The End (of Isolation) is Near

And I Am Not Sure How I Feel About It

I am not one of those people who thrives in the face of adversity, more specifically isolation, quarantine and a global pandemic. It would be a stretch to say that I am even getting the hang of it.

But I now have my own systems in place after weeks under the stay at home order and the gradual reopening of the economy threatens to upset this delicate, new order I have created.

Leaving the House

My husband, Tony, used to make fun of me when we would head out for a bite or to run errands together. I would invariably perform a last-minute recon of the entire apartment for some item I thought I was forgetting: my keys, my wallet, grocery list, sunglasses, lip balm.

Fast forward to the Coronavirus pandemic. You can only imagine the impact in real time the virus has had on me leaving the house. It began when I read an article from Johns Hopkins that said that the virus molecules can hide in the micro cracks that occur from frequent handwashing. The solution is to apply moisturizing lotion liberally to those areas.

I extrapolated this advice to include my face. Now a whole new skincare routine has been established prior to heading outside. Before each outing, I apply an impenetrable barrier of moisturizer. Then, like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, I declare to the Covid-19 molecules: “You shall not pass!”


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Hunting and Gathering

Friends have told me that they only leave the house once a week to shop. I have no idea how they are doing this. No matter how many fresh fruits and veggies I bring home from a shopping trip, they invariably run out before the one-week mark. To my knowledge, there is no substitute for romaine lettuce from the quarantine kitchen hackers. How else can I make Chopped Greek Salad that is almost as good as local takeout? I stock up on moisturizer and make multiple trips.

Pandemic Gives New Meaning to Personal Protection

I know I am not alone in feeling that suiting up for a grocery run is like going to the front lines of a war zone. The “I volunteer as tribute” memes resonate.

We were given some pleated medical masks by a family member who had extras. After days of going out looking like novices, we now have it on good authority that the blue side faces out. I pinch the bridge of the mask to get a good fit. I love demonstrating this to first timers.I wear my contact lenses on all trips to the outside world. My prescription glasses make my mask fog up the minute I start breathing, which is currently not optional.

The Internet sensed the problem I was having with said fogging and kindly began putting a solution in front of me on social media and in news alerts. Thanks, Internet!

Hand in Glove

I have attempted to perfect the subtle ballet that is wearing gloves during a pandemic. Gloves give me an added sense of security, but they also pose problems. I put them on before I leave the house. With them on, I then proceed to touch the car, the steering wheel, the grocery cart and every item I put into the cart.

On one recent outing, I could not get my debit card out of my wallet with my gloves on. I had to take them off in order to get it out. Then I used my bare fingers to type my debit card code. Then I put the glove back on = Epic Fail. If grocery shopping during a pandemic were a video game, I would be losing health points. I am still perfecting this, don’t judge.

Of Bags and Shortages

We were accustomed to bringing our own bags to the grocery store long before it was mandated. Now reusable shopping bags are seen as potential virus carriers. I have literally been chased out of Price Chopper for bringing my own bag.

I do not look for toilet paper because I do not want to jinx it. If I go down the aisle and there is some remaining, the Universe must have wanted me to have it.

Clorox wipes may never be available again in my lifetime. I am okay with that. I have created my own hack for them however it requires a spray bottle of Clorox Clean Up. One day I found two left on a shelf and felt like I had won the lottery.

The Next Normal

This crisis is bigger than me. I feel for the nurses, hospital workers, first responders, delivery workers and grocery store personnel who are really on the front lines of this pandemic.

Now there are rumblings of restrictions being eased as the spread of the virus shows signs of slowing. For their sake, I hope it happens. We have to trust that those decisions will be reached after much due diligence. When that happens, I know I will readjust, yet again.

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