Has it been two weeks already? I’m not sure. Time is passing much differently. It’s raining today, which is something of a comfort because it feels better to stay in. The governor announced a shelter-in-place order starting this morning. Or was it the mayor? In any case, we’re now legally compelled to do what we were basically already doing: living at home, going out sporadically for essentials and to get fresh air.
Everything is canceled, but so many things are phone calls now. Last week we did a birthday call for Shelly. She turned 33. Had a bunch of friends call in. Group hangouts online are funny, particularly with groups who don’t all know each other.
People shared memories of Shelly and then we sang happy birthday, which didn’t work given the lags in the signal. I read somewhere that if you mute everyone and then do a conference call you can sing together. Sent that to a musician friend who said it doesn’t work.
Shelly’s doing well. The infection doesn’t impact pregnancy or pregnant people in any alarming way, other than that her immune system is a little more compromised. And she has a tendency to get pneumonia and bad respiratory infections. So we’re playing it carefully.
I’ve imagined the situation where Shelly goes into labor, needs an epidural or a C section, but there aren’t enough beds at the hospital and we get delayed, or there’s a problem with the birth and Shelly’s health. I try to tell myself that won’t happen.
At house meeting we discussed adding disinfecting surfaces to our daily and weekly chores. I have to disinfect the knobs and handles in the mudroom and powder room.
Shelly and I painted the accent wall in the living room blue. She’d been wanting to do it for awhile.
I talked with old friends from Occupy who are in Connecticut and Serbia. I talked with friends from Ecuador who are in Florida, California, and Quito. All on zoom.
I went to an online happy hour hosted by some Green New Deal organizers. Nearly 60 people called in to it, and over time more and more people chimed in. But mostly we listened to a few scholars and organizers shoot the shit. I had a shot of whiskey while I listened.
I went to a candidate fundraiser on zoom. Not as many people attended, and in asking for donations a number of friends said they’re saving money, have had pay cuts, or are donating to mutual aid efforts. Understandable. I attended a seminar on reproductive work with Selma James and others (listened to that call while I was walking Sappho around the neighborhood).
Today I’m talking with a student on the phone, to my department on a conference call, and then hosting socialist trivia night on a call. We have birth education courses online through zoom on Wednesday. I’ve been thinking of setting up a hangout for our friends where we watch something together and comment on it.
The grocery stores are full, by all accounts. The restaurants are closed. Stores are closed. It’s eery and the novelty has worn off. The death rates and infection rates increase everywhere. Our friend’s mom has covid. A friend’s father has it. My friend in Serbia probably has it.
If I jog in the morning, write about the markets, walk Sappho and listen to a comedy podcast, and I get to things on my to-do list at my computer while listening to rain sounds, I can get work done. Still writing my tenure file. Tried working through an online course module about how to teach online (for a certificate I was doing before) but the online course software is very glitchy from overuse.
I’ve found that some days I get depressed, others I feel better. Napping is important. I generally feel better at night. The daytime feels wrong somehow.
We keep joking about what day it is, or what month it is. “What is Thursday, anyway?” we chuckle. I still felt like it was the weekend this last Saturday and Sunday, which made me feel worse, since the weekend doesn’t make as much sense anymore as a concept.
Some friends are saying they’re on 70% pay. They’re part-time now.
When I was jogging I went past a woman on 49th street. When I passed her she said “hey, six feet man!” She was making sure I stayed far enough away to adhere to social distancing rules.
I wear the same pair of jeans every day. They’re my comfortable, around-the-house jeans. Just can’t bring myself to wear stiff or uncomfortable pants when I’m at home this much.
We walked Sappho one Friday evening and we saw so many people we knew. It took two hours to drop something off at Kate and Corey’s because we saw so many friends and acquaintances.
One of Shelly’s former students talked about how he followed the Bernie campaign through the midwest and New England, but hasn’t worked since the campaign stopped doing in-person organizing.
We saw Sam on the phone on her porch. She came out to say hi. Her housemates came out to say hi. Then two friends walked by and we stood in a big circle, talking. Two of their neighbors passed through, an older couple. Sam asked them how they were doing. The man said, “you know, just not trying to get sick and die. Old people on the block. Hope we make it through.” He was smiling.
I had to write my father an email explaining why it’s not a good idea to go to work. He’s said that he’ll stay home for now.
They say this could go on for eight weeks. Three months. A year and a half. No one knows. There are so many government leaders. They all say different things at different times. At least they’re taking it seriously. Will we be like Italy? South Korea? China?
My friends with kids are homeschooling now. We hear our neighbor’s daughter through the wall. Elon live-texts watching the original Aladdin movie with his two kids. I hit the “haha” button in iMessage.