This is my essay that was just published in Poetic Sun.
December 2022 M T W T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
This is my essay that was just published in Poetic Sun.
Masks! Eighteen months ago, they were the great unknown. I remember late in February 2020, a man driving in the car next to me had a mask on. I thought it was so hilarious, I tried to take a picture of him while I was driving. Less than a month later, masks were a number one priority. How were we going to get them? They were in as short supply as toilet paper. We were in Hawaii and most supply chains had shut down. Almost no airplanes or cargo ships.
I found out that Katia was making masks and contacted her. Soon I had masks made from colorful Hawaiian prints. I bought enough for us, our grandkids who were living with us, and even for our neighbors. (I set the two I’d bought for Kathy and Mark on the bench by our front door. Kathy left us a can of Lysol in exchange. Lysol!! I was so grateful I had tears in my eyes.)
Although we loved how beautiful Katia’s masks were, I knew we’d need more. I began searching the Internet for masks like I was a crazy person. When the ships started running again, I found I’d bought enough to open an emporium.
I’ve found masks helpful in many ways other than protecting me from Covid and/or colds and flu. I had no idea how much I touched my face before the pandemic began. Wearing a mask keeps my hands off my face while hiding the wrinkles on that same face. I found another use also—I use the mask as an extra sunscreen shield when I walk.
We’re going to be on a plane in about ten days. Fortunately, we’re vaccinated. Which means the shields I bought will probably go unused.
I think everyone is doing a lot of thinking about what they were doing a year ago today. I know I am.
I just looked at my dining room table and remembered my grandsons being here at the beginning of the pandemic. So many thoughts whirred through my head—how scared we were—how unbelievable it all was—how I was always trying to figure out what to make for dinner for college-aged kids—how we couldn’t find toilet paper or hand sanitizer or masks.
I remember getting my neighbor masks for her and her husband. I left them out on the bench by our front door. She’d wanted to pay me for them, and I’d said, “Don’t even worry about it.” When she picked up the masks, she left me a spray can of Lysol. I was so grateful, I got tears in my eyes.
That established a pattern of neighbors helping neighbors through the months. We kept in touch by phone, email or text. If someone needed something, we all pitched in to help—even if it wasn’t in person.
This was about the time I started using Shipt. I didn’t go to a grocery story for months. I did have to go to Costco myself because I needed to have my Shingles shot booster. I was so nervous!
This is also when we became addicted to Netflix and Prime Video. Through the grapevine or our kids, we’d hear about a great series. My husband is a binge watcher while I like to space things out. He went ahead in “Yellowstone” and I felt like he’d cheated on me!
Eventually, we had our first socially distanced cocktail hour with our neighbors. It was the first of many.
I haven’t written in my blog for a while. I had a writing project to finish and then other projects to work on. My mind was taken up by working out how we can help the 600 furloughed people on the resort property we live on in Hawaii. When the hotel and the rest of the facilities closed, people became unemployed. Most still are. I’m on a board that normally works to help the employees with medical needs and by giving scholarships. Since March, we’ve twice given out gift cards to Target, Costco and grocery stores to our employees.
We came to Hawaii on December 8, planning on returning to California on April 20. Because of Covid-19, we are still here.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. It is a beautiful place to ride out the pandemic. We are fairly safe here although today 55 new cases were reported–the most ever. I know that might not seem like many compared to the surges in other places. But, we are a small place with minimum medical facilities. People are not good about social distancing–maybe people are complacent because they think they are safe in the islands. Some believe it’s nothing more than the flu. Some believe it could never happen to them so they have family gatherings and parties.
If I ever get down about not seeing my kids and grandkids and our dog, I tell myself to get over it. We are so fortunate that I can only be grateful. (I tell myself five things I am grateful for every night. It helps me fall asleep–sometimes.)
My husband and I are staying close to home. I don’t cook every night–maybe four times a week. He’s a grazer and doesn’t want to have to sit down to a meal–and I don’t want to set the table every night either! When our grandkids were here for seven weeks, we did sit down together for dinner every night–it was a ritual we needed.
My relationship with my husband is different now. We spend much of the day in the same space, which can lead to getting on each other’s nerves. The television is a bone of contention–he plays his war movies way too loud. I’m jumpy enough without hearing shooting and shouting all day long. He gets annoyed when I ask him to turn it down or play the sound through his hearing aids. Isn’t that what they are for? On the other hand, we watch more television together than we ever have. We enjoy that time very much–enjoy each other during that time.
When I look at pictures of the Corona Virus from under a microscope, I’m struck by how pretty it looks. How can something so virulent look so nice?