First off, I pray that you and your family are well. I think you’d join me in praying for (or wishing the best for) all the health workers who are putting themselves on the front line of this health pandemic. I pray for young parents who are suddenly juggling homeschooling and working from home. Hell, I pray for all of us.
I had an upbeat blog post planned for you to read as soon as you opened your email. The ideas starting flowing on Monday even with the sobering news. Blundering through these early days had some funny bits, and I planned to share them. But somewhere between the notes I’d left in the margins of my morning pages on Tuesday and this afternoon, I forgot everything I was going to say.
I tend to be an introvert, but today’s quiet is too much
You see, I went downtown to Sonoma to do a couple of things before our county boarded up like the other six counties in the Bay Area had already begun to do. The official hunkering down was to happen at midnight. I thought I had some time.
I got my Peet’s Coffee and my Williams-Sonoma handsoap. We were getting low on both of those things.
The other places I had to go to were already closed. Every store seemed to have notes on the door. There were so many available parking places downtown. It was weird.
I thought I’d soothe myself by going over to the new coffee bar I’d discovered in the MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa. They wouldn’t allow lounging, but I figured they’d have take out. I imagined the warm cup of oat milk latte in my hand, but when I got there, it too was closed.
Missing my routines
Suddenly, I felt claustrophobic. The empty streets and the closure signs on windows started pressing in on me. I’ve been trying to pace myself and manage the input of it all, but it just got to me. I went for a walk through town instead of getting inside my car, closing the windows, and having a wail of a cry. Although that doesn’t sound like a bad thing.
I came home, and Russ said, “How was it out there?” I could feel mad tears welling up in my eyes. He came to me, put his arms around me, and said, “It’s going to be okay. We’re going to get through this.” And I believed him. Those intense feelings disappeared, and I had a moment of acceptance. I could handle this.
And isn’t this all a moment to moment thing? Like Baby Viv’s tears and then the smiles a few moments later?
Oh, there was this one funny thing
I do remember this one thing I was going to tell you. You know how you wake up in the middle of the night, and it can be hard to get back to sleep? Not surprisingly, that happened to me the other night. In the dark, I decided to focus on something calming and thought about the Serenity Prayer. You’ve heard it, right?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
It always helps, even in the middle of the night. Only I couldn’t remember the fifth word in the prayer. God, grant me the … what was that next word? Was it willingness? No, that didn’t sound right. It was a word sort of like willingness.
So now, my mind had a puzzle to solve. I kept repeating the parts I knew and thought if I came back to the beginning, I’d remember the word that starts it all. It felt like it took me ten minutes of choppy repetition to remember that word in the Serenity Prayer. Oh, right, serenity!
Funny how things aren’t there when you need them, but then they are.
What to wear to the grocery store
Oh, and I was going to tell you about getting dressed to go to the grocery store. I had a list of things to pick up, some of Russ’ favorite things, hence the list.
Before I went out on this big outing, I thought long and hard about what to wear. I wanted to wear something uplifting, something that might put a smile on someone’s face. It wasn’t going to be my black raincoat even though there was a light rain coming down.
I chose my red fauna and flora coat. I wore a red sweater under it and prepared for my Whole Foods entrance. I’d walk through the doors, using my elbows to push them open, look for the hand sanitizer, use it, grab my cart using my cloth bags to keep my hands from touching the bar, and I’d search the shelves for juices, graham crackers, trail mix, and his favorite dry cereal. (He likes snacks.)
I got what I could. Yes, shelves were emptying out just like on TV.
Everything was a bit chaotic, and I wanted to get out of there quickly. I was headed out with my bags when someone stopped me. I turned around. This woman had a big smile on her face and said, “I like your coat.” My red coat made a difference for one person. Winning!
I just remembered my other funny thing
I had one other thing to do for Russ, and that was to pick up prescriptions for him. We go to different pharmacies in town, and I don’t know the counter people by name at his pharmacy. Again, I was conscientious about the space between the next person and me. When I got to the window, I was a bit preoccupied. Had I done it right?
I got his stuff but wasn’t sure how I was supposed to hit the buttons on the credit card machine and sign his name on that pad thingy without touching it. Doesn’t everyone put their fingerprints on those credit card machines? I was thinking about how I need to be prepared next time.
Anyway, the pharmacist answered a couple of questions for me. I was all cheerful because goodness knows, she’s a busy person doing good things for people. I smiled and said goodbye to her and then I blew her a kiss.
Yup, I blew her a kiss. Holy moly, while I’m paying attention to the six feet of social distancing, I’m being socially weird with air kisses to strangers. I felt so silly. Should I say something or just leave? I left but not before getting another dose of hand sanitizer.
At least I wouldn’t be seeing her again anytime soon. But when I got home, Russ said, “Wait, the thing I needed the most isn’t here.” Oh, you’re kidding me. Do I have to go back? He rings the pharmacy, and they say oops, and it will be ready in five minutes. I wait longer. Maybe she’ll be on a lunch break.
I get there and it’s the same person. She has a big smile on her face and says, “I knew you’d be back!” I thought of bringing up the kiss thing but decided to just leave it be.
Things are unprecedented and awkward and fill-in-the-blank
Listen, I want to repeat what I said at the very beginning–I hope you’re well and your family is well and that the health care people are getting what they need and that this gets mitigated as soon as possible.
How are you faring at this moment, my friend? There are going to be many more moments to come, but how are you doing right now?
I love you and hope to hear from you. Lots of virtual hugs are coming your way.