I keep staring at the package of toilet paper in my hallway with the words, “30 weeks supply!!” When I brought it I had thought it would be enough. I’m not sure who did the calculations or what kind of algorithm they used but that package is in no way 30 weeks for 4 people who are constantly at home. I keep thinking of Eileen from Seinfeld, “I can’t spare a square”.
Everything appears normal in our house but if you look around you notice. The sign on the door that says, “we can’t play today please do not ring bell”, or the clorox wipes and lysol spray that sit by the door. But life is at times shades of normal and shades of surreal abnormality as if I woke up in a bad dystopian novel. I don’t want to guess what district I’m in.
I often feel like I’m “playing” normal because when you are in the comfort of your own home it’s easy to be normal. I’ve worked from home for 3 years. For me so much of this is normal. And then at once, I find myself going down a hole of news articles. Articles that talk about our Country’s lack of planning, about how we squandered months when we could have been building ventilators and making masks and preparing ourselves for this. Instead, life feels like I’m jumping from one possible panic attack to another. Did I get enough groceries? Can I add to my order? Where will I buy toilet paper? What if we get sick? What if someone we love gets sick? Will the money last? How long will this last?
And yet I feel mostly ok and somewhat lucky. I work from home, my job hasn’t changed, my husband is still working though at home and I’m a bit of a homebody. Hell, I have a sign that say’s “Let’s Stay Home” hanging over my mantel. In many ways, I feel equipped for this. I have online social circles, I’m used to getting to know people across the internet. I was using Zoom before it was cool and some of my best friends I’ve met online.
And sometimes these things make it easier for me to forget what is happening right now. Or that my life now stops when the Governor of a state I don’t live in gets on TV to give me an update because he provides a level of solace and facts and rationale that I struggle to find elsewhere in this nation.
I try not to think about the things we should be doing right now. The canceled trip to Paris, the Girls Weekend that won’t be, the soccer season Grace was excited for, Jack’s advanced swim class…. Our calendar sits empty filled with pictures of last year’s trip to New York City. A constant reminder of how so much has changed. I struggle not to cry when I look at that calendar and think of New York and loss and emptiness.
This feels worse than 9/11. This feels like our country has failed us. This feels like it’s going to drag on and on and that we don’t know when we will be able to put down the lysol and the handmade masks and meet our neighbor in their yard for a glass of wine and laugh and likely cry. And it’s that uncertainty that keeps me up at night. That clings to me as I talk with my son about the trip we planned for this fall or when my daughter asks when she will go to school again.