speaker. Instead of complying with my commands, she opts to present me with similar stuff I can buy from Amazon.

Homeschooling. Apparently, my Pre-K 4 (now five year old) is only expected to do an hour of work each day. But I am supposed to put in up to eight hours or more of prep work. And maybe, if she feels like doing anything other than littering my living room with thousands of little toys, she'll put in a good ten minutes before she loses interest or gets distracted. And then I will get pissed because I spent the better part of the day before cutting and pasting and laminating this stuff, and I turn into Mommy Dearest. And then the Over-Protective Indulgent Pushover Papi comes to her rescue. And then they retreat to the tiny ass kitchen to bake cookies and yell at Alexa.

Wash, rinse, and repeat. So let's not even discuss laundry.

Let's see what I am shopping. Here is where I have a moral dilemma. Do I need to buy candles and hair care products? No, but I want these small business owners to make it. Same with restaurant take-out. Did I need to have that over-priced shrimp po' boy with truffle fries, those exotic gourmet tacos, or that expensive box of fried chicken from the re-branded French cafe when we have food at home? Yes, because those outings are essential to my sanity. I need to leave the house every few days to get away from little Miss Free-Range Montessori and her OPIP Papi. What about the delivery workers? Well, I don't feel right about having someone expose themselves to deliver something to my house that I can get myself. But isn't that also true about the cooks at the restaurants, the cashiers at the grocery store, and the mail carriers? Shouldn't I be donating that money to a food or diaper bank instead? Do you see why I am so stressed out about everything? That's why I need my expensive hand-poured candles!

And liquor. During this crisis, I am grateful for the blessing of wine clubs and my local Costco where I can buy liquor in bulk. I am thankful that my city declared liquor stores to be essential. Between homeschooling, Alexa, laminating, unwashed laundry, contemplating the meaning of life, and these daily press briefings, I got plenty of reasons to drink.

Since I have had time to ponder the meaning of life, I can tell you that coronavirus has intensified my every insecurity. I am a brooding, moody, emotionally walled up bad Mommy who didn't organize a Zoom birthday party for her full-moon stir crazy daughter. Unlike the rest of the creative community who can offer their captive audiences some form of entertainment, all I have to offer is over-thought snark. I wish I had better inter-personal relationship skills. I'm 46 years old and still socially awkward AF in the midst of social distancing. I don't know which is worse, grief or depression. I could really use a hug. And some fries.

Yet, I can tell you that I don't feel so bad about not finishing my 2020 vision board. I still intend to post indexes for all of those music playlists that I have been working on, even if it takes me until June July to catch up. I've decided to wait until my book gets published to tell several people what I really think about them (yeah, I know, I have to find time to write it). 

However, here are a few other observations to put things into perspective: in the midst of a private tantrum over some petty slight, it dawned on me that I would rather have someone to be mad at for their bad habits and histrionic behavior than not. Every day I read heartbreaking stories of sudden loss: health care providers serving on the front lines, elderly residents of nursing facilities, and others who just happened to get infected. Like this woman whose viral Facebook post highlighted the cruel and random irony of this pandemic--she got sick and died two weeks later. Or this church leader who defied the social distancing guidelines and also died shortly thereafter. This fool participated in a #CoronaChallenge and went around licking toilets (no word on his current condition). This woman lost her husband and son within days of each other, and the photos of this elderly couple holding hands before they both died have gone viral. None of these people's lives should be dismissed as expendable casualties so that the rest of us can return to 'normal' life. So eff this dude, these protestors, their Troll King, and Laura Ingraham too.

This has been hard on everyone. I don't presume to know just how much of a challenge this disruption has been for anyone specifically, and I won't try to guilt-shame those whose situations appear to look rosier on the surface. I won't rain on anyone's parade. Just do your best--I won't talk about your gray roots if you don't talk about my yoga pants. Stay inside, wash your hands, and let's survive this.

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