Mary Beth Writes

Since I stopped writing every day the Quarantine Diary number no longer precisely matches the number of days since I (we) fell into this pandemical rabbit hole. I just calculated. I started intentionally quarantining March 13th – which means I am now on day #93.  From now on, I will label the days since quarantine started, not how many diary entries I have written.  It’s more relevant to consider how long this has gone on. Your tally might vary by a few days, depending on when you realized you were in quarantine also.

March 13th was a Friday. I had gone to a school board meeting the Wednesday evening of that week. It was dull and frustrating as I watched an immense amount of power being handled by pleasant people who were never going to try anything new or different.  IMHO. 

Thursday Len and I began to talk seriously about what was going on around us.  On Friday, our church was deciding if we would have a service on Sunday.  The service was cancelled; it's been a virtual service and zoom coffee hours since that weekend.

Quarantine hit that fast. Wednesday night I attended to a public meeting. Friday morning we were on lockdown. 

I realized today that I can actually list pretty much all the places I’ve been and the things I’ve done in the past 93 days.

  • We drove to Milwaukee twice on errands too plain to describe. Actually, there were crazy clouds over Lake Michigan the second time we were there so we sat a half hour to watch them. Woohoo! Social Life away from home!
  • We’ve been on several hikes within an hour’s drive from here. Scuppernong. The Drumlin Trail. The Monches section of the Ice Age Trail. See? I can tell you.
  • We drove once to Madison to bring some tools to our son. Yesterday we drove to Chicago to spend some (wonderful) hours with our daughters.
  • Len rode his bike 500 miles in May. I have walked A LOT.  We replaced our back fence, extended our garden, and transformed the cement apron of our garage into an ersatz French bistro, which I will show you one of these days.
  • Once we visited with friends on their deck. We went to our nephews outside birthday party and our grandson’s zoomed birthday party.
  • We Facetime-read storybooks to our granddaughter most weekdays.

Maybe I missed something. In 93 days which is three-plus months – I can remember and list the stuff I’ve done.

People with kids and people with jobs will not have been living this quietly or close to home. I get that. But I bet all of you, if you thought for 20 minutes, could list the traveling and visiting things you’ve done since quarantine started. 

This massive hiatus fell into our lives in just two days and I still can’t quite believe how much changed that fast. On a Wednesday I went to a meeting. Two days later the ordinary world quit.

Driving home from Chicago, Len and I talked about what’s changing.

Our grandkids are bonding to each other in a way that will last all their life.

It is crazy that adults with kids and jobs have to work this hard to keep their lives going – but most are doing it and will come out of this with closer and stronger bonds to their closest people. I understand that for those living in acrimony, this is dangerous, fraught, and hard. But for those in okay relationships, I think there is something very powerful in becoming closer to the other people in one’s own home; it's opening one'seyes to the very good gift of one's very own people.

There is this powerful reality for people living with - pets.  My daughter has a new kitten! (See the opening pix!) Pets are not just the pets in the house; they are antics, neediness, and love. Are we realizing how essential they are to our sanity and happiness? 

The protests are at day 18 or 19; for three weeks we’ve been relentlessly barraged with racism and this time, racism feels like more than a political word. We’ve marinated in those phone videos of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and in the social media footage of protests everywhere all the time. We pull back at those devil videos of racist people saying and doing crap to people of color. We aren’t talking about a concept this time. We are dealing with the shockling images we are seeing.

Three months of un- and under-employment is giving a lot of Americans a lot of time to consider what’s going on. There's such anger against the oligarchs who are cheating us of our right to live stable lives. We are angry at politicians who serve money instead of us. 

So much energy is going on at home and in society.

We are changing. We have changed.

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We’ve been on lockdown since the afternoon of the 14th. We should have been since the 13th, but that’s another story. I do not mind it so much for us but I hurt for all those around me who do not have jobs and swallow their pride and drive to the frequent food distributions. I know people of color are angry; many whites are angry about racism as well;I hear from college educated young that they feel they will never own a home so of course they are angry; the unemployed, especially those whose unemployment checks are tangled in out of date computer systems are angry; thinking people who listen to a lying chief executive are angry and America burns. Not surprising. Most of us are disgusted by the rich who have no idea or regard about the rest of us, who do not see the wealth gap as dangerous for them as a class and our nation. I grow vegetables and try not to think about how bad this may turn out to be. I resent the government who ignored the possibility and then the reality of a pandemic. I resent those who do not realize that people are people and have the same inalienable rights. Rant over. Peace, out
Mary Beth's picture

It's crazy, isn't it? A couple months ago I could write a little bit about this, a little bit about that. Now i sit to write and I have to work through reams of diatribe first, delete most of it, then try to find a new, true thing in the middle to say. It's as if all of our thoughts are refracted through miles of anger, injustice, the disregard of the few for the many. It's hard to get a thought that doesn't come encrusted in this filth. I fear what comes next if Congress doesn't move smart and fast. Thousands of people are behind on rent and mortgages. Thousands of businesses are reopening but at reduced capacity. Unless Americans can figure out how to wear masks, we are looking at more Covid which will keep the rest of us locked at home.

Out of loneliness I joined a dating site on or around March 7th..."Mr. Skeptic" liked me...I ignored the request because the only photo he submitted had sunglasses on... I like eyes so no eyes, no response one of three rules I instigated upon signing up... The other two were no photo or half naked shots no response from me... Mr. Skeptic kept coming around and I kept ignoring him... One night I thought OH WHAT THE HECK!! The people close by weren't responding to me so why not just this once... I opened his profile and read about him, I then read his message asking ¿if that was cake I was holding? I responded birthday cake and asked ¿if he had a real name? that started a text conversation... This went on for a month, then Mr. Skeptic/Mr."B" said his time on the site was ending soon, he said we could text if I took his phone number so I did... That went on for the next two weeks before he gave me his email address... Then it became text & email's... Three weeks ago we started dating via Zoom 2hrs at first then 3hrs at a time, this is dating in the Age of Covid... We had our first in person date almost 3 weeks ago and it went well enough to have a second person to person date this week... We felt after all the comunicating We did it's like we've known each other for longer than these three months... The comfort level is unlike anything either one of us has ever experienced, and because of that the prospect's look good for a continuation of this unusual "Relationship" ( His words )
Mary Beth's picture

Your story in the middle of all this is just so good. Say hi to Mr. B from all of us!

This story/relationship is happening at a time when the world is weeping because of Covid and there's a gaping hole growing in this country because as POC we are NOT going to take the injustice we've been forced to live with any more... We are tired of keeping the fact that every time we walk out the door our bodies go rigid wondering if this is the day we pay the far too heavy price to be born a POC... Oh! and by the way Mr."B" says "HI" back to all...

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Quarantine Diary #118 7/10/2020 The thing that we don't want that we have.

This week I requested books from the library, picked them up, walked back home, and started reading.

One book is a lawyer/detective book that is 850 pages long. It’s a great read in that American gum-cracking, fast-talking, everyone has an angle kind of way. I was 150 pages in before I accepted I don’t even like gum and I quit it.

Next I started The Women of Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell.  

Quarantine Diary #112 7/3/2020 The View From Here, Now

I just checked the comments on my website. I get a few wacko ones most days that are in Greek or Russian, or are porno invites. I delete them. Part of the shtick when running a website outside the hosted sites.

And here, right here on a Friday evening, is this good comment from one of you, 

Quarantine Diary #108 6/30/2020 Woke Neighbors

I was quietly sitting here, just writing, when I heard yelling. I looked up and there was Modern America Right Here Right Now, in front of my house.

Cops had a car pulled over and were yelling at someone to come out. A black man with dreadlocks got out, hands in air, protesting and arguing to the cops. I couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying, but he was arguing respectfully. I heard his “Sir” several times. He was not swearing that I could hear.

Quarantine Diary #104 6/26/2020 Common Sense

This very small story has been lurking in my mind for decades and I have been thinking about it again, just recently.

One afternoon I overheard my dad complaining to my mom about schoolteachers. I suppose they were having a busy week in the print shop when a teacher from the high school dropped off, late in the day, a print job that needed to be completed in less time than was convenient. I’m guessing it was the school newspaper.

Quarantine Diary #101 6/23/2020 Today the Protest Came to Us

I keep saying Len and I are not going to protests because of Covid.

But then one came to us.

Late yesterday afternoon we heard that Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos would be at a meeting this morning at Saratoga STEM school here in Waukesha. It's three blocks from our house. 

The meeting was to talk about school choice. School choice is when you take taxpayer education funds away from local schools, change neighborhood schools into “choice schools” that will attract kids from outside that neighborhood and then you underfund the neighborhood school that's left.

Quarantine Diary #99 6/20/2020 "A bonfire of small changes ..."

This evening Trump is speaking to a political rally in a Tulsa venue that can hold 19,000 people. There will be no social distancing. The place is enclosed. Masks are optional. Boggles the mind.

Yesterday morning I went to a local Stein’s garden mecca to see if they have marigolds on sale yet. They don’t even have marigolds NOT on sale!

But this happened.

I wore a mask. There were only about six other people shopping while I was there and they were all masked, too. The clerk, working outside in that 85-degrees of drenching humidity, was also wearing a mask.

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