“I have been drunk now for over two weeks…”
The line from the Jimmy Buffet song Margaritaville keeps ringing in my head. I haven’t been drunk for two weeks, but there’s definitely been some drinking going on at our house. Not that it helps. I wake up every day and it’s the same bad news- worse than the day before actually. First thing in the morning, I check my phone to see how many more people have died of coronavirus. You know things are bad, when you’re waiting for a peak of deaths, because at that point, it will go down. I keep waiting for someone to call “Olly, olly oxen free,” and tell me it’s all over and we can come out and play.
Sometimes when I’ve had too much to drink, I have an urge to run, to hide, to escape. I’ve had that urge since this whole thing started, but there’s nowhere to run to, no place to hide and nowhere to escape to. The coronavirus is EVERYWHERE. No place is sacred or exempt. I don’t think I ever took for granted my basic freedom of being able to get in the car and go wherever I wanted, or hop on a plane and fly somewhere new and exotic. Now- not happening .
I consider myself an introvert with a social streak; I never knew how much I would miss people. Friends- to have lunch, drinks, dinner with, or just chat and hang out. I miss my Book Club, tennis team, yoga class, Cookbook Book Club, Happy Hour buddies. I think it’s why people kept going to the grocery store (and some still are) long after being advised not to. It was the last place you could see people (that you weren’t already stuck with), the last everyday task that felt remotely normal.
“Why are people still going to the grocery store?” my sister Kelley demanded to know.
“It’s the last thing we have,” I answered.
I even miss people on the street, total strangers, although now that doesn’t feel safe either. I’m staying far enough away that they can’t cough or sneeze on me, but what if the person walking in front of me JUST coughed or sneezed? The diabolical air droplets carrying dreaded coronavirus can linger in the air for HOURS.
Most of all, I miss my family. And Wyatt. It’s so hard to see him in the car and not be able to kiss and hug him. That’s what grandmothers are for. He would usually yell “Gigi!” and run into my arms for a big hug and a kiss.
“I’m sorry I can’t be close to you,” he said yesterday, as he stood a safe distance away and looked at the radish sprouts we’d we planted in my garden.
It wasn’t lost on me that my four-year-old grandson has more common sense and understands the imminent danger of “the virus” as he calls it, better than a lot of adults I’ve encountered lately.
“Me too,” I told him. “When this is all over, I’m gonna give you a big old fat kiss and hug!”
It’s like what they would say when I used to go to Mass: “when two or more are gathered in his name”. There’s something about the collective, the experience of a mass of people that is different than the individual. Netflix at home is not the same as going to the movies. Even though I often go to the movies by myself, there’s something about watching a movie in a movie theatre with other people. You feed off their energy, pick up on it, ride with it. You laugh with them at funny parts, cry together at the sad, applaud at the end. And now- gone.
I’d been watching Ellen reruns, for a cheerful thing to do at 3 p.m. Last Monday she started broadcasting from her home in L.A. Normally, of course, she has a studio audience. Now, she’s by herself. She interviewed JLo (who lives right down the street from me, by the way) and JLo said: “I miss people.”
Yep, JLo. Me too.
And to quote another song, from The Boss, I can’t wait for someone to “Meet me out in the street.” Sans mask.
Good Friday to all and stay safe.
Up Next: How to Instacart (because you shouldn’t be going to the grocery store) and Foods to eat to fight Viruses!