If you’re reading this in the now, I suppose I can skip any preamble explaining COVID-19.
If you’re reading this later, I hope it’s a brighter time for humanity.
I’m writing, as usual, from the desk in my home office, a comfy space full of books, dimly lit thanks to blackout curtains that keep out the otherwise fierce daylight from the south-facing windows. (Don’t cry for my lack of a view — it would just be of a parking lot and another row of condos, anyway.)
I am alone, sparing the occasional visits by Best Cat.
None of this is out of the ordinary. It might as easily be early on a typical weekend day, with The Empress of Whisky out hiking.
For starters, The Empress is away in Maine, visiting her parents, a trip she had planned ahead of the realization of the seriousness of COVID-19 in the States, a trip that may now very well end up being extended longer than either of us anticipated.
We’ve been apart a few times in our nearly 15 years together, usually not longer than a weekend, though. Once, in the early days, she took a two-week trip to Mozambique, during which we spoke by phone maybe three times. That was hard. This is much easier by comparison. We communicate — via text, call, or video — a few times a day.
I lose myself in thought on the word still, as I ponder that this is exactly what home is like without her — a still, quiet place.
Normally, I might occupy myself outside a bit — I’m introverted by nature, but I might still meet friends for drinks, or take in a movie or a meal out.
None of that is an option now, as society bears down under social distancing.
The bars and theaters and restaurants are mostly closed, sparing only a few who are late to comply with CDC and government recommendations. (Georgia has yet to mandate closings for businesses, though it did shut down schools.)
The grocery stores remain open, but honestly that’s an anxiety-inducing thought, and I am at least stocked with essentials to last a bit.
The numbers show how important it is to keep social distancing and take it seriously. They also show this needs to be our way of life for an extended period of time, if we want a realistic shot at keeping the number of cases manageable.