Sunday, May 03, 2020

Eight Weeks and Counting

Today is the beginning of the 8th week of the COVID-19 shutdown.  Everything has stopped.  We eat, sleep, do what exercise we can.  In the absence of the gym, and especially the water aerobics classes, I'm losing core strength.  I have to do something about that, because it means my old lower back trouble is acting up again.  Walking has been painful off and on for the last 4 days, and I'd give a lot for a personal appointment with a physical therapist, but all that's available are videos.  The doctor suggested some exercises, only two of which help at all.  I'm living on Tylenol and trying to remember to stand up straight because that seems to help; but if I want to sit anywhere, I have to use the inflatable lumbar rolls I thought I didn't need any more.  Well, I do.

I'm reading a lot.  I've gone through the 11 detective stories I borrowed from the library just before they shut down, so I'm revisiting my extensive collection of early 20th century mystery authors.  Right now I'm reading through all the Ellery Queen I have in hardback; I may have to replace some of the paperbacks with e-books, they're pretty old.  A friend has recommended Elizabeth Letts' Finding Dorothy, so I've borrowed the e-book from the local library and will start it soon.  But I'd  like to have something real to do.  I love reading, but I also like to accomplish things, and right now all the things I'd like to accomplish are out of reach.

OK, I'm depressed. I'll admit it.  I doubt I'm the only one.  I miss my friends from the exercise classes, and my friends from the chorus.  God only knows when either of those activities will be available again.  And let's not even discuss the small businesses and restaurants I like to patronize.  I talk to my friends on the phone and in Zoom, and I email them.  It's not the same.  I'm glad Governor Newsom is being cautious, but waiting for a vaccine to be able to sing in a group again is terrifying.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Life While Sheltering in Place

So now we can't leave home except for "essential purposes," or to walk or run for exercise (as long as we stay 6 feet away from anyone we meet).  I love my house but sometimes I have to get out of it; today I took a long walk, up to the top of the canyon where I live.  I used to take this walk regularly, with a cane, when I was recovering from knee replacement surgery.  It's 3/4 of a mile one way and goes up about 200 feet in altitude; a good stiff walk.

I wondered what activity I'd see, walking up the canyon on a Friday afternoon when everyone is supposed to be at home.  Quite a bit, actually. 

I passed the elementary school, and there were some small kids (with parent attendants) riding skateboards down the slight slope of one of the driveways behind the school.  Riding, here, means "sitting on."

A little farther on, I passed the baseball diamond, where a man was pitching baseballs for his teen-aged son to hit.  Further on in the sports field was a family with a picnic, a couple of guys batting a tennis ball back and forth on the grass, a woman kicking a soccer ball with her small daughter, and a couple of small boys throwing frisbees.

The major action was at the 3 public tennis courts at the end of the school sports field.  Every court had an active game, and the practice wall at the side of the courts had 2 guys hitting balls.  I assume all the tennis buffs were here because the private club, further up the canyon, was closed for the duration, with all the other fitness facilities.

Farther up the canyon, I saw people walking dogs, people walking without dogs, bicyclists with kids on bicycles, bicyclists without kids.  There weren't many people, but I was definitely not the only one out.  I'm not sure why but it made me feel better.

Friday, March 13, 2020


I haven't been posting much; Christmas and its aftermath was very chaotic.  And now what we all thought was a sad epidemic in China is a global pandemic, and it's right here in my town, where everyone agrees with China that the best way to cope with it is for everyone to stay home and not mix with other people.

Part of the problem, of course, is that our brilliant government decided it didn't need a team of pandemic experts on standby (Trump fired them in 2018).  And when a real pandemic came along, they decided we should build our own test kits instead of using the ones from the WHO, like most other countries.  And because Trump has also been gutting the funding for the Centers for Disease Control, the first test kits they sent out were unusable because they were missing a part.  China's epidemic is tailing off, South Korea is testing hundreds of thousands of people, and the U.S. can't get off the ground.  California has almost 40 million people, and we have about 8,000 available test kits, some of which don't have all the necessary parts.  Who's the 3rd world country now? 

I may go crazy.  I don't usually put personal information in these posts, but I'll admit that I'm over 70 and I have asthma.  Treated and controlled asthma, but asthma.  So here I am, a prime target for the virus; and there's nothing I can do but wash my hands.  Which I do.  But I'm a very social person; I need to interact with people.  And the "stay home and shut up" advice is steadily shutting down all my options.  My chorus rehearsals - cancelled through the end of the month.  The concerts we had tickets for - cancelled.  If I'm stuck in the house, my solution is to read - I just learned that the city is closing all its libraries "until further notice."

The uncertainty of all this is not helping.  I'm a problem solver by nature; the pandemic is a problem I can't do one single thing about.  And nobody knows how long it will last.