#HomeAlone Day 49 = Seven Weeks

49 days. That’s seven weeks.

Seven weeks of FaceTime, Zoom and Webex.

The last time I did anything in the actual world was March 12, when I went to McCabe Pub in Sylvan Park for my weekly cheeseburger – something I’d been doing for more than twenty years. I hope that tradition can resume one of these days, but I imagine it will be weird with only three or four people at the bar, spaced two or three bar stools apart. Will I need to make a reservation? How do you eat a cheeseburger through a mask?

I’d started using a grocery delivery service a couple of months before “stay home!” started; I’ve continued that routine, getting delivery once a week and leaving a generous cash tip taped to the front door for the shopper. Those people are my heroes. Their efforts provide a weekly reminder just how upside down our culture and economy are.

Several times a week, when the weather is nice and the sun is shining, I’ve indulged myself with #TopDown joy rides over the back roads out here in West Bumfuque. That has necessitated several trips to the Shell station in Pegram; I gas up the car with a rubber glove on one hand. I made one trip to another service station to swap out my propane tank and two trips to the post office to drop off stuff I’d sold on eBay. That is the full extent of my outside-the-house commerce. Amazon/UPS delivers everything else.

Every morning I get out of bed, put on my sneakers and go for a two-mile walk trough my neighborhood. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I have all the conspiracy theories sorted out, and I almost understand what is happening in WestWorld. Thomas Jefferson is still dead but Clay Jenkinson lives! Most days I take another walk in the late afternoon, then I sit on the back deck and read a book, watch the hummingbirds – and remind myself repeatedly how fortunate I am. Despite it all…. #gratitude.

In seven weeks, the only other humans I have seen are the neighbors I encounter on my walks. We stand on opposite sides of the street and exchange pleasantries. Their dogs are the only living creatures I have touched. I regret not getting a kitten when I was thinking about it last year. The animal shelter not far from here has been closed.

The only people who have been to my house are my housekeeper who comes every other Tuesday, a plumber and the HVAC guy. Otherwise, all my “human interactions” (including two ‘virtual dinner dates’) have been mediated by screens, electrons, and digits. Thank you all for setting your camera in “landscape” mode and minimizing the backlight.

Speaking of dating: I did a bit of that in the months that followed my divorce last year, but was informed / reminded numerous times that: divorced less than a year, I was essentially radioactive. Late last year I decided to go into hibernation and wait for the year to end. The year ended in January and then…. oh boy, more hibernation.

It has been seven weeks since I’ve gone to my job, which keeps me on my feet – and burning calories – for eight hours several days a week. I know I am among the fortunate ones to work for such a large company that I have stayed employed and paid even though I have not really been working; the company has kept us engaged with video conferences and online training. They’re doing their level-best to get us ready for reopening, though it is quite uncertain when that will be or it will look like. In the meantime, I look forward to those video-interactions with my co-workers (aka “the kids”).

So it was no surprise when I stepped on the scale this morning and learned that in seven weeks I have gained six pounds.

It has been seven weeks since I’ve have had a hug; seven weeks since I’ve had any physical contact with another human being.

If I can’t touch anybody or anything, I’m starting to wonder why I even need a physical body.

And then I remember: my body a transportation device.

It transports my mouth to the refrigerator.

 



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Paul Schatzkin