COVID Nineteen and Quarantine

Here at my house, we’re in self-quarantine mode. A week ago Saturday, my husband drove up into the mountains to fetch home our son for Spring Break. The next day, Sunday, late in the afternoon, two days AFTER colleges let out for vacation, the Colorado Health Department put out an alert stating that all those in several mountain towns, including our son’s, should NOT LEAVE and, if they had, they should isolate themselves for fourteen days. 

Monday I called the Health Department (and was on hold so long that the battery on one of our handsets gave out) and was told, yes, we all had to stay at home for the fortnight. (Just for the record, the woman with whom I spoke was kind and sensible. She answered all my questions and never rushed me to get off the phone.) So the warning came too late for us, and we’re mostly here at home. My husband and son, as recommended, are getting out for solitary walks and bike rides, both of them careful to stay six feet away from anyone else. My M.E. keeps me closer to home, but we are fortunate enough to have our own backyard and a park across the street.

So far, none of us is showing any signs of the virus, but I suspect it’s only a matter of time before at least one of us comes down with it. I confess the prospect of having a tube put down my throat to breathe for me scares me tremendously. Worse is the idea of someone for whom I care being taken away someplace where I can’t ladle chicken soup down her or his throat.

We’d been having groceries delivered, but now the demand is so high for both delivery and curbside pick up that we haven’t been able to schedule a time to obtain food. We’ll be able to hold out until Saturday when, presumably, we’ll be able to shop for ourselves again.

A lot has been written about the perils of isolation, and I feel some of that. Jenny Lawson wrote

I am a natural introvert so I’ve been training for this for my whole life, but don’t let anyone tell you that this is easy for hermits. Personally, I’m feeling very grateful that Victor and I already work from home and Hailey has been in correspondence high school so this shouldn’t really feel very different for us but honestly it really is and it’s very easy for me to fall back into my agoraphobic tendencies and spiral into a depression or let my anxiety spin me out so remember to take care of yourself and others mentally during this time. 

I’m another introvert, but just knowing that I can’t go places I need or want to go (I’m missing physical therapy and doctors’ appointments, and do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been to the book store? It’s been over three weeks now, people. I expect to get the literary DTs any moment and start talking to large, pink Elizabeth Bennets, Violas, Bagginses, and Peter Grants) makes me feel trapped. I’m finding that sheltering in place isn’t helping my anxiety and depression either.

But for now, what’s harder is the lack of isolation. I’m used to spending most of my time by myself, but now there are these two big guys in my space ALL THE TIME. They act like they live here. The nerve! The gall!

To make matters worse, our house has paper-thin walls and air ducts that carry sound beautifully. So while it’s possible to close a door and not be seen, there is no aural privacy, no way to have a bit of a cry, throw a minor tantrum, conduct a confidential conversation, or indulge in some maniacal laughter without being overheard.

While I could use a few hours of isolation, that’s probably about all I could take. Ultimately, I’m happier with my family here at home, where I am irrationally believing that I’ll be able to ward off this virus with my well-honed Evil Eye. Please don’t disillusion me.

Convergence: My Father, the Ides of March, and Inktober52

15 March, 2020

Today is/was/would have been my father’s ninety-second birthday. With my mom’s death ten months ago, most of my focus has been on that more recent loss and the attendant (and apparently never-ending) responsibilities. But I still miss my dad.

My father, Erwin Feiertag, and I. Photo credit: Sarah Feiertag

He died back in 2007 of cancer, but he was the soul of our family and I sometimes, even now, find myself reaching for the phone to call him.

Dad was a generally gentle man, but he always reminded us that he’d been born on the day Caesar was murdered. I think Dad hoped that being born on the Ides of March might give him an alluringly dangerous veneer.

When I was very young, my father would, once in a while, take me into Los Angeles, I think to give my mother a bit of break.

My parents make their get-away from their wedding reception. See how happy they are? No kids yet.

I remember a day when we went to Angels Flight, “the World’s Shortest Incorporated Railway.”

I remember holding tightly to my father’s hand because the car was so crowded and we didn’t want to get separated by the press. I was too small to see out the window and we were too packed in for Dad to be able to pick me up. (Maybe he was worried he’d drop me out the window.) Nevertheless, it was all so exciting and I was out with my father in the city and what could be better than that?

With my Dad on my mind and my inbox over-flowing, I was trying to catch up on my e-mails and saw that Jake Parker, the instigator of the annual Inktober challenge, has started issuing weekly prompts: Inktober52. So I took a peek to see what he’d posted, and saw that the first prompt was “Flight.” I guess because my dad was already on my mind, the word brought up the image Angels Flight and my memory of that day in L.A. So with the childish skills I have, I combined the first five Inktober52 prompts into a rough remembrance of my journey on the World’s Shortest Railway:

I love you, Dad, even though you died.