We asked our authors and our readers to send us their thoughts on the crisis through which we’re all living now. Lucy Iscaro wrote from her home in White Plains, New York, about how she and her family have made the adjustment to sheltering-in-place.
Only a few weeks ago, my husband and I joked about how what we’ve now come to call “social distancing” was pretty much normal life for us since we retired. Then along came coronavirus.
It soon became clear that the new normal wasn’t just a curtailing of our already depleted social life. We had to accept that those vulnerable old folks who health officials worried about weren’t strangers, they were us! The grandchild with the sniffles now needed to stay away. Yoga, writing classes, restaurants, even the iconic geezer activity of a mall walk… all cancelled.
Before long, everyone in our family was affected one way or another.
At first the grandchildren were excited about no school. They had playdates and more access to previously restricted screen time. But within days they found out that their computer had betrayed them! School was being ushered right into their home, leaving no escape from lessons. The older ones were denied trips, essential classes, and in one case, a graduation ceremony.
Adults in our family, who had once chafed at over
busy lives, were glad to have downtime to sleep, to straighten closets, to go for long walks, and to get to their to-be-read lists of books. They were glad, until the uncertainty of being out of work bit them in their wallets.
Cali, our two-year-old terrier, is the only unconditional fan of the social lockdown. She no longer has to get into her crate during the day, making her miss watching her favorite reality show, Squirrels Out the Window. All she has to do now is whine and a collar is lassoed around her neck, a leash snapped, and she’s happily out the door to chase squirrels in person.
I’ve tried to make some changes while I’m home. We all know how important it is to keep our minds limber with mental exercise. We also all know that any form of change is one of those things we talk about doing more than we actually do, as in, Oh sure I’m going to start jogging, or I’m going to learn to read Latin, just as soon as the weather warms up… or cools down… or pigs fly. I am trying to challenge myself by getting friendlier with computer technology. In the past I’ve been cranky about it saying, Just give me a Sharpie and a legal pad. Not so, anymore.
Last week I learned how to Zoom. No, not run fast, I’d never do that. I mean, I took a tutorial on zoom.us, the popular cloud platform for video and audio conferencing. I was rewarded by being able to safely visit with my family. There they were in a split screen called gallery view. It was like the opening of the Brady Bunch or Hollywood Squares. We talked and blew kisses and caught up with each other. The images were virtual but the love was actual. You can’t do that with a Sharpie.
I have no solution for our global predicament and I fear there will be an exorbitant and gruesome price to be paid before it’s all resolved. Until then, I’m here learning what I can, connecting however I can, and taking that dog out whenever she asks.