Coronavirus Diaries: IRL Takes Another Hit


Here’s a question for you: You rummage around your closets for appropriate face covers and discover three 3M brand N95 masks from a long-ago home improvement project. Do you donate them? (They’re old and haven’t been kept in a pristine environment.) Do you wear them in public? (Despite public officials warning only essential workers should have them.) Or, do you hold on to them in case you or a loved one really needs one? (A stronger possibility today than even two weeks ago.)

For now, we’re hiding—not hoarding—them until further notice. When we go on neighborhood walks in the daytime, we prefer scarves and breathable bandanas that make us look like overly confident bank robbers. 

For the past three weekends, I’ve spent considerable time deep cleaning and reorganizing my kitchen while my husband watches TV nearby. Lately, he’s been taking liberal advantage of a free month of EPIX and so I’ve heard, but not seen, a Star Trek movie marathon, Natalie Portman sci-fi feature, and War of the Worlds series. One thing I’ve noticed: the voice levels. It seems the more violent the movie, the more mild the voices during scenes requiring a lot of dialog and little action. Next time you have nothing to do, turn on a movie, don’t watch and see if you too don’t notice how unnaturally calm and quiet characters under siege suddenly sound.

Here are more things I am grateful for lately.

Cheers. I’m digging these virtual happy hours. The dress code is way more relaxed and my gray roots look less obvious on Zoom. Best of all, no one has to know that the glass of wine you’re currently sipping is actually your fourth for the day.

Let’s root root root for this product. Speaking of covering natural hair colors, my daughter’s hairdresser introduced me to this product. I like it so much better than those sprays that make your hair feel icky and never seem to just cover your hairline.

Do Not Disturb. Love that two pandas in a Hong Kong Zoo are now totally into each other after 10 years of zookeepers trying to force them to have sex. With all those strangers and panda porn watchers no longer around to gawk, Ling Ling and Ye Ye can finally experience true intimacy. Almost.

I’m listening. Our Saturdays used to be crammed with various doctor and therapist appointments for our 11-year-old. Sometimes traffic was a bitch; sometimes I forgot to bring his Nintendo for the waiting rooms and that was a real bitch.  Now we do everything over the internet and not only does it buy me more free time, but it’s working for our little guy.

Arrested development. It took two weeks, but our local law enforcement (among today’s heroes during this extended crisis) finally began charging people who still think it’s a great idea to go watch the sunset or throw a picnic on a closed beach. These violations carry a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail. And, while the latter penalty won’t happen, just imagine when these people apply for future jobs and this pops up in background checks. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t hire someone who refused to follow orders and put everyone else at risk.

Really long reads. With everything closed, I wondered what would happen if I turned in my borrowed library books late since I had yet to finish them. Answer: Nothing! The San Diego Public Library stopped accepting returned books weeks ago and now I have until May 22 to read The Nickel Boys and Tightrope at my leisure. 

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