As I write this, it’s the weekend. But what even are weekends anymore? We’re at home all the time, day in and day out. Yes, technically we’re working as best we can from home during the usual Monday to Friday grind, but it still doesn’t feel routine or right, not even after three weeks.
On normal Thursday nights B.C. (Before COVID-19), I’m already feeling kind of giddy. Bill and I might be tossing around ideas about what to do for our Friday night date. Should we go out for Thai and hit Wegmans afterwards for some weekend groceries? Or should we meet at Galaxy Hut? What should I buy for our Saturday night dinner? What else should we do this weekend—visit the library? See a movie? Go to Fells Point for a day?
I didn’t realize how much fun all that anticipation was until Thursday nights in this new and frightening normal roll around and I’m in a crummy mood and can’t figure out why.
For the last three Fridays, our date night has consisted of me placing an order at our favorite Thai place and Bill and I riding out together to pick it up. It’s pretty much the only time both of us have been in the car.
And I don’t mean to complain. I’m glad the place is still open for takeout and I’m glad we can do even this least little bit to help support them, because the staff is lovely and the food is good. I’m grateful we can still afford it. I’m glad we’re still healthy. We have it damn good compared to many right now.
It’s just so strange, is all.
I didn’t sleep well Friday night because I woke up in the middle of the night with a dry, hacking cough. Now, I have spring allergies, so dry coughing spells happen to me around this time every year. But dry hacking coughs are also a classic COVID-19 symptom, and even after I went to the bathroom, got a drink of water, and quelled the coughing, my mind wouldn’t stop going bananas. OH MY GOD IS THIS IT YES IT IS ISN’T IT I KNEW IT BUT HOW’D I GET IT I WAS SO CAREFUL OH SHIT OH SHIT OH GOD OH NO PLEASE NO PLEASE.
I’ve never been a religious adult at all but I’ve had a long-standing interest in Buddhism that was intensified last year during a trip to Tibet House US and the Rubin Museum in New York City. And I’ve been leaning hard into it these last few weeks. Buddhism’s matter-of-fact views about things like impermanence, clinging, and the inevitability of death hold a lot of appeal right now. Bill found an online meditation group that meets via Zoom every weekday for an hour, and it’s been a calming, soothing time.
But after a coughing fit in the middle of the night, all my nice Buddhist calm deserts me. I might as well be my six year old self, scared to sleep because there could be monsters under the bed.
Only this time the monster is real and all around us, and as much as Bill and I are doing to fend it off, we don’t know what this world is going to look like or what our part in it will be when it’s finally been wrestled into submission.
We’re still taking our temperatures every day. And still, we wait.