ISOLATION PART VIII: IT’S NOW BEEN ONE ENTIRE YEAR THAT I’VE STAYED AT HOME!!!
Last night at 10PM was exactly one year that I’ve been in my house!!! [Full disclosure: I have been to a market about once a month, the doctor twice, the dentist once for an emergency, and an aborted attempt at being a supportive friend at an outdoor wedding shower, but I left right away when I saw there were no masks or social distancing.]
Who would have thought that was even possible for anyone, let alone a bon vivette such as myself?! (The weird thing is…I’m not raring to go soon! I’ve been surprisingly content in my house with Mr. X!)
I had no idea that so many others have this exact date as their stay-at-home anniversary, as well. My recollection of those days is that everyone else seemed to still be going out until the gravity of the situation sunk in for them. May none of us have a date like this to commemorate ever again.
Here’s my experience of that crazy time:
I had been out that night, March 11, 2020, at a fabulous restaurant party. The pandemic had already started to become somewhat serious, so we were all a bit concerned. People were still going out, but being what we thought was careful. Definitely far from careful enough, though.
We all knew enough to not hug each other, but some of the other guests had a good old time laughing over having to touch elbows instead. Their mirth was actually disturbing to me.
At that point in life, the powers-that-be had said that we didn’t need masks, so no one was wearing any. People were even sitting at tables together! I, of course, was smart enough to stay away from everyone; my friend and I sat by ourselves at a table that was outside and far away from everyone else. (And then some idiot woman came and plopped herself down right at our table, so we got up and moved to another one.)
When the party coordinator for the restaurant heard my horror at having touched a serving spoon that was used by the assemblage, she was kind enough to introduce herself to me because she had been a fan of my former TV show. And, after giving me some hand sanitizer, she told me that Tom Hanks had just announced that he had the virus! That was pretty shocking. And the shocks just kept on coming from that moment forward.
I got home at 10PM, and as I walked into the living room, where Mr. X was watching a national basketball game in disbelief, I saw that it had just been shut down because they found-out that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, one of the two teams about to play, had tested positive for COVID-19. It was reported shortly before the tip-off of the game, and the entire event was concerning. (Shamefully, just a day or two before that, Rudy thought he was being amusing by rubbing his hands all over the journalists’ mikes on the interview podium!) And all the sports analysts were speculating that the season would have to be over, which was pretty much what happened. It was suspended for months, until they came up with that Florida “bubble” concept, (which, to my surprise, was successful.)
At that point, I started worrying about what would become of the 2020 March Madness college basketball tourney; I knew it could not go on, but I didn’t want to accept my thoughts as reality until it was announced. And then the very next day, a year ago today, NCAA President Mark Emmert did just that. He said, “ This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.” It was a necessary move, and most likely saved some lives, but what a shame it was for all concerned, especially the young athletes, who may never get that opportunity again.
I had already cancelled attending a theatre opening night for that upcoming Friday, mainly because, as it would be Friday the 13th, I didn’t want to tempt fate. And a tad because the theatre patrons at that one would be mostly senior citizens, (who were at most risk.) And I also decided to save my going out for the next week, when I had wall-to-wall fabulous events planned for at least a month in a row!
I was lying on the couch the next day, (a year ago today,) feeling awful for the sportsmen of all the cancelled events, (which included my beloved upcoming World Figure Skating Championships, but, I was praying at the time, so far not the Summer Olympics,) with the news on, which is something I had never done to that point. (But it’s become the norm since then.) And all of a sudden, I hear the Mayor announce a “safer at home” order. Though the news anchors wondered what exactly that meant, I knew right away—we needed to stay isolated from the rest of the world to try to save ourselves and others. I got it; they did not have to ask me twice! I did wonder what the length of that lockdown would be, though. I did not want to miss all those wonderful times I had coming up beginning in just a week!
And then the emails and calls started coming in the very next day, postponing one event after the other. All the shows and parties I was looking soooo forward to were off for a bit. And then another bit. And another. And then forever. (I still saved all the invitations; I just can’t bear to delete them.)
If you had asked me one year ago if I could envision ever staying put in my house for an entire year, (and now beyond,) I would have given you an emphatic, “No way!” But, knock on wood, it’s not been a problem, mainly because of Mr. X. If I had to be alone with one person for over a year, it’s definitely Mr. X. He’s the funniest person I’ve ever known, and by spending so much more time with him than in pre-pandemic life, (when I went out at least four nights a week without him, because he likes to stay home,) I’ve been laughing even more than ever before! My abs have been getting quite the workout! And, as I hope we all know, laughter is the best medicine and great for one’s soul. So even with our crazy fights, (because there is absolutely no topic that we cannot get into a row about,) I’m having the most fun ever.
And, (please don’t hate me,) I’ve lost a few pounds from doing my own healthful cooking, and I’m in my best shape in years due to finally having the time to exercise several times a week. But, boy, are my tresses are in great need of major trimming!
People keep asking me how I’m coping with not going out. They’re all incredulous that I’m okay with it. But that’s because I don’t feel like I’m missing anything; 95% of my activities are private invitation-only ones, so there have been none for anybody to go to. I might feel left-out if they were still going on and I was the only one not in attendance. My whole pain at the entire pandemic situation is for everyone else. Nobody has to feel bad for me, I promise.
When I had been in the house for a mere five months, I started writing an article entitled Five Months of Non-Real Life. In it, I stated, “I’m a little angry at myself…I’ve just been existing, without getting much accomplished. I should be working on my cluttered house. I never have the time to do it in real life, so I should have had it all done by now in this bizarro world!” Just guess if now, seven months later, I’ve done any of that tidying up!
And then a month after that, silly me began work on what I thought would be my last column in the “at home” series, Isolation Part VII—The Final Installation. In that one, I had left space to include the “Final Tally” on my less-than-often normal activities for those stressful months, such as the number of times I left the house, shaved my legs, got dressed, did manis and pedis, colored my hair, washed my hair, and even brushed my hair! And now I can assure you that all of those figures are on the very low end! I definitely haven’t even had my hair cut even once! At this point, I can go as Rapunzel next Halloween! (The only category I’ve improved vastly on is cooking! Shockingly, I’ve cooked for us just about 98% of this year!)
I ended that unpublished (because the crisis isn’t over) article as I end this one, one year later, with a sentiment I’ve had every single day of this year, saying, “Of course, none of this compares even one iota to the tally that really matters—the worldwide death toll.”
Here’s to an infinitely better year to come, for all of us!