Romantic Life Lessons

Day #37: Inevitable

Our friend had a once-in-a-generation mind, wrote books, taught, and sat at my family’s dinner table often. While most in my parents’ entourage liked to argue about important ideas, he was quieter, taking in the scene while his synapses fired on multiple planes. His measured tone brought down fiery tempers and made me feel better about my academic-lite thoughts (about Duran Duran, the Kardashians, cake). I didn’t know him well, but he is one of those regular characters who is now gone, likely from the virus. He inspired great affection in my family. Blessings on his coming and going, as my friend Lou says. We will remember him fondly and often.

Now over a month in seclusion, Sam and I take the one-day-at-a-time approach. Me, I have work as usual, which is awesome (and therapeutic). So, home is like any other day, but if you go outside, wear a mask and stay away from everyone. My mental health is solid due to decades of introverting. The goal is providing extroverted Sam with sparkling conversation, household tasks, and cooking shows. Netflix suggestions welcome!

Positive things we’ve done:

I learned how to use my new sewing machine and have made eight masks (poorly).

My Prince Charming has cooked every day for me since March 12. I’ve never eaten better in my life. There’s been okra, mac & cheese, artichokes, meatloaf, chicken, halibut, stew, pot roast, mashed potatoes, pot pie (not POT pie) and just plain deliciousness. A good meal is so satisfying. Who knew?

Am reading Glennon Doyle’s Love Warrior for the first time. Also got Untamed, which I believe just came out. Love her hide-nothing writing. My current numbness to emotions makes me AMAZED that anyone feels this much. Mindfulness is paying off since I only notice my hand typing this and not the germs hovering in this city’s every crevice. Maybe in six months, when this could be over, I’ll explode with anxiety, but I won’t worry about it yet.

Sam has become the King of Teaching Online. Knowing that this could be long-term, he immersed himself in tutorials and now makes it seem effortless. His French classes are front-row entertainment.

We’ve been watching The Great British Baking Show and there’s nothing like cooking in a tent in a beautiful part of the world (where you are not LIVING ON TOP OF millions of others).

Gotta go. Sam thinks he dropped a Band-Aid in dinner. Crisis.

Romantic Life Lessons

Day #28: From Sam

Patience has asked me to write a guest blog, or “golb,” as her stepfather would say in palindromic fashion. Palindromes are much more entertaining than pandemics, although really not that much. I have been resorting to more sarcasm than usual these past few weeks and suppose that that is owing to a higher-than-normal level of anxiety. It’s hard to narrow down the source of the latter, which might sound silly, given the fact that we are all more or less confined to our homes because of the coronavirus — new and improved!

But as one train hides another, so does one traumatic event another, and another, and another. 

Oh, where to begin? The birth canal? It was a tight squeeze, Ma, but I made it! Honestly, while I don’t remember that one, there are others that come to mind, in particular the summer of 2006 when crude Russian-made rockets rained down on Haifa for a month. There were air-raid sirens, like the kind you hear portrayed in World War II movies, and bomb shelters, neither of which would do you much good if you were in the wrong spot at the wrong time. And people died and you heard about it in the papers and on tv.

I suppose that fear is not such a bad thing. It is the natural adaptation that prevents most of us from standing too close to the edge of the cliff, pinching the cheek of the child soldier who stops up us at the roadblock or, today, leaving our homes without a facemask. That is not to underrate courage, without which we could never overcome our fear. If we lacked either, it’s safe to assume we would die off as a species. If firefighters were too afraid to fight fires, we would really be in a pickle; and, if, we threw caution to the wind and stopped looking in the rearview mirror before merging onto the interstate…. Well, you get the picture.

Without that delicate balance of hesitation and derring-do, we would hardly be of much use to one another, as couples, families, neighbors, citizens and human beings, in general. Living in close quarters – and I hope that Patience agrees — we learn to temper one another’s fear and courage. “Should you really be doing that?”, and “I think that’s okay” are really sometimes the only words that one needs to hear, bringing a loving perspective to the imperatives of day-to-day physical and emotional survival.  

Romantic Life Lessons, Whining

Day #24 of Staying Home

Greetings from Awfulville!

How is everyone doing and when is this going to end? Remember the days of *no* daily press briefings and packed streets on a Sunday?

I hopped off listening to the “coronavirus task force” updates and transferred my allegiance to local reporting since urban COVID has a different twinge and I just want facts. Today was the first day where the number of deaths had gone down from the previous day. A grizzly, sad but positive-ish sign.

Here are other positives about staying home indefinitely:

*It’s training for your future nursing home/hospice care. You make your own schedule. You get a fifth wind at 4am? Go for it. You have nowhere to be.

* Wearing a bra is optional. Sorry, Mom. You know it’s true. Your own mother is applauding this point from Heaven.

* Impulse (not affordable?) purchases are excused because mental health is crucial. I bought a trampoline and a sewing machine! In addition to wanting to help healthcare workers, I made Sam a shitty mask but it brings out his beautiful green eyes.

* Talking with loved ones rocks. I don’t need a lot of human contact. My phone convos are purely altruistic. Just kidding! I usually feel better after a good chat on the phone. It’s fascinating to learn that I actually miss people.

* Makeup tutorials are relaxing. Bobbi Brown’s MasterClass is excellent. I also enjoyed Kim Kardarshian’s five-minute contouring routine. Her use of bronzer to minimize her forehead is one I’ll attempt. Kim is a total face-Monet.

* RuPaul’s MasterClass releases endorphins. Best quote so far: “If you want money, wear a suit.” I want money. Not enough to wear a suit, but I get it: Get your lazy butt out of those pajama bottoms. Also, RuPaul recommends meditation to get in touch with one’s “frequency.” This in itself triggered deep vibrations to my frequency.

* The Tiger King! It’s depressing, entertaining, seedy, and binge-worthy in not a virtuous way. Sort of how you saw that one thing in the garbage, and even though you insist you never eat anything once it’s been discarded you go back and–ugh–wolf it down and insist this is your last depraved act. Once we finished the series, I went to my closet and gasped. Sam is terrified of me.

* You may find unexpected beauty in watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. This one will cleanse you after The Tiger King. Mr. Rogers was one of my fixtures while growing up. Hard to believe such an angel existed.

* Reading and editing heal. I never regret turning off the TV for a book. I am about to start Harlan Coben’s The Boy from the Woods.

* No more endless campaign speeches or debates. Remember when the most stressful thing was that upcoming presidential election? And the Russians. What happened to them?

In today’s briefing, our gov said that Cabin Fever will make people irritable and resentful. Because it’s now an official illness, I blame Cabin Fever for my irrational resentment of Influencers giving us advice and support, saying “We’ll get through this” and “We’re in this together.”

That’s true. But really, this is a never-before situation. We don’t know what will happen, which in itself can be bonding. Some are natural social-distancers. Some have coping skills to manage during gigantic disasters (just not the little ones). At the end of this spectrum, there are some whose suffering is on such an epic scale that “You’ll be okay” isn’t nearly enough. Healthcare, essential workers seem to be the ones who bear the brunt of everything horrific.

I don’t even know what to say except, “You’ll be okay.” What else is there when you don’t know?

There is always Yossi.