Photo by Peter Rosenstein

It is easy to lose count of how long we have been quarantined as the days just drift into one another especially if you live alone and don’t have a full-time job you are doing from home.  Yesterday one of my morning Java House Zoom companions said, “I woke today and my nine-year-old petulant self was saying, “Open the damn country.”

(Photo by: Peter Rosenstein)

It occurred to me my nine-year-old self has said the same adding, “Dammit I want to go eat out, go play on the beach, walk the boardwalk, see my friends and hug them. Enough of staying at home mostly alone.” But after a couple of moments it sunk in I am no longer a nine-year-old and getting over my little sulk accepted why we are quarantined and why we can’t yet open the county. Then it dawned on me listening to Trump say dumb things like we should consider drinking or injecting Lysol or bleach, we have a President who is not only a moron but in his rush to try to reopen the nation is still acting like a petulant nine-year-old. Now, that is criminal. 

As a senior I know I am more susceptible to this virus. Having had some health issues, though now fine, being careful has been important. It means never going into a store without my mask and wearing one on my afternoon walks. Washing my hands so often they are getting chapped. It means wearing the mask and gloves when going to the basement in my condo to do the wash, something I haven’t done in years since there was someone who came to clean every two weeks and did that. For my safety and hers that won’t happen again till this is over. Since I am fortunate and can afford to, she is still being paid. 

(Photo by: Peter Rosenstein)

Like so many of us during the first few weeks of this quarantine I would immerse myself in the TV news watching the moron in the White House every evening during his press conference/political rally and watching an impressive Andrew Cuomo every afternoon. Would have cable news on much of the day, yelling back at the TV and being inundated with reports of what is happening around the world. I have stopped that now because it was just too depressing. Found myself tearing up regularly every time I heard about another death, about another child not having food, about another family torn apart from a loved one who was sick but they couldn’t be with them. I cried when I heard my good friend and political mentor Arlene Stringer-Cuevas, mother of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, died from the virus. Teared up every time another FB friend told of a friend or relative who died from the virus. Then found myself tearing up thinking about all those dying of other causes and knowing their families can’t hold funerals. I think of my parent’s funerals and wonder what it would have been like to not be able to honor them and get the closure they brought with family and friends around when each of them passed. 

So I have found each day how important it is to find something to enjoy, something to smile about, and something to be hopeful about in these difficult times. To hear funny stories about my friends' kids, to continue to enjoy the flowers and beauty around me on every afternoon walk which I share daily on FB. Amazing how many things I notice on my walks around the city that never registered before. Plaques on buildings I once just passed. Remembering how great it feels to be able to help someone else. Small things like finding paper towels in the local Safeway for my ninety-two year old neighbor. 

(Photo by: Peter Rosenstein)

There is always a feeling of guilt when avoiding people on the street. When someone walks towards me and I walk into the street to make sure I am keeping six feet of separation. Avoiding a street person who comes toward me without a mask. So to make up for that and in some way assuage my guilt each afternoon I sit at my computer and find a charity to which I can make a small donation. Realizing with each click of the donate button how fortunate I am knowing I will never go without a home or without food. So it makes me feel good to give a donation to Casa Ruby in DC; or to an organization like Martha’s Table.  While I have no particular talent I love the theater, am a theater reviewer, and want to make sure it will return and all those talented artists can continue to provide us with joy. Some doing it now online like Michael Urie who raised over $200,000, including my small donation, for Actors Equity with his brilliant online performance of Buyer & Cellar. Lady Gaga who helped coordinate the One World Together spectacular raising $128 million, including my small donation.  Giving a small donation to the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Phoenix Fund to help keep that brilliant DC Treasure alive when this is all over and life can return to whatever our new normal is. 

Each of us is dealing with this pandemic in our own way. Many of my friends on FB are cooking and baking and sharing pictures of the incredible delicacies they are making. Guess I could have put a picture of last night’s Lean Cuisine dinner online, lol. No matter what you are doing to pass the time and keep yourself safe, healthy and sane remember we are all in this together. Reach out to friends, check on your neighbor, and keep busy. This will eventually pass and hopefully we will all be here to celebrate together. Those of you who are young remember you will be telling stories to your grandkids about, “What I did during the Coronavirus pandemic back in 2020.” Make sure those will be really good stories.