I’ve been writing for the purpose of journaling my experience during the pandemic. A phrase which has become almost agitating is “we’re all in this together.” Yet it represents a shared experience and the comfort we derive from knowing we are not alone in what we are going through.
I was just going over our budget and saw that in the last four weeks we have spent way more money than we did for the first six weeks. Initially we did pretty well sticking to our budget of $150 a week for anything besides fixed expenses.
Yesterday I made my first grocery shopping trip since we’ve had to stay home. I’ve been sending my husband to do the weekly shopping. I was shocked at the bill, $15 for parsley, cabbage, one sweet potato and one beet.
“We’re all in this together.” So, what exactly does that mean to us? We are all suffering? We all have to summon our courage? We all have to face our fears?
One positive thing I have noticed during this time is that people are more open, as though they are noticing others, not just walking by. My husband has spoken with a couple of men in the complex who have told him about their work situation. They probably would never have talked about their personal lives had it not been for the fact that they are facing a common challenge of not working. One man went back to work this week.
My husband took advantage of free transit, which ends June 1st, and went to the mall. He noted there was activity in about 80% of the stores. He tells me this to encourage me. I don’t take a lot of comfort from immediate appearances, although I’m happy things are opening up. I am concerned about what happens six months or a year down the road when we see the real impact of closures and restrictions.
I went to my hairdresser this week. My husband and I both made an appointment because the shop he usually goes to was not yet open. We got on for 8:15 p.m. Everything about the experience felt strange, almost surreal…the masks, the newly installed plexiglass at the counter, the sanitizer we were encouraged to use, giving our phone number for contact purposes.
The last time I went for a haircut was on March 13, just before we started isolating. I didn’t talk about the coronavirus, then, although the women working in the salon were wearing masks. I was acutely aware that the owner is Chinese and I didn’t want him to feel awkward.
The salon owner’s regular staff was not yet working this week. We’ve been told strictly to stay home and now people are having difficulty believing it is suddenly safe to go to work. Business owners, however, are eager to get back to work because of looming bills such as rent. Our hairdresser pleaded with the owner of his building for some leniency in light of the virus, but the response was, “You’ve signed a contract.” He has applied for the $40k government business loan. The loan is designed so that a business gets to keep $10k if they pay back the balance of $30k. I’m sure this is helpful, but we could tell he was clearly stressed about his financial situation.
Our son and his wife ambushed us, in a sense. I thought we were going for take-out pizza but then the restaurant was open and we went inside to eat. Another super surreal experience. Our waitress (the owner, I think) wore a mask and gloves and left discardable menus at the edge of the table. There were no condiments in sight on tables.
Once again, the woman who served us was eager to talk. When I asked when they opened, she said after the May long weekend, Tuesday, and proceeded to tell us that they had 4 tables on Tuesday, 3 on Wednesday and 7 on Thursday. But they were “busy” on Friday and Saturday. She gestured to the tables and said, as we knew, they could only seat half the tables. So, that meant half, or less, of their normal business. If I were to say what I felt I saw, I would say I saw tears behind her eyes. She kept thanking us for coming in. We were the only table. The restaurant is in a very central location and I kept thinking that they must be paying a premium for rent.
I thought I had nothing to write about this week, but I guess I have made a few observations. I was unwell this week with a recurring health issue. That may be why I didn’t feel like writing.
Thankfully I did not have to go to the clinic. I picked up a prescription just before we isolated. It just “happened” that I saw my specialist for the same problem the week before lockdown and he gave me extra meds.
I had my first telephone appointment this week with a health professional regarding therapy for another condition. One more new experience. Normally I would go in for an exam. I received a follow-up booklet of information and instructions in the mail.
My mother’s calcium levels showed a drop this week. This is really good news. My sister’s surgery was successful, however, we learned that she will need chemotherapy once she has healed sufficiently. It doesn’t help for me to be a thousand miles away from them.
I am a woman of prayer. When it comes to my faith and my relationship with God, I believe in “walking in His presence.” To me that means being continually aware of the presence of God. It also means I notice the little “coincidences,” things which I could not have orchestrated but worked out perfectly.
I don’t expect to be exempted from trials, but I can rest in the assurance that God is with me. We are in this together. Truly. I derive great comfort from this thought that God is with me. When I feel pushed right to the edge of my endurance, I can call on Him. I have somewhere to go. And when I see a beautiful thing I can praise Him. I have someone with whom I can share my delight. I wish this experience for everyone on earth.
Here is the highlight of the week. Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket succeeded in launching into space yesterday. The craft manned by Robert L. Behnken and Douglas O. Hurley docked at the International Space Station this morning. Trivia – did you know that the U.S. has been paying Russia to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station? A seat costs 90 million. Now they can carry their own. This is the first rocket to launch from the U.S since 2011. It is also the first private space enterprise. A profound moment.