I was on a (virtual) panel, as part of RVA Bike Month, titled Bikes, Buses + Budgets (odd comma choice not my own). Lately, like, for the past two and a half weeks, I've found it so hard to do things involving other people. This panel, about topics I know well and ostensible enjoy talking about, filled me with chest-stress for most of the entire day. The thought of seeing and hearing others—even just through a screen! Ack!
I had a great time on the panel and felt better about life after the panel, but I'm pretty sure I'll emerge from quarantine a misanthrope and quickly return back into an elective quarantine.
Apropos of Day 41, we ordered takeout for the first time since quarantine began. Queso is a delicious—but stressful—morale booster. We've broken the takeout seal, but I'm still not sure whether it'll become a frequent part of our routine.
I've made dinner 40 days in a row. While that's exhausting to think about, forced by the quarantine to spend more time in the kitchen, I've gotten better at dinner. We’re eating healthier, more balanced meals and not just piles of brown fried-and-frozen things.
I still can’t bring myself to meal plan, but maybe by the end of the next 40 days?
40 is a biblical number. Once, it rained for 40 days and washed the world away. Now that we’ve suffered through our own contemporary 40-day trial, I feel a lot more empathy towards Noah—stuck on a boat with his family for nearly a month and half. Depending on your own specific living situation, you may or may not have new-found empathy for keeping a menagerie of animals alive for many, many weeks.
Tomorrow marks Day 41. For Noah that meant sunshine, a rainbow, and receding waters. For us in Virginia, Day 41 means at least two more days until the earliest possible peak in daily deaths and 50 days until the Governor’s social distancing restrictions lift. There’s no rainbow yet, just a vast, angry sky. Time to re-batten the hatches and go back to keeping the lions from killing the giraffes.
The weather right now is so wonderful, and the light coming into the house is perfect. Outside of this moment, everything is weird and sometimes terrible, but inside of this moment it feels soft and buoyant. I'm looking forward to cocktails on the front lawn at 4:45 PM to continue forgetting about the outside world—if only just for an hour.
I have no thoughts about today! It was the same as yesterday! Cool how the days now stretch forward in an endless parade of sameness—work, lunch, walk, school, bikes, margs, dinner, Lost, margs, books, sleep. SURE LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW.
I've been taking slow, 10-mile bike rides most afternoons and using the time to work through audiobooks. A couple days ago I finished Pride by Ibi Zoboi and Forever War by Joe Haldeman. The former was an excellent modern take on Pride and Prejudice, the latter was…fine. Definitely an archetype for a lot of science fiction to come after it and an interesting thought experiment about how to go to war when your enemy lives lightyears away.
Bikes + books is another good thing to come out of quarantinelife.
I wanted chocolate chip cookies, but we didn't have chocolate of any form in the house. Instead, I made these iced lemon cookies with some lemons I had in the fridge that were about to turn. First, lemon continues to be the best flavor. Second, quarantine has helped me get way better at putting all the food that comes into our house to good use. Mostly, I think it's having extra time at home that I can use to both plan and cook. Maybe by the end of this thing I'll have learned to successfully meal plan for my family?
I remember reading this blog written by a guy under quarantine in China back in early March. At the time, he’d spent 44 days in quarantine, and I thought that seemed impossible and un-American. Not un-American in a “This Shall Not Stand! #CONSTITUTION #FREEDOM” way, but in a “Yee-haw! You’ll never quarantine us alive, coppers!” kind of way. But, here we are, quickly approaching day 44—and beyond.
Yo! It is officially time for me to get summer seedlings into my garden. How am I supposed live through Pandemic Summer 2020 without tomatoes? UNHAPPILY, I tell you what. In the ground already I’ve got some romaine, radishes, beans, and hot peppers (seeds saved from last year, so we’ll see).
But none of those things get me closer to the goal: A tomato and mayonnaise sandwich.
I’m thinking about data a lot. Each day, around lunch, I open up the VDH website and update my Virginia-focused coronavirus spreadsheet with the newest data. Then, each night, my friend living in Chicago opens up a set of tabs and updates his nationally-focused coronavirus spreadsheet with the newest data. Even though death and sickness data are morbid, I do look forward to each update. It’s a slower version of that feeling you get pulling-to-refresh Twitter over and over, but one that plays out over the course of a day. Rather than increasing inactionable anxiety, a constant stream of data helps give me context to whatever horrible NYT story I next read.
I’ve started to lose track of the days despite our best attempts at putting together a strong schedule to help us mark the passage of time. Today felt like Friday or Monday for most of the day, but it’s neither of those days. It’s Wednesday.
Wednesday is great, because Wednesday means Survivor group text with me, Val, JR, and my mom. Three generations of Catrows watching Survivor together, but apart, is definitely one of the better things to come out of this involuntary time at home.