Without batting an eyelash I told her I had a weird dream as well. I was grocery shopping in a quiet store where nobody looked at me and I had to stay far away from all the other people, who were wearing masks. When I got home I had to unpack the groceries on the deck outside, disinfect each item and lay it out to dry in the sun, then disinfect myself. I had to leave my shoes outside and come in to strip off, throw all my clothes in the washing machine and then get in the shower before I could touch anything in the house.
She kind of looked at me strangely and said she thought her dream was more interesting.
Her dream of course was a dream, while mine was the reality of that morning. It is Day 11 since we were told to stay home, and that it almost seems normal is what scares me more than anything. Maybe I've read too many dystopian novels? I have become unflappable due to years of reading post-apocalyptic fiction? The whole world is under quarantine, and the creeping dread I felt in the beginning really only came back when I finally had to go out for a big shop. The whole time I was in the store, I was clenching my teeth so hard my head hurt for hours afterwards. All I could think about was the invisible menace of that stupid virus that could survive for hours on any surface. What the actual fuck? It is just making me angry.
Everything my kids care about is cancelled, school, dance, Girl Guides, social life, trips that were a year in the making, the musical theatre performance of Beauty and the Beast that was the seminal event of my 9th grader's life (she was a villager AND a dancing napkin AND a wolf) all gone. They grieved and we tried in vain to explain this was bigger than any of us.
Many people die every day, and I read descriptions of exactly what it feels like to have this sickness, and I feel terrified but never say a word. The idea of dying in an isolated room, all alone, with no one you love around you because they could catch it too. It is horror. It badly makes me want to cry but I can't do that because I am a mom and moms keep shit together (often with pharmaceutical help and/or alcohol).
We all exist in household bubbles, unable to interact with anyone in real life except to wave across the yard to a neighbour. I am a serious introvert but even I find it exhausting. Our world has shrunk to our own house with the four of us and three cats. We occasionally leave the yard for a walk but mostly not. We watch way more movies, the kids Skype with friends as a pretend visit, we cook a lot but every once in a while I go in to the pantry and just stare at all the food in there, comforting myself that it is enough. If everyone gets sick and the stores have to close, we will be okay. If all hell breaks loose south of the border where they have been stocking up on guns more than medical supplies or common sense, we will still be okay. Right?
At the same time our world has contracted down to four, it has also expanded to the entire planet, as every human is facing the same threat but with wildly varying resources and abilities to overcome it. Can we grow our empathy and understanding in some way that will help us all? Can we connect to each other in different ways, better ways, kinder ways? Can we stop the spread of hatred that seemed to be growing exponentially before our attention was monopolized by this? Now I am veering off course but that's just how my brain works, try to keep up.
Much of what is happening is going to be well-documented for the history books, so the day to day rise of cases and deaths and stupidities of humans still out having dinner parties and spring break benders is not really something I need to document. But in our little world, we are about to home-school our kids for the first time, and I failed Grade 10 math. Both Dan and I are working exclusively from home, and are grateful to continue to work and be paid. If we have to be home-bound, at least we have a hell of a view. Our children are learning what existential dread looks like. They see the world changing in ways that seem impossible. I am sad they're not little enough to keep in blissful ignorance, but it is strangely comforting to be able to share just a tiny bit of the burden with them.
I am not a praying type anymore. I know the world is what we as a demanding and oblivious species have made it. But I do send my best, most positive vibes out to you all, along with a germ-free virtual hug. A little love can never hurt. x