Archive for March, 2020

Week Two of Hunkering Down

woman putting on mascara despite the outbreak

Photo by cottonbro on

This morning I put on makeup for the first time in days. I have to admit, seeing my mirror reflection without eyebrows was getting a little depressing, so the Maybelline therapy was rehab for my flagging spirits as well as my sagging upper lids. The only fly in this ointment is that I have a lab appointment at a local clinic that I can’t afford to postpone any longer. This requires me to leave my safe haven and mingle with humanity.

This is all so weird, so Twilight Zone-ish. Last Friday I was wondering how I should feel about forced restrictions on my activities. Today I am worrying about having to venture out to a public place. [Cue the eerie organ music.] Is the doctor’s office—staffed by professionals who know all about sterilizing surfaces and containing contagions—one of the safer public places to be? Or is it one of the more dangerous, considering the walking germ factories that some waiting room patients could unknowingly embody?

How about the neighborhood gas station, where I regularly buy my weekly supply of bananas for half the price as my local Cub Foods? I really need bananas. Should I dip them in a mild bleach solution when I get home, just to be safe? Probably. And will the Clorox wipes sitting on the passenger seat in my van do a sufficient job of sanitizing my steering wheel of any bacteria that may accompany me home after this risky mission?

As I contemplate in writing every imaginable chilling scenario resulting from what, last month, would have been a normal day of errand-running, I find myself bouncing in my chair to the beat of Bobby Lewis’ “Tossin’ and Turnin’.” Next thing I know I’m tapping my foot to the Elvis Presley classic, “All Shook Up.” I am playing a 24-selection CD of Jukebox Favorites: Musical Memories from the 50s and 60s.

I know all the talking heads are offering ideas for how to stay calm and untroubled in a time of uncertainty. I personally recommend a dose of Oldies from the be-bop era. It’s hard to resist the lure of those upbeat rhythmic tunes and lyrics that positively insist that we sing along. Oh, and makeup, ladies, makeup. There’s nothing like a bit of color on your cheeks and definition to your eyes to lift a girl’s spirits.

So before embarking on my perilous adventure, a touch of lip gloss and a flick of mascara. If I can manage to look younger than my years, maybe I’ll feel less like I belong in that “vulnerable” category we’ve heard so much about. Wacky thinking, perhaps. But then these are crazy times.

March 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm 1 comment

March Madness

close up photo of screaming man with a full beard covering his ears and closing his eyes

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I just finished climbing the stairs. I guess that beats climbing the walls, but it feels a bit like the same thing. Motivated by boredom, extended gray and cold weather, and dire apocryphal warnings to stick close to home, I climb to generate energy and keep myself feeling human. Oh, and so I don’t scream. There’s that, too.

But you know how kids bottle up energy after extended periods of enforced sitting? At school they insert the free-for-all called “recess” into the midday schedule as an outlet. Well, this increase in hanging around the house reveals that things change with advancing age. Now, the longer I sit, the harder it is to get moving again. Lethargy creeps over me, and I have to force myself up and out of my chair into more productive activities than solving a crossword puzzle.

Sunday was my official day of rest, so Monday felt like a time to break out of the post-winter lazies; to stretch the limbs and seek out new adventures. Alas, pandemic alarm has closed down most venues and curtailed contact with other humans—especially those you might randomly bump into at, say, that cute little neighborhood coffee shop you keep meaning to re-visit.

At first I was baffled by the apparent hysterics surrounding COVID-19, remembering that the swine flu outbreak in 2009 seemed a more lethal threat with a less terrified response. Then a nurse friend reminded me that it’s the unknown nature of this new strain that has people spooked.

Fortunately, there are voices of reason we can heed. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently advised, “I would like to see a dramatic diminution of personal interaction … The virus is not a mathematical formula. There are going to be people who are young who are going to wind up getting seriously ill. So, protect yourself.”

Dr. Fauci goes on to calm the storm of panic, noting, “For most people, the corona virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. The vast majority of people recover. People with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three weeks to six weeks to recover.”

Regarding what may seem like an exaggerated response, he adds, “People need to understand that things will get worse before they get better . . . What we’re trying to do is to make sure they don’t get to the worst-case scenario.”

So, now I get it; individual isolation and social distancing help to retard the rate of infectious spread and allow more time to develop and ramp up medical-treatment protocols. The reality of mandated limitations has tempered my personal feelings of stir-craziness.

Well, my Fitbit just reminded me that I have 200 steps to get in before this hour rolls into the next. Back to stair climbing. And later, in lieu of the public treadmill at the Y—which today closed for who knows how long—maybe a brisk outdoor walk. Fifty feet between me and the passing cars. Now that’s social distancing!

March 19, 2020 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

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