(For Day 1, go here).
First things first, one very important victory on this first day of working from home with Ashley: she did not kill me when I hung the toilet paper the wrong way.
It’s surprising me, what I’m noticing: the air is clean and the helicopters are calm and the background noise is gone. I also can’t help but notice that I keep getting overwhelmed with the enormity of all this. Most likely, I keep hearing, we’re going to be in this for at least eighteen months, if not longer, with maybe a few breaks here and there. The enormity of the human suffering this will cause is painful to even try to comprehend. It’s hard not to wonder how this is all supposed to work. I can’t imagine what this means for so many, but I can imagine one cost to me: My dad will almost certainly die in that time. Will I be allowed to go to his funeral? Will I ever see him again? If I assume everyone has something like that going on, what does it mean to extrapolate that kind of cost to 7 billion people? And what of all the billions who don’t have the community resources I do?
Ashley and I went for a constitutional tonight. Ashley loves the word constitutional. A friend of ours thought that a constitutional was a poop, and every time Ashley told her we were going on a constitutional, she thought we were pooping together. I guess she thought that was our thing. It is not our thing. But we do walk. And there was a clear view of the sunset and the skyline, and I started to fall in love with my neighborhood in a way I don’t think I have before. And this tough guy walking a little yapper dog with a chain collar made a wide berth around us as we walked, and I saw a woman in her kitchen doing the dishes with an N-95 mask on.
How long can people stay this way?
Besides all the fear, my mind is slowing down, and not in a bad way. Something about having less stimulus and less fear of failure is making my brain feel like it’s … I don’t know, capable of more? And also, why is it now, when the whole system is failing and I may be facing houselessness and poverty, I feel less afraid of failing? What does that say about me? Or maybe more accurately, what does that say about the story I was telling myself about success? I told myself 1000 times that life isn’t a competition, but I never believed it. I never believed it because I knew that it was, because that is exactly how it is set up. But now, for at least a minute, it’s not a competition, and if I fail, it is not about me. I guess I’m at my best when I feel safe to live my life like it’s not about me. I can’t blame myself for a pandemic, after all.
I keep hearing about all these animals coming out into our cities. The dolphins in the Venice canals! The elephants getting drunk in Yunan. The mountain lions in people’s backyards. It makes me think how quickly the world will forget us, how quickly it will heal, once we are gone, and I wonder sometimes if we are a bit of a plague ourselves. But also, that can’t be right — any species that has Nina Simone can’t be all bad. We’ve gotta figure out how to stop being a plague, for Nina.
Here is Ashley and Chirpa dancing to Lilac Wine.