Almost all of us have changed our lifestyles since the pandemic got started… some more than others. For longtime freelance writer Susan Reid of Baltimore, the change has mainly been in her commute.
“How’s your commute going today?”, the message on my android screen asked.
“What commute,” I laughed?
But of course, I do commute from job to job. In my apartment and around the apartment building.
My first commute today was on foot from my bed to my one-cup coffee maker, the Walmart version of a Keurig. It’s safer and less time-consuming than taking a cab to Dunkin’ or Starbucks, if one is even available.
Then I commuted to the dining room chair to read morning newspapers and online magazines. This commute is safer and more enjoyable than riding a crowded bus, and besides, I can drink my coffee while I read without half of it bouncing up and out from the cup.
Awake now, I walk to the refrigerator for food, not to the grocery store where there are crowds to be avoided and, just getting there, problems with social distancing during the half-hour walk or the five-minute cab ride.
My commute to the refrigerator is fast, safe, and has a benefit. It’s about four feet from the dining room table where I can eat fruit, yogurt, and cereal, something I couldn’t do in a cab coming home from the store, or while pushing my shopping cart home.
Dropping the dishes in the sink, I settle down to work at the table, looking for online magazines that might publish pieces I’ve written.
After hours of searching and submitting more pieces, I commute four or five feet back to the coffee maker to brew another cup.
The kitchen trash can is overflowing with banana peels, kale stalks, and wadded paper towels I use after washing my hands. I’ve done this so many times, my hands look like chicken skin.
Above the trash can, one of my five masks is drying on a paper towel on top of the microwave. I just found my clear goggles on the floor. They have to be washed and dried before I make my first risky commute outside of my apartment where, in the hallway, I may encounter neighbors, as I commute to the rubbish room. That’s right, that’s what it’s called. The building was erected in the 1960s and still has air raid signs, reminders of another frightening time.
I have a problem though. The shopping basket which I “drive” to the rubbish room is full of clean clothes.
So, first I have to commute by foot from the shopping basket to the bed, where I sort and fold the clothes, and put them away.
Now the cart is ready for the drive, but I’m not. I’m still in my pink floral pajamas. I’m going to have to wash and dry my goggles, get dressed and accessorized with the goggles, plastic gloves, and a mask before I commute to the rubbish room.
My arm, in which I have “Cupital Tunnel Syndrome” from lifting so many cups of coffee, flashes a caution light of moderate pain, telling me not to drive the cart through the hall. My mind flashes red: Don’t move.
So instead, I email my friends. Staying in touch with people is important during the pandemic, say the experts. I happily agree.