Mary Beth Writes

What do you miss?  What, in our new pandemical world do you miss most from our pre-pandemical world?You know, the one we lived in till two weeks ago?

I don’t mean the heartbreaking realities such as safe medical care providers and enough places to go should one become ill and the loved ones that we are losing.

I just mean, what are we getting used to? Or trying to get used to. What might we never go back to?

I am observing how complicated getting groceries has become. Last week we placed an online order and the earliest we could pick it up was three days later. So, logically, Monday while eating stuff we bought Saturday, we made a new list. This earliest assured time to get it would be via delivery to us Friday night at 8:00. We looked at each other and shrugged. It isn’t like we have Friday night plans. 

Maybe a routine will fall into place around this but it feels onerous to be this proactive about groceries. Then, of course, one thinks about people who don’t have paychecks, don’t have income, are generally poor, or who live in harm’s way most of the time. 

So get over yourself, Danielson. 

But I really do miss not thinking about groceries five days before I need them.

(Since I wrote this, a friend mentioned in an email that she is connected to Instacart. She got what she ordered one hour after she ordered it for a 5% surcharge.  Which is less than we are paying.  I guess we are figuring this out together, right?)

I miss the background bustle of the world.  I miss knowing there are people at work, kids at school, customers scrounging endcaps at Target, singers at choir rehearsals, board members at boards. I even miss sports enthusiasts in stadiums. Though did you know authorities are pinning the disastrous Coronavirus calamity in Italy and now to Spain to ONE big soccer game (Italy vs Spain) played in Bergamo two days before the first infections began? https://time.com/5809848/game-zero-soccer-game-italy/

Yesterday I walked to, through, and then back home from downtown Waukesha. In that whole 70-minute walk I only passed five people and two of them were with each other. Most everything downtown is closed except for the exotic fish store. In case you suddenly need tetras? I also walked by the liquor store and thank God it’s open. I bet one can place an order and pick it up in less than four days... 

The quietness is unsettling. I’ve read that explorers and traders in north America in the 1600’s and 1700’s would sometimes come upon native villages where houses still stood, crops were growing, dogs were wandering, but all the inhabitants were lying where they had died. We won’t come to that but this quietness rings a warning.

Today (while walking, what else do I do?)  I saw three adults standing six feet from each other while talking and laughing. They all waved to me and I waved back.  Who could have guessed this would become a treasured moment in a person’s day?

You are watching or not paying attention to the news as much as you can stand to know what’s happening, or as much as you are trying to create some distance from the loss and fear. I’m not here to update you on the news. It’s everywhere.

But I think of this. Movies, television, and books have trained us to think that war and catastrophe are events that begin, ensue, occur, and then end.  War is guys in uniforms blasting away at each other. War is terrified women running for their lives with their babes in their arms. Catastrophe is the hurricane bashing, the flood spilling, the fire cascading down a mountainside. 

All these things are true. But we forget that calamity is also the little stuff.  How we get our food. What we tell our teenagers when they want to go out, but they can’t. How we decide who gets to watch what on TV tonight. The half-baked art projects we try to do with the grandkids. The extra lullabies and stories for our littlest ones. It’s waving at people we don’t know who wave back, because it feels so good to acknowledge each other. It’s virtual church and facetiming friends and the incredible amount of touching and funny stuff on Facebook and Twitter.

We are coping, observing, and changing. All of us together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On the plus: less laundry, cleaner house, more walking, catching up on paperwork, more reading, sharing coffee with a friend- outside and 6ft apart, happy to donate to those helping 'the cause'. Currently: coming up with something fun to do with my grandkids through the sliding glass door....hmmm
Mary Beth's picture

Good question. We can read to our toddler before her nap - but that probably isn't as appealing to a 6 and 8 year old. How are we all interacting with children in this time? Good question.

My husband and I are “seniors”, now, and retired, like you and Len. So my week was regular babysitting gigs for a few of my grandkids, lunch with my amazing 100(!) y/o mom, and church. All the anchor points of the week are gone now; I’m not even sure what day it is! Lois
Mary Beth's picture

Yup, all day today it was Wednesday until, wups, it is Thursday. I have kids (you know them!) who could use us to help do serious lifting on the child care while they work from home - but their intersections with the world are too great and the most vulnerable people are probably us. The markers are skewed.

TY

A woman on our neighborhood site "next door.com is writing about how she's dealing with the day to day stuff so I recommended that she and anyone else so inclined look your sight up...

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Quarantine Diary #312

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” ― Bob Ross

This tree lives in Waukesha and stopped me in my tracks when I was out for a walk.

...

 When will this Quarantine Diary end? When Len and I drive out not wearing masks to go to a place where we will stay overnight. Just letting you know. FYI we started last year on Friday the 13th of March.

 …

Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.

But...

Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. https://lithub.com/. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

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