Thursday, April 16, 2020

Have You Sanitized the Cat Yet?

Our daily rituals are now opportunities for infection. I find myself in a constant internal dialogue about cleanliness. Have you sanitized the doorknobs since receiving that package? You left it outside for 24 hours in the sunshine, then brought it into the kitchen where you took out the contents. You wiped the contents down, broke down the box, put the box in the recycling outside, and then you washed your hands, but did you sanitize the doorknob? The light switch? What else did you touch? Should you sanitize the cat? And what about your shoes? Have you cleaned your shoes? On the news last night they were saying that steps you take could be steps toward infection. The virus might be on your soles now.

Yesterday morning we discussed what dinner ingredients we had and I darkly joked that we wouldn't have anything to talk about at 3 p.m. since we now had a plan. We are fortunate to be food secure here, for the moment. Plenty of tuna and chickpeas, leafy greens growing, and Dan bakes bread. I look forward to the day when what we are growing we are able to share.

Our lives are so routine I can tell you where I'll be in an hour and a half, or in three hours, or at 6 p.m. In a normal world, routine is comforting, but this kind of routine is different. It's an attempt to control time, similar to how life in a nursing home operates. I'm hyper-aware of the hour. I have about another 30 minutes before I'll be sitting at the kitchen table with my husband, discussing our plans for the day.

I took a break from Facebook to avoid the endless scrolling, and everyone else's anxieties, tips and advice, and the constant stream of videos, free entertainment, and good ideas.

Am I being more productive? Not really. I feel frozen, unable to fire up the engines of energy required to pursue any purposeful project, be it paying work, or non-paying pursuits that I have begun and have stalled, collaborations, writing groups, attempts at juggling, and piano practice.

Laundry gets done. I clean the floors on my hands and knees. Animal care predicates a lot of my daily schedule, as does meal planning. I am capable of daily movement (circus training, yoga, walking) and writing, and that is about all. It feels useless at this time, but it is what I can do, and what makes me feel normal and sane.

Yesterday, after propping up a sagging maple branch, treating the goats to some pear scraps from breakfast, and collecting kindling for a fire, I walked out and looked into the surface of the pond. What I saw was a slice of the world upside down, and I knew I could stand and stare at it for as long as I wanted without having to wash my hands.

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