March 13, 2020 is the date I will always remember as ‘Day 1’.
COVID-19, the Corona Virus, SARS-2, an epidemic and then a pandemic. Looking over my shoulder as this untangible but very real monster approached.
Friday the 13th and I shivered. Here, in San Diego California, the monsters shadow landed and our daily life veered sharply in a direction of UNKNOWN.
In truth, it was my boyfriend, Nick’s, idea to start a daily log. We found a binder and collected a stack of lined paper and wrote across the first page:
We awoke to rain.
Nick’s first official day working from home. I’m home and taking a personal day. Two weeks ago my boss alluded to remote work in our future. A week ago she went home sick and didn’t return. Then the University issued a notice: Winter Quarter finals will be online and Spring Quarter completely remote. And yet, no actual direction from my Department.
While Nick set up his personal office, I organized the pantry. Nick, inspired by Desmond from the show Lost, ordered a pull-up bar. I checked my email obsessively for news about my job.
Our first weekend under “soft-quarantine”.
We left the house for laundry quarters and crockpot fixings. Securing, for the near future, clean clothes and sustenance. Stepping into Ralph’s felt like suffocating. Too many people and not enough beans. Except for Kidney Beans. This could be their big break.
We drove through McDonalds for breakfast sandwiches. A creature comfort we knew, in our gut, would no longer be available very soon.
I vacuumed every surface while listening to the podcast: Stuff You Missed in History Class. Finding solace in learning about the famous 1500 Pastellist, Rosalba Carriera.
Only two days of somewhat isolation and we itched for the outdoors. We grabbed our tennis rackets and lucked into securing the last court at Balboa Tennis Club. Everyone knew, in their gut, this luxury would soon end.
Opening the blinds to welcome the morning we discover the paramedics and a firetruck parked on our street. The medics wear masks and sheets with sleeves. We peep through our blinds like creeps. The elderly woman from the complex next to our building appears. She is already wearing a mask and they take her away.
Ironing out our nerves with sit ups and planks and a plan.
Nick helps me draft an email to my boss and the Chief of our department. Candidly, I share my growing anxieties. Requesting a meeting on Monday and clear direction. I explain that public transportation is my only way to and from work. An hour each way in an enclosed space. I’m a conduit of germs. My options are: Pay a minimum of $60 a day for Lyft both ways or work from home. I construct a list of how remote work would positively and negatively affect my ability to do my job. The negative column is small and I follow it up with how we may solve those problems.
Nick invented a rowing machine using a muscle roller, some straps and the creative-know-how to secure it in the door frame or our office. This man knows how to conserve money and space.
The curtains of the weekend close on us watching the Bob Dylan documentary: No Direction Home.
With love & a bit of fretting,