Saturday, March 21, 2020

Journal of the Plague Months: Vol 1. No. 4

I've been wondering where the time has gone during this period of social distancing. So, I decided to keep track of what I'm doing as I spend even more time than usual at home. Here's a typical morning with logs for the rest of the day to follow. Maybe. But I'm not sure I can break the spell of indolence that seems to have taken over during this time when I really have time. Strange. In the time I've spent watching TV news, I probably could have re-read War and Peace.

8:00 AM Get out of bed.
8:01 Enjoy the fog of awakening, the time before I remember that there's a COVID-19 epidemic.
8:02 Remember epidemic: Resume depression.
8:03 None of your business.
8:30 I know, many unaccounted for minutes, but as I said, those were none of your business. Eat breakfast.
8:40 Experience sudden anxiety re: possible food shortages: Will Rice Krispies eventually give way to rice? We're good on rice.
9:00 Read the papers.
9:10 Wash hands. Take temperature.
9:15 Wonder if reading the papers might be contributing to malaise. Stupid question.
9:20:Realize I'm starting to skim long NY Times articles on the virus to keep from being overwhelmed.
9:30 Wonder what's wrong with people who aren't on the verge of being overwhelmed.
9:35 Read alarming headline to my wife about virus forecast. She begs me to stop, says I'm driving myself and her crazy. I remind her that, for me, it's a short ride. She reminds me that there are knives in the kitchen and she's not afraid to use them.
9:45 Put jeans over pajama bottoms. Put on a coat. Walk dog. Wave at neighbors from a respectful distance of at least six feet. Hope I don't run into anyone who's tested positive for COVID-19. Oh, wait. It's unlikely. There don't seem to be enough tests. Why worry?
10:30 Get on-line. Read emails, many from organizations telling me how concerned they are about my welfare during this terrible pandemic. Does anyone feel reassured that their bank has adopted rigorous new cleaning methods? What the hell were they doing before?
10:45 Take temperature.
10:50 Congratulate myself for not yet having turned on the TV, which is a bit like the consolation heavy drinkers take in not having had an alcoholic beverage before 5 p.m.
11:00 Wonder why everyone feels compelled to tell me what they're watching during the pandemic. Want to know what I'm watching? My temperature.
11:15 Have brief conversation with a dog about whether the term "existential crisis" rapidly is losing all meaning. Dog gives me a quizzical look. I take that as a sign of agreement.
11:30 Think about people who are feeling isolated as news of the virus worsens. I dial my own number.
11:45 Chastise myself for being forgetful and touching my face.
12:00 Realize it's noon and I still haven't decided whether the "postponement" (yeah, right, "postponement") of the Cannes Film Festival will destroy the year in art cinema. Oh well, nothing I can about that. Wash hands. Take temperature. Debate what time, in these days of too much time, is the correct time to get out of pajamas. Certainly, before dinner, I think. Heaven forbid we abandon all decorum.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping us posted, Mr. Denerstein. I _still_ read every word you write. Love the diaries.

M. Mapes

Anonymous said...

I'm revisiting this post from the future (today is April 4). I remembered liking your 8:01 comment - enjoying the fog before remembering that we were in a global pandemic. Well, I'm sorry to say my dreams now include social distancing and heightened germophobia. I wonder how long it actually took before my dreams caught up with reality. Alas.