Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.
Sundays are turning out to be the hardest days of the week. The others run together now. I do nothing but what I have to and what I have the energy for, but expectations still exist on Sundays, expectations I can’t meet. I got up early enough, and I made an effort to take care of myself first. I’ve showered, dressed, and eaten, that’s more than I do most days now already, but what else should there be to the day? When Mondays are no longer Mondays, it’s hard for Sundays to feel much like Sundays should. Still, somehow, the chores and weekly preparations help, and copious amounts of coffee and a friendly chat will get me through.
So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining outside, but the air is still chilly. It’s not quite far enough into the spring to prompt the switch to cold brew so I’ve got the usual, light roast grounds (packed with a little extra caffeine kick) stepping in the French press and frothy sweet oat milk to smooth it out. Let’s talk about last week.
“Coffee meant something to people. Most found their lives were miserable without it. Coffee was a lot like love that way.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that every week this month has been harder than the last, and this past week was no different.
The entire state of Colorado is now under a stay-at-home order. Not much has changed for my wife and I since we’ve been sheltering in place since the schools closed for an “extended Spring break” weeks ago. This week we had to go out three times, and each time it was healthcare-related. I had to be seen for severe pain. (Don’t worry, I’m okay now.) I had to go to the clinic for my regular infusion, and I had to head to the pharmacy to pick up medication.
Each time I took every precaution but to be honest it terrified me to be in what, to my mind, is the most likely place to pick up the virus. Thankfully, I should not have to go out again for anything healthcare-related for another month at least!
Grocery shopping continues to be a source of anxiety. We’re no longer going on the weekends and instead are planning on trying to get what we need throughout the week. We’ve, thankfully, got enough toilet paper to get us through the coming week, but food stores are always only planned for a week out. I’m constantly worried we won’t be able to get what we need due to other’s panic buying or that the supply chain will collapse and there will be nothing for anyone to buy.
I’m a little less worried about my loved ones. More of them have been given the opportunity to work from home this past week, and some of those that have found themselves temporarily unemployed have been able to find work. They are all still feeling well too, but knowing that symptoms can take anywhere from 2 to 14 days to show after exposure means I’m holding my breath, playing the waiting game, and hoping that we all stay well.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that figuring out how to spend my days, how to fend off boredom, restlessness, and irritability have become foremost in my mind.
I’m happy and thankful to have my wife and my pets here with me. I think if I had to isolate on my own, I would be a lot looser with the guidelines. I wouldn’t be able to help myself from going out, from seeing family, from the urge to be near people. I’m glad to have a home that is warm and loving, but the place isn’t very big and there are moments when the walls close in and suddenly we are on top of each other. It’s helped to make use of other rooms. It helps to wear headphones and escape. It helps to make sure the time we are together is quality time and not just time spent next to one another, but in wholly different worlds.
I’m surprised to find that the longer this goes on, the more I miss not just my close friends but even acquaintances and strangers. Humans truly are social creatures and even those like me who consider themselves to be on the introverted side of the spectrum need to feel the presence and sense of peace and protection that comes from being around large groups of people. I miss work. I miss my favorite stores. I miss movie theaters and restaurants not for the places themselves but for other people frequenting those places.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that from day to day I am slowly developing a new routine, but it has been hard not to be dictated by cravings and mood swings. I’m had to go back to setting alarms to make sure I not only wake up early enough to make use of the day but to go to bed early enough that my circadian rhythm won’t receive too much of a shock whenever the world does return to normalcy and I return to work.
Setting reminders to do things like eat or take medication helps too. It has helped not to wear pajamas all day, and to spend an hour or more unplugged and cleaning or completing projects. I’ve been taking care of my houseplants, re-potting, diving, propagating, and fertilizing them all in turn. They are all loving the attention and I’m seeing fresh growth all throughout the house. I’ve been reading a lot too. A few weeks ago the end of It by Stephen King felt impossibly far away, but today I have only a little over 150 pages left!
I’m slowly making my way through all seven seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and re-watching some of my favorite movies to keep from obsessing over the news all day. For now, I’m allowing myself a quick catch up in the morning and I watch New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press conference, which I have found infinitely more informative and reassuring than anything the President has to say. In the evening I check in with our local news and hear any updates from our own Governor Jared Polis, who I think is doing a wonderful job leading our state.
I’ve decided that checking any other outlets or reading any other speculative pieces only adds to my feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and fear. I don’t need opinions or maybes right now. I want facts. I want a plan. I want to know what is being done and what I should be doing only. If you are feeling the same, I suggest you adopt a media diet like mine. It may be bland, but at least it’s nutrient dense.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that by the next time that we chat it will be a whole new month. Time is passing fast now and faster the longer we live in this isolation. It’s comforting, knowing that, come what may, we are moving quickly toward some kind of end. It’s terrifying too, for the same reason.
This morning Cuomo said that everyone is afraid, even those who must man the front lines and risk their lives to care for the sick and keep society intact. He meant to reassure us all that the way we feel is normal. He meant to make us feel a little less alone. We may be separated now but this worry, this fear, and this end, whatever it looks like, unites and connects us all.
I’ve been thinking, or hoping rather, that all this disruption, and fear, and death won’t be in vain. I’ve been thinking about all that has changed and all that could stay “changed”, if we wanted it to. I hope that when we finally begin to see the light at the end of this tunnel and are allowed again to return to each other, we stay as united as we are now that we have to be so isolated. I hope we remember not just what is important, but who. I hope we rethink everything now that the flaws in our institutions and economics have been laid so bare.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that doing nothing turns out to be the most exhausting activity of all. I’ve been allowing myself one short nap a day, should I need it, and it seems I always end up needing it after all.
I hope you had a good week. I hope social distancing hasn’t been too hard. I hope you have the food and necessities that you need and that you and your loved ones are well. I hope you know I’m here for you, and if you are one of the many deemed essential and have been asked to risk your own health for us all, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Until next time.
If you’re looking for this week’s song, from now on I’ll be adding them under the “music” tag rather than in the Weekend Coffee Shares.