The last two nights, I have slept well. Either that is because I walked for 2 miles each day and also cleaned house, or because I’m getting used to the situation. Either way, I’m grateful for better sleep and less anxiety.
Today I did our grocery shopping. I went to Trader Joe’s, CVS and Albertson’s. TJ’s was by far the best organized and the most pleasant experience. They were only letting a certain number of people in at a time, so there was a short wait outside, standing six or so feet apart from other people in line. Inside, 95 percent of the shelves were fully stocked and although it was a little difficult to stay six feet from everyone, we all did our best. They did not want me to use the bags I brought with me, so everything was packed in paper bags.
In CVS, there was no problem staying six feet away from people, and frankly, it was pretty empty. I went there to take advantage of a 25% off coupon that was about to run out, so I stocked up on things for my daughter’s Easter basket, more Nyquil just in case and cat food.
Lastly, I went to Albertson’s grocery store. Only one door was open, and people were being given wiped-down carts (this also happened at TJ’s). Shelves that usually held paper products were still completely empty. There was no rice, no butter. The butcher shop was closed, but there was plenty of packaged meat. A lot of the frozen section looked empty, and the milk section was definitely impacted. But lots of fresh fruit and veggies, which we should all be eating anyway! The checkout line snaked around the store, as they were only permitting a few people to check out at a time. If you brought your own bag, you had to leave it in your cart and pack it yourself.
And I forgot lettuce after all that!!
I spoke to two friends in New York recently. I have two ex-roommates who live in New York. One friend lives by herself in an apartment in midtown. The other lives with her lawyer husband in Westchester County. Very different realities! The NYC friend has been furloughed from her job, and her roommate who was helping her make the rent, went home to be with her parents in Virginia. She has to wipe down every doorknob and elevator button to do her laundry in the basement, take out the garbage down the hall or to go outside. Conversely, my Westchester friend was walking on the beach when I talked to her, on her way home to sew more masks to donate to a hospital in Manhattan. Thank goodness, neither one is sick.
The sky in Central California is blue with puffy white clouds, interspersed with grey ones that dump ten or twenty minutes of rain and then move on. The air is cold and it’s a great day for a cup of tea and a book… or a blog, in my case.
The best part of my reality right now, other than my family and my health and theirs, is that my two big lilac bushes are about to bloom! Lilacs have been my favorite flower since I was a tiny child. Where I grew up in Woodstock NY, there were rows and rows of lilac bushes and the heavenly scent of them in the spring is a cherished childhood memory. Later, when I lived in NYC with the aforementioned roommates, I would walk to my job through the flower district. In the spring, there would be piles of fresh lilacs on the sidewalks in the morning, waiting to be packaged and sold. Lilacs are one of the blessings of my life, and I’m going to have them in my backyard in a few days!
In my online reading and conversations, people have been wondering how this will ever end. Most of us are horrified and disgusted by the government’s lack of preparedness or a sane, timely response. I got an email from my stepbrother, a conservative who lives in Georgia, saying that he thinks we are all making too much of this and should stop social distancing so the economy can come back. He linked to a video by Ann Coulter and copied about fifty of his friends and relatives. I was horrified, and then heartened to read about twenty email replies telling him he was wrong, and begging him not to spread this foolishness.
Thankfully, there has also been discussion about the good things that are coming from everyone staying home. Kids get to be with their parents more. Dogs are being walked and so are people. Wildlife is appreciating the peace and quiet. The air and water are clearning. More cooking and baking is happening. And lives are getting a chance to breathe, without appointments and schedules and carpools and deadlines. Our hearts and love and endless appreciation go out to anyone and everyone who is sick, and the families of those who have died. And of course, to the brave and dedicated medical workers, grocery store clerks, truckers and the rest who are keeping us going. I hope that those of us doing the not-so-hard sacrifice of staying home are appreciating the benefits as much as we are fearing the consequences.