Diary of a full-quarantine: week two

Week Two of the coronavirus quarantine.

Reality struck this week. I’ll spare you the details of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. (Click here to read last week’s installment.) Every day was essentially the same this week:

  • technology overload
  • brain freeze
  • headache
  • late night
  • binging TV in comatose state
  • yoga pants
  • showering, hair, and make-up for work Zoom calls only (so not every day)
  • 1 grocery store run in gloved hands (still no T.P., Clorox wipes, or meat)
  • phone calls to friends and relatives
  • sanitizing door knobs, faucets, railings, countertops, appliance handles
  • struggling to change my high school classes into an online, virtual set-up right in the middle of third quarter grades, research papers, 2 guest speakers, and a test
  • increasing concern–even anxiety–over a quickly-spreading virus

We’re all learning how to survive without going out. Okay, I lied. This week, I went to several places besides the grocery, but I held my breath and wore gloves and kept my distance. There was the P.O, the grocery, the pharmacy drive-thru, the Panera drive-thru, the Cook-Out drive-thru. This next week, I think I’m going to check out the Kroger Click List.

I think I’ve been attempting some kind of balance in a week that feels extraordinarily out of balance.

That’s the hard part about a quarantine. There’s no balance of space, balance in emotion, or balance of experience. Like everyone else who’s read a few articles or watched the news, I’m trying not to freak out. According to my limited perspective, life is still good and most people I know are just getting more family time. I know the quarantine represents much more than that. It represents a country that is late to the game and trying to prevent a slaughter. It’s serious. And my Facebook feed is starting to blow up with news of people who have COVID-19.

Sometimes when life gets serious, you need to look for something light.

Perhaps this is the obsession with toilet paper in our country. It’s a harmless side-distraction. It presents us the question of deciding on the number of rolls we need in reserve and how many toilet paper squares are sufficient to do the job. (Feel free to weigh in on this.) I must admit, I have lived an extravagant life regarding toilet paper usage. My husband has always said so, and now that I’m confronted with a shortage, I can see the wisdom in parsimony. I always knew there’d come a day when I would feel guilty about a past extravagance in my life, but I never suspected it would be toilet paper.

I don’t think people are as obsessed about toilet paper as it seems they are. I think TP is a distraction about something out of our control.

At least, I hope we’re not that superficial. Yes, the shelves are empty. It’s gone. But I think people are looking for a way to prepare for something that’s too late to prepare for, something serious that has spun out of our control. People are trying to control what they can–like buying toilet paper–and even that is difficult, if not impossible. Apparently, hoarding toilet paper makes people feel safer.

Toilet paper is not the answer.

Time, space, and quarantine are the answer for most of us, at least for now. Hopefully, more face masks and more ventilators and a new vaccine will be answers in the near future. We need more health professionals who are healthy and rested (is that ever possible??) and more hospital beds, even though the predictions say the opposite will happen. There is so much to worry about, it’s silly to stress over wipes and toilet paper. But I see the appeal of it.

Let’s distract ourselves with things we can control: human kindness, generosity, good judgment, gratefulness, and common sense. We’re all reading about what we should do and trying not to be scared. Some of us are sharing the light, humorous side of quarantine life in an effort to reach beyond our walls and connect with our neighbors. Let’s do that. Let’s not criticize humor or Scripture verses or positive sayings. Let’s all pray. And if you don’t know how or have gotten rusty, let’s learn to pray better (here’s a great book to help you)! Let’s not censure people for finding the silver lining. Let’s give grace because we can’t and don’t all handle pandemics the same way. Seriously. None of us know how to handle this.

We are all adapting, coping, adjusting, learning. We must cope and process in our own ways. None of us are taking the virus lightly any more, so let’s not assume that about people. Instead, let’s spur one another on to good works and enjoy our shared experiences.

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