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COVID Conversations

Another month has gone by. How are you?

If you find that a difficult question to answer, you’re not alone. My own feelings jump around. I’ll have a couple of good days and think wow, I’ve completely adjusted to this, and then I will burst into tears for no reason. Well, for reasons, obviously: someone told me I filled out a form wrong, or I haven’t lost any weight, or I heard Kermit the Frog sing “Rainbow Connection.” You know, good reasons.

When the shutdown started, I thought, “Okay. This is the time I’ve needed to get my house in order.” I started with my desk, which had to be tidied so that I could work from home. A month later, I’ve cleaned nothing else.

I’ve spent some quality time with Zoe. That’s good. I think she likes having me home, at least most of the time. Every now and again I suspect something is up.

ME:   
Zoe? You're in here all alone? Why are you in here?
ZOE:  
I wanted to be in here.
ME:   
But I'm in the living room.
ZOE:      
That's why I'm in here. Because you're in the living room. 

(beat)

ZOE:     
It's not personal. I just need my space. 

(I start tearing up)

ZOE:      
Try getting me some salmon. That will cheer you up. 
We know, Zoe. We know.

Trouble is, my brain knows I’m not on vacation. It flips back and forth from survival mode to existentialist.

ME:         
I'm going to clean the closet. Where should I put this travel blanket?
BRAIN:   
Way in the back. You're not going to use that again for a long, long time.
ME:         
I'm tired of watching YouTube and playing on my iPad. 
BRAIN:   
You could write something.
ME:         
Maybe I should call someone on FaceTime. I want to remember that other people exist.
BRAIN:   
But how will you know they exist, and they're not just images on a screen?
ME:         
That's freaky. Shut up.
BRAIN:   
You should write something. Get that second book up on Amazon. You can make 
a little extra money.
ME:         
You just told me that maybe there are no more real people in the world. 
How do I know the people buying it would be real?
BRAIN:   
Doesn't matter. The dollars would be real.
Hmm…maybe with the right hat?
ME:
I miss my friends. I want to go visit someone and prove to myself 
that other people are real.
BRAIN:
You know that means going outside, right? You hate outside. 
Remember the last time you went grocery shopping?
ME:
(shuddering) It was a nightmare. All those potentially disease-ridden
people breathing my air...that mask I had to wear in case I have 
COVID and am asymptomatic...trying to disinfect the stuff I need 
right away and separate the stuff I can leave for a few days so the
germs can die and washing my hands and then realizing I hadn't 
emptied one of the bags and then more hand-washing and then 
picking up the berries to eat and realizing I hadn't cleaned off the 
plastic packaging and germs can live on that for seventy-two hours 
and then still more hand-washing...my skin is cracking from all the 
hand-washing and I forgot to buy more lotion and dear God, 
the hand-washing...I AM NEVER GOING OUTSIDE AGAIN...
BRAIN: 
My work here is done.

Anne Frank and her family survived in an attic with what, eight people? My condo is small, but I have it all to myself and I am allowed to go outside and go for a walk whenever I want. For curiosity’s sake I looked up the size of the attic where they hid. 450 square feet – almost exactly the same size as my condo. And no one will call the secret police if they hear me walking around.

Anne Frank wants to slap me.

I’m going to shut up now. Realizing that an icon of resistance to tyranny wants to assault you has a way of putting things in perspective. I’m also going to have a snack and sing a little tune as I get ready for bed, just because I am free to do it.

Kimberly loves her cat, her condo, and all of you. Stay safe, dear readers.

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