12 Apr 2020 Pandemic Sky
On March 1st I attended an all-day business workshop.
On March 2nd I had the glorious opportunity to meet with more than a dozen audiobook publishers.
On March 3rd I attended the national narrator meeting at the SAG-AFTRA offices in NYC. It was pouring rain.
I am grateful.
Those were the last group events I attended.
On March 12th, just over a week later, John & I had tickets to see Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen on Broadway. But things were shifting fast. We watched. We waited. At about 3 o’clock that afternoon, Broadway shut down. Our tickets were refunded. Everything changed.
It was strange at first, but manageable. Information was rapid fire and it was never certain one moment to the next what was true, what was false, what was wishful thinking, what was dread. Between social media and news coverage 24/7, we found ourselves saturated and overwrought. We planned meals, we zoomed. We coordinated watch parties, discussed projects, tried to manage unease through motion and constant activity.
So that didn’t work.
The dread stayed, the motion didn’t. Time started to stretch, twist and contract, its shape-changing properties unexpected within the everyday mundane. Our lives altered bit by bit. We limited our grocery visits, bringing home larger hauls rather than little portions at a time. Coraline’s walks got shorter. The last time I went for a run was on March 18th. We learned to love the masks.
April 4th was the first time I’d ever stood in line to enter a grocery store. The whole in-person grocery experience is now an adrenaline-packed race against time.
I am grateful. For food, for shelter, for health. For being holed up with companions. For a bit of work during these most unusual days.
But there is a strangeness, an uncanny, unsettled weight that lingers on every surface and swirls uneasily around us. And it seems that may be with us for the foreseeable future.
Notes from the front:
There is a line around the block to get into the supermarket. The wait is 20 or 30 minutes.
They are only letting in a handful of people at a time.
Which seems like it should be great! But it’s not.
The inside of my mask smells funny.
There is an old woman in front of the chicken. She doesn’t move.
Which vegetables have been handled? How much?
I’ve touched this potato. I don’t want it, but I picked it up to look at it and think I own it now. I put it in my basket.
Who’s handled this basket?
The mask smells.
I would like to get some chicken, but … there is an old woman.
There is still no granulated sugar.
The woman has moved. There are no thighs. I move on.
My mask smells funny.
I can’t see. The mask fogs my glasses and I can’t see any prices. Or ingredients.
I move my glasses. I pull on the mask.
I’ve touched my face, I wasn’t supposed to do that, isn’t this mask defeating its own purpose?
I see people and leap away. They think I’m crazy. They might be right.
There is tape on the floor at the registers, 6 foot markings.
There is plexiglass between me and the checker.
I bag my own.
There are ambulances on my block.
There were ambulances last night one block over.
Inside my building it smells like burnt toast.
I can smell!