🍸Friday Happy Hour, April 17, 2020

I've started sketching humorous little comics in this weird, isolating period of pandemic. --SRB

I have run out of vodka. Not only that, I’ve run out of olives. 

Now, there are many things about this pandemic we are in that are more important than my inability to make myself a martini at the end of the day, but I’m mourning the loss just the same. Just as you are most likely mourning the loss of something seemingly small, but none-the-less important, to your idea of “the good life.” 

(If you’ve lost a person to this pandemic, I offer you my sincere condolences. Please know that I know death of a loved one far overshadows my inability to make myself a stupid cocktail. Ditto the loss of a job, a business, a graduation. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.)

Part of my frustration (acknowledging that this is coming from a place of privilege) is knowing that right across the road from my apartment complex are both a grocery store and a liquor market…but I can’t go out! I haven’t left the confines of my two-bedroom apartment in over 30 days. 

One month ago, hubby and I ventured forth to go the the tax preparer’s office to sign documents and write checks, and then on the way home we stopped by the local Ralph’s to stock up on groceries. That is the last day I took the stairs, carried a grocery bag , stepped on a sidewalk, talked in person to someone outside my immediate family, or crossed a street. 

I’m beginning to wonder how agoraphobic and weak I’ll be when all this is over–and for me it won’t be over until there is a vaccine. Twelve to eighteen months from now, according to experts.

I can’t be on house arrest for twelve months without vodka, peeps! 

Okay, yes I can. 

I can rearrange my definition of the good life. Right now, I’m struggling against change. But perhaps accepting change, even guiding change, is the kind of practice we need right now because if this crisis in which we find ourselves has done nothing else positive, it has shown us the cracks in the systems by which we live. We see more clearly the inequality, the unsustainability, the sheer harried busy-ness of our lives that puts so much stress on our families, our children, our minds, our bodies. It shows us how unprepared our leaders are for crisis and how little we are able to care for ourselves, really, when the systems glitch. 

I’m trying not to panic. I’m following my old routines of reading, writing, cooking, watching Netflix. In fact, if I’m honest, my daily routine hasn’t been impacted very much other than missing my daily walk, my evening cocktail, and, yes, socializing out in public. And yet…and yet….

I don’t feel the same satisfaction in my pursuits at this time, knowing the world out there is in lockdown, that we don’t know when things will get back to normal, that I’m not even sure I want things to go back exactly to normal anyway. I’m all stirred up inside. 

I eat, but my appetite isn’t ever fully sated. I dread both going to bed at night and getting up in the morning. I miss people, but I am reluctant to reach out on the phone. I’m restless, but I find it difficult to exercise. My mind races, but I’m indifferent about meditation. I’m grateful, so grateful, for all that I have and for my continued good health, but I’m worried. About getting sick. About my loved ones far and near getting sick. About the economy. About what society will look like by this time next year. 

Worrying is not the way to live a good life in crazy times. I know this, but I don’t know what to do about it. 

I have no answers. Maybe there are no answers. I only have my experiences as you have yours. We are all feeling lots of emotions right now. All I can do is send out my love to you. Know that I am wishing you peace, a measure of contentment, joy where you can find it, safety, security, and health. We have to believe that this will pass and things will be better again. 

Cheers, my friends. 

Shelley

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Well, I made a mock margarita, with Tequila, sugar lime juice and a smash of grape juice….after the first couple of sips…..it’s starting to taste like a tube margarita!!

    1. That’s another good thing…we are having to access our creativity and “can-do” and “make-shift” attitudes. We’ll all be MacGyver after this. (If anyone doesn’t know who MacGyver is, you need to catch up with the oldies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGyver) Cheers, my friend!

  2. I can relate to so much of what you expressed here, Shelley. So much to think about – thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for reading and replying, Debbie! I’m sure what I’m feeling is not at all unique to me. Hoping that knowing we are all in this together, rooting for each other, NOT judging others too harshly on their choices of how to shelter in place and social-distance. This is something I’ve been thinking about, how it is easier for some of us to social distance than others. Not everyone has the same resources as other people. Boy, I wish I had my chest freezer right about now! I can only store so much in my little apartment freezer and refrigerator. On the flip side, I don’t have to use a gas pump very often. I’m very lucky I’m not food insecure, having to drive and sit in a huge line of cars just to get a bag of food to feed my kids.

  3. Really delightful hearing your ‘writing’ voice. Aptly spoken. Little things mean a lot. So do the bigger events. For that, I sincerely empathize with the lost loved ones, missed elderly parent visits, as well as shattering life events of virtual graduations, job loss, missed/postponed weddings and showers for bride, baby and beyond. Rules and social norms are in flux right now. I feel fortunate for starting seeds indoors a ‘fortnight’ ago, sprouts everywhere in the ‘wall of windows’ in our home. AND for EXCITING NATURE NEWS- AMPHIBIAN’S EGGS!
    ‘BIG NIGHT’ is the term. ( liv/em & boyfriend connor went out @ 8:00 on brown rd. in baldwin by the bog). All amphibians head to wetlands IN SPRING after 3 days of rain @ 40degree temps. after the final really big storm. Salamanders/wood frogs and Peepers were all crossing rd. to lay eggs in the bog! The kids were trying to aid in the process. They took lots of pictures – some black salamanders w/yellow spots of 7′ in size…said the Peepers hurt their ears it was so loud! Saw a predatory bard Owl looking @ creatures for good eating snacks. Kids were out for 2hours. Said lots of rd kill down there, and less on west saddleback less traveled rd. I guess certain regions that experience that weather pattern have the laying all on same night…IT ONLY HAPPENS ONCE A YEAR!. Portland’s was a week or so ago, and then Farmington will be next. I guess you can find it by knowing about or looking up amphibians/maine/ the ‘big night’ maybe.🌧⚡🌬💦🐢🐸🐢✨☀
    Happy that I can get outside in this Rural setting to kayak/walk/run. Feeling slightly emotionally unglued by lack of people in the flesh interaction, but lucky I have 4 family members in house and cat-who provides endless entertainment. My Emotions I consider directly linked to SPRING CHANGE, and the other people changes I have no control over like the virus and work. I am working for school from home….double edged sword-I T nightmares abound, but fb group w/ my t1 gang, and ed. podcasts great, and the highlight of my day; Raking River edge Trails behind the school. More folks have shared in the endeavor, which is truly fortifying.
    I can’t imagine how It’s going indoors for you. I am so very sorry. It is commendable how well you have switched gears to make your space a thoughtful creative, entertaining hideaway for you and your family. All my love and support Shellley.

    1. Hearing the spring peepers is one of my favorite times of the year! I did not know any of that about the Big Night with creatures crossing the road, etc. But I do know back at the Maine house, the owl calls became MUCH more prevalent during peeper season. Nothing better, in my opinion, than lying in bed in late April with the windows open and listening to those peepers, true harbingers of spring! Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Michelle.

  4. Love your sketch…you’ve got a real future in the New Yorker!

    1. Haha,no. But I’m having some fun with it.

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