On March 8, 2020, I went to dinner at a lovely seaside restaurant with 15 friends and acquaintances from my Widows/Widowers group. On March 10, 2020, I did not give it a second thought when my quarterly supply of toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues, arrived on my doorstep from Amazon. On March 12, 2020, I woke up to find myself a character in a Stephen King novel set in the Twilight Zone.
I remembered the bewilderment and confusion on the faces of the protagonists on the Twilight Zone TV show when they realized they were trapped in an alternate universe where nothing was familiar or reasonable. I remembered the terror of the inexplicably immune heroes in Stephen King’s novels as they tried to flee a virus that killed everyone in their town except them. I remembered their horrified reactions when they realized it was not only their town that was affected but the entire planet.
In March, April, May……….I watched, in real-time, the TV news reports showing restaurants, bars, schools, theaters, gyms…………everything shut down in the WORLD, as the entire worlds’ population quarantined in their homes. I felt the same bewilderment and confusion as the characters in the TV and novels I mentioned above. For the first week, I thought I could go to sleep and wake up the next day to normalcy, breathing a sigh of relief that it had all been a horrible nightmare. I tried it. I went to sleep, woke up the next day, turned on the TV, and to my dismay, discovered that it had not been a nightmare. Well, not a sleeping one anyway. It was a real one, one in which I was as trapped as those characters in the Twilight Zone TV show and Stephen King novels.
8 ½ months, countless video doctor appointments, various Zoom get-togethers, a new website launch, and precious bi-weekly in-person meetings with a select group of “Bubble Buddies” later, my life, priorities, and understanding of my parents’ generation have been altered forever. Here are the top 10 lessons that these months have taught me:
- I only need 3 sheets of toilet paper to do the job on which I used to waste 6.
- It is better to keep track of paper goods ( as in counting toilet paper rolls every month) as you go along, and buy one package each week, rather than try to stock up when the shelves are bare.
- Although it astounded me at the time, I now understand why my Auntie Freida, who grew up during the Depression, reused unstained aluminum foil. I used to watch in fascination as she would remove it from a covered dish, fold it up, and put it into a drawer to be used later. “It’s wasteful to throw away perfectly good, usable foil”, she told me. As I have come to learn, especially if, in the year 2020, there isn’t any on the grocery store shelves.
- Gray hair is not that terrible. Okay, well, I say this as I never go out in public without my blonde wig, BUT that is because when I recovered from my illnesses and came off of my medications, my hair grew back smooth on one side, spiked on the other, and frizzy on top. Gray hair is one thing; a Heinz 57 Variety hairdo is quite another, and one I am not comfortable displaying to the public.
- I still hate certain household chores and being afforded an unlimited amount of time to tackle them does not mean I spent my quarantined time doing them. Almost 9 months into this pandemic, my garage still looks like an episode of Hoarders, and my office is still buried under 5 years of paperwork.
- Sitting and resting is overrated. I love to sit and read….and knit….and write, but not 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. So I got up and out, and that is how I ended up walking 5 miles at a time four days a week. (https://talktimewithjoan.com/?s=walking+queen )
- Paying $60 for a restaurant meal that fits into a teacup is just plain foolish. I am rediscovering cooking, and it’s not so bad. Since my bariatric surgery and massive weight loss, I am limited in what I can eat. Cooking my own meals assures me that the food is clean and healthy. Even though restaurants SAY a dish is “healthy” and low in sodium, it’s their version of “healthy”, which means it contains ¼ cup of salt instead of ½ a cup. I always come home from a restaurant meal with fingers so bloated I can’t bend them.
- I am deafer than I thought. Before the pandemic, I was aware that my hearing was not all it should have been. Either that or the entire population was whispering. But now, trying to hear what people are saying with masks covering their mouths is a Herculean task that has me bending forward, leaning in, and turning my head like a curious dog, somehow thinking that will increase the volume of their voices. It doesn’t.
- Online shopping is a quick and easy pathway to bankruptcy.
- And the best lesson I have learned during this quarantined time is…………One does not have to get on the scale during a VIRTUAL doctor visit!!!! https://talktimewithjoan.com/?s=how+much+do+earrings+weigh
What about you? I would love to hear what you have learned during your time of quarantine, essential goods shortages, and Zooming. Share with us in the comment section.
This is great as usual! You are a wonderful writer!
Thanks, Linda. If you need toilet paper, you know where to come. LOL.
Ditto on your list!! Especially about the TP and PT. IF people would just get what they need and not be oinky about products we could avoid shortages of all kinds.
I , too, rather like the idea of no scale when on a telemed session 😋 with the doctor. But I do go out on certain missions, grocery store, pharmacy but now with more draconian shutdowns probably no haircuts, but I do hope the physical therapist keeps open. The walking has taken off here too. I think folks may be adopting dogs to keep the walking going too. About the chores, I hear ya. Makes me wonder if we are living in the same house!? Thank goodness for zoom and face time!
Good to hear from you, Mimi. I feel kind of bad when I look at my office and garage………I feel as if I wasted a lot of my quarantine time, but then I look at this website, which was done entirely on quarantine time, and I say……….Hey, wait a minute. You did a lot of stuff, just not the cleaning kind of stuff. I’d rather write and create than clean any day. 🙂