Wednesday, April 15, 2020

New normal: Coronavirus

Let me locate myself. It is 2020. The world is experiencing pandemic.

I am the middle-aged woman who lives in public housing across the street from the city cemetery and a block from the Union Pacific switch yard. My apartment is modest by modest standards, furnished in bookshelves and beds; those things necessary for daily survival. I live with two of my sons. My oldest is transgender, a skilled illustrator, a socialist, and a budding adult. My youngest is ASD, a designer, composer, and an overall teenage visionary. We are graced by the presence of my cat, Phoebe, a longhaired tabby with a sweet disposition, and a penchant for constant companionship which makes her the perfect therapy animal. My partner and best friend, a philosopher and trans woman, lives six blocks to the east. I have another son who lives in a communal house with his partner and several roommates approximately a mile northwest near downtown. My only daughter has just moved into a beautiful downtown apartment with her partner seven blocks west. We're hedged by boundaries of this, the least diverse city per capita in the U.S.

In these terms, we hold our collective breath through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are shut in, disinfected, and separated by a state-wide "stay-at-home" order for the foreseeable future. We can shop for necessary items, take walks/runs for exercise, work if our places of employment are still open. Crowds of more than ten people are prohibited. Persons are urged to maintain six feet distance from one another. We wear masks in public, wash our hands until they are cracked and dry, avoid touching communal surfaces, and have made use of video chats to keep in touch with those outside of our "affinity circle." We watch for symptoms.

I haven't been keeping track of days. I estimate we've been at this for four weeks. The soonest state restrictions will lift is May 1st, but that end date isn't guaranteed. Weeks ago, when this started, I heard call for documentation and journaling. I didn't know how to go about it. I think I've forgotten how to write in survival mode. This morning, in the monotony of structureless days, I realize knowing how isn't important.

I don't think anyone knows how to do this. 

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