Mary Beth Writes

This morning I listened to my UU congregation’s virtual service. In the sermon Rev. David Kraemer AKA my friend Dave, read a quote that he said he read in one of my diary entries this past week.

The quote is from Albert Camus’ The Plague. “It may seem a ridiculous idea, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.” Another character asks what decency is. “Doing my job,” the doctor replies.

The essay Dave remembered is not, alas, mine. He must have read this very powerful piece in the NYT that I highly recommend.  Read it here.  

Do you know how flattered I feel to have been conflated with a writer for the NYT?  Thank you, Dave, for the compliment.

I am living a great deal of my quarantined life in rabbit holes. 

I need to know how to make sourdough starter because the two we have tried so far have not worked. So I google it but there are 17 different ways to begin starters and I should pick one of them except one of the side links leads to the intriguing your woman who has dozens of short videos showing how she makes everything in her life from materials and plants she gathers from her Chinese mountainside. She is young and beautiful and rarely speaks except in Chinese (of course) to her grandmother. They look like Fairy Tales characters. This is just one of them. There are many. 

Or questions arise (when helping your kid do schoolwork, or an email conversation with your cousin, or your smarty-pants partner makes some smarty-pants remark that you think is wrong). You Wikipedia the question at hand, and what you learn is so interesting you decide you need to read a book about it, but that means downloading the library’s Libby program to your old Kindle.

Right then, your daughter sends you a picture of your grandkids or your grand-cat.

Where did the day go?

Just me? 

I’m living in rabbit holes.

Are you getting used to quarantined life?  Things are different now.

  • Last night we dealt with this week’s groceries without inventing a plan about how to do it. Len picked it up at the store at our appointed time slot.  We soaked, dunked, or wiped everything we brought in the house, then threw away all the plastic bags.  A mere month ago I was proud of the non-disposable produce bags I used at the store.  We’re tossing plastic again. 
  • Sitting on the sofa to listen to my church’s sermon (which I like, can we put sofas in the sanctuary when this is over?).
  • I’m no longer asking if I can pet cute dogs when I’m out walking. The dog doesn’t need my germs and I don’t need his.
  • I step into the grass or a driveway to let other walkers pass me by.
  • I text my children most evenings to ask them how their days were, and amazingly often, they answer!  They aren’t on their way out to anything, either. (Actually, our son has taken up evening fishing.)
  • It’s hard to remember what day it is.
  • I am on social media more than I’ve been in my life but I’m not giving myself a hard time about it.  So much is informative or touching or FUNNY!
  • I see families out for a walk together.
  • The low price of gas.
  • The world is quieter. I miss the all-day merry-go-round of sports teams at the Carroll University soccer field we can see from our bedroom window. Saturdays and Sundays are now as quiet as Tuesdays. 
  • Being with people, even virtually, evokes little moments of delight. I feel the juice of sociability that sort of bubbles up inside me and causes a smile to pop.

What’s a new routine for you?

Comments

TY

I’m learning how to use Zoom! This morning I “went” to my church’s coffee hour. But I have disabling anxiety, so when I saw all the people, most of whom I know and like, I panicked and closed the iPad cover. When I opened it again, there was a microphone symbol. When I touched it all of the people came back! Could they hear me? I closed the cover and tip-toed around the apartment. Then I got a text from a friend [wink], the pastor thought I might be having difficulty getting on, so the helped me. First experience survived. Maybe next time I’ll talk!
Mary Beth's picture

Zoom is powerfully and curiously helpful... we need each other's faces. I think we must be wired this way. The way a dog will walk into a room, come over and get us to pet it a little, thus making face and voice recognition happen - and then it settles down. We sort of know who we still are when we see each others' faces.

It was good to see familiar faces. Living alone I don’t see many. Thank heaven for Zoom. On Monday we are having an extended family “gathering”.

My Great niece is supposed to move into a new apartment on May 1st and is expecting her first child... She's concerned about she and the baby being affected by the corona virus... She's staying in as much as she can... She was planning a baby shower before this all started which is now not going to happen... She's also worried about having to deliver the baby alone in the hospital which is putting more of a strain on her already worried mind...
Mary Beth's picture

That's a lot of unknowns for her. We wish her well.
Mary Beth's picture

Wait. Do I know this great niece? Axia?

Nope, Sonia the oldest of Faye's kids... I can't remember if you met her at the funeral or not. The reminder of that dreadful time is right around the corner.( I hate Easter for reminding me ) She's the young woman in the photo with Mother in the "Sofrito" story...
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. And best heartfelt wishes to all waiting this out.

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Quarantine Diary #312

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” ― Bob Ross

This tree lives in Waukesha and stopped me in my tracks when I was out for a walk.

...

 When will this Quarantine Diary end? When Len and I drive out not wearing masks to go to a place where we will stay overnight. Just letting you know. FYI we started last year on Friday the 13th of March.

 …

Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.

But...

Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. https://lithub.com/. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

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