By: Marilyn L. Davis
“The coronavirus pandemic is a world-changing event, like 9/11. There was a world before Covid-19. And there will be a world after Covid-19. But it won’t be the same.”―
Unemployment, Uncertainty, and Utter Chaos
My internal alarm has no idea that this is the second Sunday I’ve been home waiting out the Coronavirus pandemic since I’m not working at my full-time job; I woke up at 5 am again today. My cat has no clue that we live in an altered world. My plants seem to be thriving with my constant attention to water and moving them to get more exposure to the sun.
Each day now starts with a ritual: wash my hands, even before I use the bathroom. Then wash again. Try desperately to remember if it’s been over 8 hours since I cleaned, sanitized, and wiped down everything in the bathroom. I decide that I don’t feel like I got 8 hours of sleep, but I’ll be cautious and clean everything again.
The New Mid-morning Morning Routine
Jackson, the cat, stands vigil at the bathroom door. He’s finally figured out that our routine – feed him, then make coffee – is not in place, so he’s silent, but I know he expects me to do what I’ve always done. No more.
But bathroom cleaned, I wander into the kitchen. I wash my hands. I then turn to get his food from the refrigerator and remember that I need to wipe it down again. It’s been since dinner – hours ago, and who knows what lurks when we’re not watching?
I keep wondering about the container for his food. Do I sanitize it? Will a disinfectant wipe harm him? Then I see his paw between the open door of the refrigerator. He eats at an adjacent table, and I realize he’s more equipped to deal with all of this than me. He just doesn’t know about the Coronavirus. He’s only concerned with getting fed. So I do my job and feed him.
Now I’ll make coffee—almost an hour behind schedule. But some routines still work with a few modifications. Coffee brewing with the plastic filter washed, paper filter inserted, handle wiped twice – now to make the bed.
Did I Breathe in Germs During the Night?
Sheets washed in hot water yesterday – this is no time to be concerned with fading, but did I breathe on them last night? Well, of course, I did. Such strange thoughts come up now.
With my windows open, what germs came in? Yes, I could Google diseases that are transmitted through the air, but do I want to know what else is in the woods behind my house? No. Is that my head in the sand response? Maybe. But ventilation at least makes me think I’m cleansing on one level.
So in addition to the sheets, I’ll just spray the window sash and sill with the daily surface cleaner that kills cold, flu, and strep. God, I want to believe in the advertising on the label.
Today is the quilt from the end of the bed. It has been two days for it.
Familiar Sounds are Comforting
I hear the gurgle of the coffee maker, a reminder that brewing means a cup for me. But I’ve touched sheets, comforters, pillows, and I should wash again, shouldn’t I? Who knows, so I do.
The cup, from the cupboard, washed in the dishwasher yesterday, again, over 8 hours ago. It can’t hurt to rewash it, I’m sure. Grab a paper towel to dry it; I have the kind that lets you adjust the size, and I now only use one small sheet at a time. Then I check the paper towel roll. I’m still using them too fast, I decide.
Waste Not, Want Not
Okay, so this small paper towel sheet is only slightly damp. What else can I wipe down? Am I using the product that works best if I let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes? I let the spray sit on the counters and sinks, safeguarding my personal space as best I can.
As I check the label, I can leave the counter, but I’ll use the still, only slightly damp paper towel somewhere.
Suit Up and Pretend You’re Okay
Then I remember that pajamas during the day make me feel lazy or sick. Too much emphasis on sick on this day, so I’ll get dressed. Did I wear these pajamas for two nights? Although showering at night, who knows what lurks? Into the hamper. Did I touch it? Yes. Okay, spray and use the slightly damp towel.
I wiped down the chest of drawers with the disinfectant last night before bed, so I get clothes for the day. And for an added touch of security, in the face of so much uncertainty regarding the Coronavirus, I’ll wash my earrings and wear them like a shield against the unknown.
The Desk – Once a Safe Haven – Today, A Scary Place
Dressed, I’m ready, after 2 1/2 hours to get to my desk – where I spend an excessive amount of time, writing, reading, editing, and catching up with the world – all wood and hard surfaces – those areas the CDC, World Health, and my friends tell me to clean.
Having discarded the over-worked paper towel, I resort to the freshly washed nubby scrubber to clean the desk. Then take the now relegated to computer keyboard duty toothbrush and scrub lightly on the unplugged keyboard.
Air dry before I can touch it? Like a watched pot doesn’t boil, the keyboard still looks damp. Crap, if I don’t get these thoughts down, my poor head might explode.
What Else Helps, Please?
Pandemic Prose and Poetry – It’s Open to All
I know I’m not the only scared, germ focused, high-risk OCD person on the planet, and I’d love to have some distractions as my head is now a scary, frightening place.
I need to read what others are feeling, experiencing, and doing to cope with the Coronavirus world-wide pandemic. That means sending me a submission.
Keyboard cleaned and ready to edit.
If you aren’t getting overloaded with Facebook, LinkedIn, Smart News, and a slew of other information, here’s the link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Maybe start there.