When my therapist asks how I am feeling and I say, “Tired,” he says: “That’s not a feeling. Glad sad mad scared. Those are feelings.”
Sometimes I feel happy, sometimes I feel sad, but mostly now I just feel helpless.
There are a few people that mostly just make me mad, but this isn’t about that. This is about having my life turned upside down, leaving me feeling helpless, powerless, and yes, scared.
Someone Danusia and I both knew succumbed to the virus last week, it finally touched home. It wasn’t some faceless person from the Bronx or Queens or Wuhan China, it was a guy we both knew and seemed pretty healthy when we saw him not even six weeks ago and now he’s gone. And he wasn’t more than 4 years older than me. That’s scary.
We started wearing gloves and masks two weeks ago. We were lucky that because of my some time work I had a bunch of unused N-95 masks, and nitrile gloves. I’ve been stripping paint off our kitchen cabinets in preparation to move to another apartment upstairs so I knew where to find the masks and gloves.
We also have tons of 70% plus alcohol since Danusia is in the habit of spraying everything with it as a matter of course. Plus Purell or reasonable facsimile hand sanitizer, and toilet paper, of course. I had come home with a pack of 24 rolls of Scott bathroom tissue just before the crisis, or before the Corona or Covid 19, take your pick, forever now to be known as the new B.C.
Danusia came home with 3 or 4 rolls of TP every time she went out after the big mad panic buying rush.
“People are storming the big stores but they don’t know about the discount stores on Broadway!” She proudly declared to me as she dumped her booty on the dining room floor. She’s so cute.
Yesterday she proudly declared that we still have 19 rolls. “And one roll lasts us one week!” She added. Yes, she wrote down the start date of the last roll of Marcal.
TMI, yes, I know. But we need a little humor in times of fear and desperation.
Two weeks ago after the first mad dash to empty the shelves Danusia asked if we might run out of food.
This is a land of plenty, with very good supply lines, so I doubted it. But to be prudent I headed down to Trader Joe’s the next day, with my mask and gloves.
A little about the mask and gloves. Before all this (B.C.) I always felt a little resentful when I saw people wearing surgical masks in the street. To me it was an indication of either a person afraid of the outside world or someone that thinks his or her shit doesn’t stink. So I had a little trepidation when I showed up to meet some friends wearing a mask and gloves.
But I got over that real quick watching the Six O’clock news.
That first trip to T.J.s was a real eye opener, the store was jam packed with folks throwing everything but the kitchen sink into their carts. I figured I would get some cured meat that would last but it was all gone, save for one package of Brooklyn bangers. I passed on those.
I did stock up on peanut butter, one cannot live without a supply of salted peanut butter. Sardines, cheese, and fresh produce.
So we have plenty of food, and the stores have restocked and I’m not worried, and now I only need to go out for fresh produce.
It was cool getting on an almost empty subway last week, seeing the streets devoid of people and once Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods started making people line up their respective stores were pleasingly easy to navigate, though Whole foods still has those annoying Amazon shoppers who never heard of half of the stuff they are being asked to put in their big brown bags.
“Is this Bok Choy?” One fellow asked me in Whole Foods yesterday.
“Yes. Yes it is.” I replied in my best deadpan voice.
“”Thank you,” he said, not even noticing my droll delivery.
The first time I stood in a socially distanced line was ten days ago at Trader Joe’s on 21st street. I waited 10 minutes to get in, and inside it was pretty empty there was no line at the registers. Yesterday was my first line at Whole Foods (I went later than usual) and everyone kept their distance politely.
Last week I realized that having my personal protective equipment isn’t enough as I watched the cashier at Trader Joe’s pack my stuff. So now I have a routine when I get home, I spray everything with alcohol. I’m grateful to the U.S. Army for teaching me decontamination procedures.
First, I spray my gloves and mask the second I come through the door.
Then I set my shopping bag on the floor, and spray each item inside one by one as I remove it from the bag. And wipe with a disinfectant wipe.
Then I remove my gloves, after spraying them again, and wash my hands and face. I let everything air out before storing it all.
When I was in the army we were instructed not to bunch up when we traveled
as a unit on a road. “Keep your interval, men! Don’t bunch up! One round will take you all out if you don’t!” They were speaking of artillery rounds, of course.
The Covid virus is like an invisible artillery round. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, and you can’t feel it. You can only be scared of it.