I’ve already forgotten what it was really like, back when Covid-19 seemed like a China thing, then seemed like a germaphobe thing, then suddenly became a holy shit this is really happening thing. I know at the beginning the news was coming in with such spooky rapidity it felt like actual sea changes were taking place every hour or so, I was driven to write here more often just to feel more ruddered to the now.

Now we’re in this long quiet held breath of a moment that’s been stretching on and on, which initially felt really scary — like standing on an emptied beach waiting for the approaching tsunami — but currently mostly feels … boringly anxious? Anxiously boring?

(I’m speaking for myself, to be clear. I know there are probably a lot of people who would really prefer to be occasionally bored.)

Our school district has been scrambling to get online learning in place and that is supposedly starting up next Monday (April 6). I’ll be interested to see if the kids complain more or less about having real assignments from their actual teachers instead of whatever vaguely educational nonsense I’ve been coming up with to keep them busy.

Keeping them on a schedule has been pretty important, not only so the adults can work but because Dylan in particular needs some structure to his day or things go sideways. The same is true for me, actually — so far, quarantine weekends have been some of the hardest times.

I did get out of the house during a break in the rain yesterday and went on a hike on a local hill, which felt remarkably normalizing until I got to the top and saw that the couple of scattered benches there are now covered in warning tape and signs. Truly surreal, I suppose every potential contamination point must be considered but a bench out in the middle of nature at the end of a grueling-ass trail?

That particular change felt weird and sad, but I’ve been trying to change my perspective on everything we’re all currently doing to limit our exposure to one another. It’s so difficult — even us hardcore introverts are missing our people terribly — but it’s so generous. It’s such a strange but caring thing we are all in the midst of.


SCHOOLS LIKELY CLOSED FOR REST OF YEAR, trumpeted the headline on our local paper this morning, right under OFFICIALS SAY WORST IS YET TO COME.

Well. At least it isn’t March anymore, so we’ve all got that going for us.

Here in Oregon we have an executive order to stay home whenever possible (“Stay Home, Save Lives”) along with some specific restrictions which have increased as the days go by: first it was gatherings of no more than 250, then 25 or more, etc. Now it’s all gatherings of any kind unless a six-foot distance between people can be maintained. Restaurants and bars were limited to takeout and delivery right away, then all “non-essential” businesses were closed (amusingly, cannabis stores are apparently considered essential). Playgrounds were open for a while, but are now closed and/or covered in warning tape. Campgrounds are closed as well as state parks, along with a ton of hiking trails and day use areas.

The only place I’ve been recently is the grocery store, which has become both an exotic destination (“Ooh, something to look at other than my living room!”) and a big fat bummer. Tape on the floor to keep carts apart, masks everywhere, people giving each other suspicious looks and crossing aisles to increase distance. A forever-empty shelf where toilet paper and paper towels once were.

It’s all a blur at this point but I think the day our family officially began some form of quarantine was March 15. That was back in the disbelief stage, when I couldn’t get my head around the fact that four days beforehand my friend and I had still been dithering about whether to cancel our weekend trip to San Francisco and sending each other menus from restaurants we wanted to try. We were so close to not canceling, which of course seems crazy in retrospect but it just felt like such an unlikely risk at the time — which was right before things started to change so insanely quickly on what seemed like an hour-by-hour basis.

So I guess we’ve been in lockdown for about two and a half weeks now, which is at least marginally helpful for me to focus on: sure, it feels like it’s been ten thousand years, but it hasn’t. This all sucks a whole lot, but it’s neither negotiable or impossible. We’ve been doing it, we’ll keep doing it, and it won’t always be like this.


Next Page →