We’re about a month into this now. Amazing what you get used to. Amazing what’s changed and what hasn’t.
We’re still eating pretty well. (Thanks, WalMart Pickup!) We still go for walks and enjoy the good weather. We got through the wretched Tiger King, but still have a long queue of books and Netflix recommendations from equally bored friends and family. We’ve still got Zoom, with all its dropped audio and hilariously frozen screens.
For the wife and I, the only pandemic-related injuries are the ones sustained from biting our tongues when the other does something dumb or annoying. Maybe a little uptick there. Such is life under lockdown. For us, at least, the real casualties of COVID-19 do not yet include people we know personally. Knock wood.
They say the next couple of weeks may be the worst. That’s when all the folks who were partying and playing grab-ass long past the early-March warnings may find out firsthand if this is Rush Limbaugh’s “common cold” or something more dire. To paraphrase Robert Frost, I hold with those who favor dire.
Of course, the chance of dying is always 100 percent, viruses notwithstanding. What worries me is the timing. Like, not today, OK? Or next week. Or, God willing, maybe even 10 months down the road. But most of us are equally aware that this virus is capricious, and 100 percent resistant to the firehose of bullshit from Limbaugh and Trump and their fellow travelers.
We Boomers had sort of hoped to avoid all this. We were thinking we’d been blessed with the best of America (except for Trump) and might enjoy a comfortable retirement. We thought that in the fullness of time we’d ride into the sunset with some semblance of dignity and a photo montage of a life well-lived — like the old woman at the end of Titanic.
That may be off the table now. The ship’s going down. The IRAs are toast, home values are headed south. Regardless of who the next president is, the staggering debt from Trump’s corporate tax cut and the coronavirus bailouts won’t leave much left for lifeboats. Or, to further abuse the Titanic metaphor, there’s not going to be a lot of room on that door.
Well, it’s a tough old world. No whining here; we had a good ride. If I were a dread disease, I’d probably pick on Boomers too. Especially the ones at the Villages. If I were a dread disease, I would find their golf carts and Trumpian cluelessness a strong case for annihilation. Unfortunately, microbial predators have no way of knowing, or caring, that we’re not all like that.
So today my wonderful wife is sewing face masks. Yesterday our neighbor brought over freshed-baked bread, still hot. I felt kind of guilty carefully disposing of the wrapping and washing my hands before having a couple of slices slathered with butter. The bread was very good, a tangible comfort. I thought: This may be something to remember in darker times.
Or maybe we’ll get lucky. Seriously, we might. Maybe it will all seem a dark dream by June. My innate pessimism abides, but it doesn’t seem real helpful right now. For now, I should probably veer on over to the bright side of the road. At least for a week or two. I hope you can too. Stay safe and stay home.