Hello – Is Anyone Out There?
My intentions were to write a full blown rant this month about the COVID-19 Pandemic and the rules, the many, many rules of Quarantine and an economy that is resting in the bowels of despair. I remark to my spouse several times a day, “I don’t like being told what to do!” His sarcastic reply is always, “What? I am shocked, Pam! None of us have ever realized that about you!”
So, I’ve switched gears and have decided to focus on the lighter side of the past nine (is it nine or is it ten? I’ve lost track of time!) weeks.
I have always thought of myself as being somewhat anti-social - turns out that was a big old lie. I miss my interactions talking to random people on the street, and in check-out lines, with this. 6 foot distance rule, everyone flees in a panic when they see another human being. I found myself wandering through the grocery store last week, going the wrong way down the aisles, yelling, “I want to be where the people are!” A sullen lady who was in the midst of tossing 18 jars of spaghetti sauce in her cart snarled at me, “You’re going the wrong way!” I could swear that she also muttered under her breath, “And you ain’t no Ariel, either!”
We’ve celebrated 3 family birthdays in Quarantine as well as Mother’s Day. We discovered the Joe Exotic/Tiger King documentary on Netflix and was immediately drawn to it like a moth to an open flame. When it was time for my son’s birthday in late April, I knew that it would just be the 3 of us celebrating, but that didn’t stop me from coming up with a Joe Exotic theme for our little soiree. My cousin Erin made an awesome Tiger cake, my wonderful neighbor Jodi dressed up like Carole Baskin and had her 2 kids attired as tiger cubs and she performed a hilarious bicycle ride by while calling out, “Hey all you Cool Cats and Kittens!” My son thought I had officially gone off the deep end, but I assured him that I was still treading water and hadn’t gone completely under --- yet…
My husband’s birthday was in early May, ten days after my son’s. In less than a week, I organized an Isolation/Quarantine Birthday Party for, complete with friends and family giving him a Birthday Parade with cars bedecked in signs and balloons. They stopped long enough for a gift bag, filled with delicious homemade cupcakes baked by my daughter, bottles of Corona beer, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and Kleenex, to be thrust into their vehicles. This was a complete surprise to Steve, and he had a little trouble with the concept that people were driving by our house and honking their horns and not stopping. It’s QUARANTINE, dude!
Our state has mandated the use of face masks for over a month now. I will confess to having trouble adapting to wearing one. I am claustrophobic and do not like having my nose or mouth closed. I also wear glasses, which immediately fog up whenever I mask up. I keep buying different kinds of masks: 3 layer, filter pocket, bandanna, gaiter, cute little animal prints. I line my collection up and hum, “Look at this stuff- Isn't it neat? I do believe my collection is almost complete!” But it’s not, I still freak out as soon as I strap a mask on my face. When I exit a building, I immediately rip the mask off and yell, ‘Hallelujah!”, much like I do when I take my bra off after a day of work.
Speaking of grocery shopping, it’s like a day at Disney when I score some treasures. “Chicken! They have chicken!” “What?! Is that a Chef Boyardee pizza mix hidden down on the bottom shelf?” “Oh – M – GEE! There are 2 cans of soup in the dispenser thing that usually holds HUNDREDS of cans! It’s corn chowder! I don’t like corn chowder – but it’s SOUP! And there’s TWO cans! Should I grab them before someone else?!” Spoiler alert, common sense stopped my from buying them.
I bought my 7 year old granddaughter one of those Vtech KidiBuzz smart devices. I downloaded an app on my iPhone and now we can send images, texts, and voice messages to each other. Nothing makes my heart happier than getting a voice mail from her at 8 pm at night, telling me, “Gaga Pam, I love you! Good night!” We text each other jokes and riddles. She even sent me a photo when she lost her front tooth!
In desperation, I have started to message my friends at 9:13 pm, asking them, “Pssttt… wanna break Quarantine and indulge in some illegal activities?”
“YES!” is always their reply, “What do you have in mind?”
Me: “Ummm… well, I have no clue. All of the stores have been closed since 7 pm. Nothing is open – can’t go to the zoo – we can’t go anywhere. I guess we can just sit, braless on our couches and send each other some silly memes on Facebook Messenger…. And hey, did you watch Joe Exotic/Tiger King? Do you think that Carole Baskin killed her husband and fed him to the tigers?!”
I shut down my laptop, glance at the clock. It’s 9:44 pm. I sigh and mumble that I have nothing else to do, might as well mosey off to bed. I start down the hallway and sadly lament, “I want to be where the people are. I want to walk, and dance and run with them. I want to hug them and stand beside them. I want to wander – freely. When, oh when can this old world do that again?”