This. Just. Sucks.
Day 1 of the Declaration of a National Emergency
It was Friday, the 13th. The day I decided it was time to stop going out of the house, other than for food. No gym, no meetings. I had finally gotten into a good groove going to the gym and was seeing results. Time to stop. Sucks.
Deciding to sit still is a challenging change for me. I reached out to friends digitally. I heard from one friend that she was cancelling her pregnant daughter’s wedding which they’d been planning for months. Sucks.
I finally resigned myself that it was fine to watch a stupid movie on television. Coco the Chihuahua scrambled under the blanket with me on the couch as I watched “Due Date” starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis.
It was easy to follow the movie while continuing to check my phone for conversations from friends.
At one point, I got a very short pornographic video clip from Pete with whom I’d been in digital contact a few days prior to discuss meeting for a certain type of sex. He found video and sent it. I told him I was doing social distancing so it would have to wait. Sucks. I had a very good laugh when the video unexpectedly popped up while I was zoning out in front of the tv.
My brother who is based in San Francisco cancelled his trip for next week with his new partner to visit our parents who are 85 and 86 years old. They planned it in mid-February before the exponential spread of the virus. At the risk of sounding dramatic, who knows if he will ever see them again? Or if they will ever get to meet his partner? Sucks.
He runs an Airbnb and watched his reservations for the coming months slowly but surely slip away. Sucks.
His reserve savings dwindled from the crash of the stock market this week. Sucks.
My estranged husband had to cancel a European vacation with his girlfriend scheduled for next week. Sucks.
At the end of the day, it was time to travel to our place in Pennsylvania to hole up for the weekend. Doesn’t suck so much to have an escape.
My boyfriend and I took a risk and stopped at a diner on the way for dinner. We gave a lot of thought to the restaurant we would choose to patronize during what will surely be a serious downturn in business for so many. Sucks.
It was startling when we arrived at Dingman’s Ferry Bridge to cross the Delaware River and found no one there to collect tolls. I have been driving across this last privately owned toll bridge on the Delaware for over 19 years and have never seen it unattended.
85 million cars travel across this bridge every year. It is one of the last few privately owned toll bridges in the United States. There is no EZ pass lane. The tolls are collected by hand by 18 part time toll takers. I figured they made a wise but costly decision to not put people out there around the clock to take tolls. There was a sign on the toll booth that simply said “No Toll”. It was spooky. Nice for travelers, sucks for the Dingman family who will lose thousands of dollars a day.
Days 2 and 3 of the National Emergency:
The next few days were filled with bad news coming in from around the world with the Coronavrus spreading exponentially everywhere. We hunkered down in the cabin at the lake. We had good food. We had wine. Plenty of music.
We had stories to tell. Some good. Some not so good.
We made love like it was the end of the world. We took naps. It didn’t suck so much.
By Sunday afternoon it was time to start a “return to reality” since my boyfriend had to go to work on Monday. It sucks that his job requires him to be physically present and interact with people all day. He delivers supplies to auto body shops.
The bridge was still deserted. We drove through streets quieted by fear. I grew concerned for all the businesses we passed that were obviously suffering. I focused on the music on the radio and sang out loud as much as I could. I was grateful for the sunshine.
The return to reality has been both harsh in terms of seeing more of what’s happening around the world, and comforting in that I am home and staying there for the forseeable future. It’s warm in my house and we have food.
It appears we must face restrictions about leaving our homes, close schools, gyms, businesses, restaurants, bars and more.
At the same time, we must keep an eye out for where we can feel gratitude.
As Mr. Rogers always said, “Look for the helpers.”
The message seems to have morphed in a very short time from “wash your hands” to “stay home.”
This. Just. Sucks.