The irrational thought I keep having is that I wish there was a way to know who is going to experience a mild version of the virus so those people could just get it, then self-quarantine during the contagion period before rejoining the world as helpful immune worker bees who can assist everyone else without hogging the PPE. I suspect this stems less from an altruistic place and more from a cowardly desire to be done with this hiding-from-the-enemy phase that feels a bit like a horror movie where the victim freezes in place and hopes whatever sinister force is out there just passes them by.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is how there are all these ethical micro-decisions we are having to make — go to the grocery store or get groceries delivered? Go on a sanity-saving hike where there are other people but they are distanced or don’t? Wear a goofy makeshift mask that makes you look like Nicolas Cage in Raising Arizona (“Son, you got a panty on your head”) or just try and hold your breath whenever you briefly pass someone in the aisle? — and there aren’t really any rules, or there are but they keep changing, or they’re really less rules but more, like, opinions, man, and everyone seems to have very strong opinions right now but I don’t so I feel swayed one way then another and it feels like there’s a growing sense of infighting now that the real gut-punch emergency sense is waning and god, I am so tired of everyone disagreeing on EVERYTHING, but doesn’t it seem like we are just in for it, bigtime?

How on earth is anyone going to agree on when we should re-open things, for instance? As badly as we all want to get back to some semblance of normal life, at what point will it feel like that is, inarguably, the right thing to do?

Anyway. I will switch to a lighter note: online school seems to be going well, three days in. The kids stay super busy, at any rate, and while they complain endlessly about the boringness of the required video conferencing calls (welcome to your future, children!) they both admit they like seeing their friends and classmates.

Also, while the bickering is, as always, intense and constant, they really do seem to be getting along pretty well. The four of us are turning out to be pretty good at this hunker-down-together thing. Among all the worry and boredom and anxiety of these days there are so many bright spots, a lot of laughter and shared moments I hope I remember forever. In some ways this all feels like a bizarre gift that can alternately feel lovely or grueling or enlightening or terrible, depending on how you hold it.


10 Responses to “Light and dark, dark and light”

  1. PETE J HAIDINYAK on April 8th, 2020 9:30 am

    We should reopen when someone with medical knowledge says so. Not some orange ape. I don’t want the lives of people in this country dependent on someone who’s only interest is himself and what is good for him and his businesses. The senator from Wisconsin said we should infect everyone and just eat the 3.5% loss of life. That’s about 12 million people, close to what the Nazi’s sent to the gas chambers.

  2. Kim on April 8th, 2020 12:26 pm

    Thank you so much for the Raising Arizona reference. Whenever I need to cheer myself up all I need to think about is Holly Hunter’s delivery of “I LOVE HIM! I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!” – damn, I do believe tonight would be a good night for some Coen Brothers.

    I work for the University of South Carolina & found out Monday campus will be closed at least until August, maybe longer. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it yet. I go back and forth between feeling so stressed about work to guilty for all of the people out of work, and…it’s just a spiral of doom that I have to try to contain every day. And I’ve GOT to stop self-medicating with Baskin Robbins chocolate chip.

  3. Shawna on April 8th, 2020 12:53 pm

    I’ve seen the rumblings about reopening in the States but everything up here is progressively clamping down more and more, so I can’t help but wonder if Canada will have to close our border with the US at some point this year to keep out infections that are sure to surge down there if this happens.

  4. Pam on April 8th, 2020 5:51 pm

    Just want to say thanks for sharing. You always put into words exactly what I’m thinking or experiencing. We are good at being together like this as a family, but the not knowing is killing us, each in a different way.

    Anyway, just please keep posting. Your words are a bright spot.

  5. Rachel on April 9th, 2020 6:17 am

    I agree with Pam! You perfectly articulated some of my thoughts.

    My irrational thought, I wish I would get it, (but not spread it to my family) and then I would be able to go out and help people and be immune.

    The other thing that is bothering me is the STRONG opinions that people have and how that is playing out in our interpersonal relationships. Like I see someone post on social media that they just had to see a friend and they post a picture of them in the driveway with a winky note about “maintaining social distance’ but they are totally two feet from each other, and it feels me with RAGE. And of course, I don’t comment, but other people do and we are totally not giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Or someone posts a picture of someone with their baby at the grocery store and all the commenters tear this stranger to shreds for being such a ‘shit mom’ for exposing their child to a DEADLY VIRUS. It’s exhausting and we are all doing our best in this unprecedented situation and no one knows how to do it, but god forbid your mask isn’t made of the right material.

  6. Suzanne on April 9th, 2020 2:44 pm

    The ethical micro-decisions are making me so anxious. It feels like there is NO GOOD CHOICE about anything. And so I… alternate decisions. Today I will go to the store. Next time I will get curbside “delivery.” Next time I will order home delivery. Balances out the “bad” maybe? But it also feels like I am never making a good decision, and am only choosing what feels Least Terrible in the moment. ARRRRGH.

  7. Tracy Price on April 9th, 2020 6:01 pm

    I’m feeling incredibly lucky at the moment. I’m working reduced hours – but I still have a job. We’re in lockdown – but we still get to leave the house for groceries/a walk, and today is a beautiful, sunny day. Supermarkets are out of flour/yeast but still have hot cross buns, toilet paper and chocolate – yay for Easter! We have Jacinda leading the country and she is AWESOME in a crisis. Also: she has declared the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy to be essential workers much to the relief of children across the country. We also have a culture that has a high level of trust in our government while still being mostly cynical of politicians (I know, contradictory, right?). Also our experts are pretty much on the same page in terms of advice and are also being open that we are in a changing situation and the advice will change as additional information comes to light. Siouxsie Wiles is a microbiologist who’s become a bit of a household name for explaining the complex issues in easy to absorb ways, here’s her take on face masks:
    I love your blogs, been following for about 10 years or so, your writing is a delight.

  8. anon on April 9th, 2020 9:01 pm

    The last three paragraphs in this article made me think of what you started this post off by saying…and yay! It seems that may be somewhat possible!

    Also, Tracy Price, I love the name Siouxsie!

  9. Olonoh on April 10th, 2020 8:18 am

    This whole thing is wonderful, and that last sentence is just spot on. I really enjoy your writing.

  10. Deb on April 14th, 2020 12:06 pm

    ‘depending on how you hold it’…so true.

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