Thursday, April 23, 2020

Quarantine, Day 40

Next door, my neighbors are planting a garden. They are mowing the lawn, and pulling up weeds. Sometimes, their sons play badminton on the lawn, a net that goes up and comes down.

Outside, there are people walking. In singles, and in pairs. Sometimes there’s a family of five—two kids on bikes, one in a jogging stroller pushed by a mom in yoga pants, followed by a dad on the phone. White masks, blue masks, patterned-scarf masks.

It’s still cold out.

I’ve been inside, mostly.

My days are similar and not. I am still working from home. I am still parenting at home. I am still making breakfast, and brushing toddler-sized teeth. Calling after them to get changed, and to wash their hands, and to clean up their messes. I am still folding laundry, and I am still making grocery lists, and I am still sending emails.  

I am drowning.

In worries about work and about family. About making sure that’s wiped down, and that’s washed. About baking that, and starting this. About finding the right words, and about when that check is going to come in.

I’ve been wanting to lie down, mostly.

I try to string words together and I get about halfway there and then it peters out, as if the string fell slack and everything followed suit.

I think about reading that career-focused book. I think about reading that inspirational book. 

I miss things, and I don’t. I want to sit in my usual spot, surrounded by magazines. I don’t want anyone else to know what I do with my day.

I feel guilty, mostly.

Every meme and every post and every everything tells you: It’s ok! It’s not the time! Just be happy to be! Look at all this time we have! Look at the puzzle I made! The signs I made! The detailed multi-colored projects I made!

We all rationalize it in different ways. My best friend who works till 2am every day, tells me that she woke up at noon, but it was ok, because sometimes you need it. No schoolwork got done today, someone else says, too many things were ordered today, someone else says, but it's ok because sometimes we need it. The friends whose kids are on iPads, and the friends who kids aren’t. But it’s ok, because sometimes they need it.

A collective convincing.

I watch TV and read my books and think and think and think. But it’s ok, because sometimes I need it.

Every thought I have is fragmented. Starts and then stops. There’s nowhere for them to go. And then: if I didn’t waste this hour, if I didn’t waste this thought, I could have read something, or finished something. Accomplished something.

But it’s ok if you don’t! Now’s not the time! But the time feels crushing. And it takes so much effort to talk, to fix, to pretty. It takes so much effort to get your shoes on, and your jacket on, and your patterned-makeshift mask on.

It’s so much.
It’s ok! Not right now!

Because sometimes we need it.