July 03, 2020

Heading Into Chapter Three of the Coronavirus Pandemic (Orange Alert Edition)

Well, that didn't take long.

Los Angeles bars had been allowed to open for just two weeks before they were ordered to shutter again for at least three weeks.

Indoor dining is also once again verboten.

Our infection rate and hospitalizations are surging like never before. But it's not a "second wave."

We're still in the first wave. And it's getting worse.

The mayor says we're on "Orange Alert," presumably one step (or a few sneezes) away from Red Alert.


Officials are once again telling us to stay home except for essential travel, like to go to work or get supplies. I now dread every trip I have to make to Petsmart or Target to get items I can't get for home delivery (or need more quickly than that). Even curbside pickup stresses me out.

I didn't write much during Chapter Two of the coronavirus pandemic, for two reasons.

First, it only lasted about 20 days.

Second, not much changed for me during those 20 days. In fact, the more that other people began to emerge from isolation, I found myself roaming less and hunkering down more.

Sure, I ate a few meals inside, sitting down at a real table, where someone brought me food to eat on an actual plate.

I wonder if I should regret some of those visits. I wonder what I'll regret as this thing progresses.

I do my best. Not everybody does.

My in-person social interactions have been minimal. I haven't taken a cab, rideshare, or public transportation. I dyed my own hair and gave myself a pedicure. Despite having worsened my clenching habit and given myself a toothache and possibly a case of TMJ, I'm waiting to go to the dentist or an ENT.

I've been touched by another human being exactly three times since March 14, all in the month of June.

I remember each of those tiny and incidental touches vividly.

I think it's going to be a long time before I can get a massage, something that for me is less an indulgence and more of a medical necessity.

If I have to keep my saliva to myself for the foreseeable future, I may die a born-again virgin.

And I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that at some point, I'm probably going to get sick, no matter what I do.

It feels like I'm merely delaying the inevitable. It's hard not to think it might just be better to get it over with now.

Then again, my worst fear would be getting sick and giving it to my cat. And since that's a very real possibility, I'll keep trying my best to stay healthy, at least for him.

If I got sick, there'd be nobody to take care of me.

Worse yet, if I got sick, there'd be nobody to take care of him.

I'm not bored. I'm the opposite of bored.

I'm certifiably overstimulated. Just like I always am.

I've got too much work to do, writing to do, thinking to do. I can no longer distract myself, much less escape myself.

I am facing every thing, every day. Past, present, and future. Remembered and misremembered. Dreamed and hallucinated. Imagined and wished for.

Assessing threats. Wondering when the boat we're all in together is going to sink. Planning my escape route.

I might run out of my prescriptions. The pharmacy might run out of them, too.

But it's not all bad.

On the contrary, getting a three-month reprieve from my "regular" life meant I could actually afford to get my taxes done and buy the designer eyeglass frames I'd spotted at the optician's office back in January.

I got to color my roots bright pink, the way I'd been trying to convince my hairdresser to do for a couple of years now. (And it didn't turn out to be a disaster, though that would've been OK because who do I have to impress right now?)

With my more sedentary lifestyle, a toe I injured back in 2015 is finally getting the chance to heal. I'd forgotten what it felt like for it not to hurt.

Maybe there are some other parts of me that can get patched up while I'm in hiding.

Related Posts:
Heading Into Chapter Two of the Coronavirus Pandemic
Quarantine Angst?