Spring has been cancelled. And I’ll just be over here drinking immunity defense shots and hoping for the best.
Self-quarantine is like a vacation, but also like being in prison. It’s all about how you look at it, which can change daily. I feel like in some ways I was built for this. As a writer and editor, there’s a lot of time spent working in isolation. The social aspects of my job have been put on hold, such as covering all of the wonderful events the East End has to offer, but the reality is that the majority of my work is done from a computer. At Indy, our amazing team has WFH down to a science. We’ve put this newspaper together from all over the world.
As much as I want to say “I’m here for a good time not a long time,” I’d really rather give up four months of my life than infect another human who might suffer deadly consequences. It’s so important to stay home right now.
When in a frightening situation like this, sometimes you have to find the humor. I think memes might actually save us all. “Hold on, it’s time to change from my daytime pajamas to my nighttime pajamas.” “Tonight, I’m going to do a wine tour through the different regions of my home.” “I really hope this ends before summer or we’ll have to deal with Corona and Lyme.” I find myself scrolling a little too long and laughing a little too hard — to the point where Instagram tells me I’m “all caught up.” I didn’t know that was possible.
In this world of accessible travel, I haven’t stayed put for more than a week in what feels like years (I usually split my week between Hampton Bays and Yorkville. My husband works in the city and I work here, so we’re always on-the-move). In the past few months, I’ve taken trips to Paris, LA, Miami twice, Annapolis, Baltimore, and a staycation in Greenport. I’m OK with taking a minute to lean into the silence.
I’ll sit back. I’ll do some yoga. I might have time to read a book for fun. My husband is a private chef who isn’t going in to work every day. I told him it’s important to keep a schedule. Voila, I now have a private chef. This isn’t so bad. I start thinking, should I start a podcast or a Tik Tok? (Podcast, coming soon. Tik Tok, probably never happening.)
Full transparency, I did escape New York City, carrying a 48 pack of toilet paper and groceries I had delivered from Costco (not hoarding, just the only size they sell). I feel prepared. I stocked up on groceries before the mad rush. I’ve now been quarantined for over two weeks. I’m not leaving the house for anything besides a beach walk, and I won’t even stop anywhere there’s more than one car in the parking lot. I am also the proud owner of a two-week supply of astronaut food.
Then there are the fears of impending tragedy. In the words of Cardi B, “s**t is getting real!” There are thoughts like “I’m not going to spend my last moments on Earth watching ‘Love is Blind’ on Netflix,” and “I can’t die with my closet this unorganized.”
Beach walks are the highlights of most days. I know how lucky I am to have that as an option right now. Actually, the first time I realized how lucky I am was the day after 9/11. I was sent home from my second week in college, sat on the lifeguard stand in Amagansett, and realized how I never truly appreciated my home until that day. This is not unlike that.
Right now, we may all feel helpless, fighting a war from our couches. Our normal life has been interrupted. (Thank goodness I have a private chef!) Even if you’re not in a vulnerable group of people, please take any precaution to not expose those who are. We need to care of our senior citizens and keep them safe. Many of us will become sick and some may even die, but if we do this right that number will be lower and lives will be saved. Stay home.
Even if you’re feeling helpless, there’s still so much you can do to help. Support local business by buying a gift card for future use. Support our local food pantries by donating money. If you receive a stimulus check, but you haven’t had financial hardship due to COVID-19, consider donating part or all of it to someone in need. Pay attention to the way companies treat their employees at a time like this. Those are the ones you want to support when business is running again. If you had planned to go to a charity event, donate the ticket price anyway. If you have extra masks, donate them to healthcare workers, they are our front line of defense. And thank them for the courageous work they are doing.
And be kind. Respect your neighbor. We are all frightened.