The worst things, of course, are death, panic, and the emotional and economic cruelty of this disease. This must be understood.
However, for many of us — hell, probably most of us, sheltering at home, cut off from routine, fresh faces, and the emotional room to breathe freely — inertia is the most insidious symptom of the dreaded “new normal.”
Again, I have been lucky; being so far spared the more biblical aspects of this virus. Yet the inertia of quarantine exacts a toll, even while safely ensconced in a comfortable bunker.
I’m an annoyingly hypervigilant person in many ways (for reasons I won’t elaborate upon). I started paying attention to the burgeoning pandemic in January. This was before it was a pandemic and instead, to most, just another forgettable segment on the news about something happening in faraway places.
By February, I was laying in supplies. I amassed plenty of toilet paper and SPAM. I mean lots of SPAM, which I had not eaten since I was in my (ham?) salad days. But it seemed the appropriate bunker food to stock up on.
By March, I was throttling back social interactions and shopping, telling my spouse that it was time for us and our 11-year-old daughter to decline social occasions.
By April, we were bunkered in our home in the American Midwest, secure in the knowledge we were safe.
After the novelty of the first few days, I envisioned setting a kind of routine, not unlike the introduction to the character Desmond Hume on that onetime TV sensation, Lost. I’d awaken in our little island here amidst the suburbs and embrace the routine: check the computer for work stuff (Desmond was entering numbers to prevent the island from exploding or something), exercise, do chores, eat what was delivered and listen to Mama Cass until this whole crazy thing blew over.
Looking for a silver lining on my regular hikes to nearby woods, I talked myself up about the abundant time to finish writing my latest mystery novel and step up podcast production. I’d finally fix my company and author websites and prospect more effectively for new clients. Joy of joys, I would read books again! Yes, and spend more time with my kid, work on my cooking skills. Maybe dig a victory garden in the backyard. Sure, I would miss going to the gym, but there were home workouts — and restorative hikes nearby. This was going to work out fine until the world got back to normal.