Pandemic Prose and Poems Submissions marilyn l davis two drops of ink

Pandemic Prose and Poems Submissions

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.”― Oliver Markus Malloy

 

 

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. 

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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.

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The Desk – Once a Safe Haven – Today, A Scary Place

 

pandemic prose and poems two drops of ink marilyn l davis coronavirusDressed, 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.

Is this how Howie Mandel lives his life? 

Living like this for only a little while, I now understand more of what he goes through. It’s also helped me understand my mother’s compulsions and know that they were never a slight to me, but the only way she could live with the obsessive thoughts.
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I can say that I’ve reached out by phone to some people I haven’t spoken to in years. Today, there’s no rushing to work, so no excuses.  With hugging not an option, human contact is still a way to feel connected, and the phone is helping.

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What Else Helps, Please?

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What I also know will help is for you to let me know how you’re dealing with the pandemic, the loss of employment, the disconnect from family and loved one, and hope you are coping with life in general – as if this is general in any way.

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. 

Thanks. 

 

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. 

For my friends and family in Hall County, Georgia, here’s a link to the Department of Public Health. 

 

Be safe. 

 

6 comments

  1. Hi Marilyn! Thank you for this wonderfully real piece. I tried submitting an earlier comment, but I don’t see it went through. This may be a duplicate. Many readers will relate to what you shared about your mom’s OCD, which can be so debilitating. If it helps, remember that there is no “right” way to feel. People have different experiences and triggers. We should all be kind to ourselves. I loved the image of Jackson’s paw at the refrigerator. Animals can be great companions and teachers- they, like are you dear plants, are just being and adapting at the same time.

  2. Hi Marilyn! Thank you for this wonderfully real piece. I tried submitting an earlier comment, but I don’t see it went through. This may be a duplicate. Many readers will relate to what you shared about your mom’s OCD, which can be so debilitating. If it helps, remember that there is no “right” way to feel. People have different experiences and triggers. We should all be kind to ourselves. I loved the image of Jackson’s paw at the refrigerator. Animals can be great companions and teachers- they, like are you dear plants, are just being and adapting at the same time.

  3. Hi Marilyn, What a great and real piece! Thank you for sharing and also relating back to your mother’s OCD, which can be debilitating. Many people will be able to relate. If it helps, remember that there’s no “right” way to feel, we are all different and process what is going on differently. I enjoyed the image of Jackson’s paw at the refrigerator. Animals are wonderful, and even if they do not know exactly what is going on, they have a way of just “being” and adapting at the same time.

  4. Thanks for sharing Marilyn! We live out on a farm in rural Portugal, so our lives have not changed in any drastic way – though we don’t go into town unless we really need supplies, and avoid lunch at the local cafe (though tomorrow I’ll call to see if they are doing takeout). This time has not turned into a productive zone for me – yet, but that’s a work in progress. I wash my hands more often, keep my distance with everyone but my husband (and puppies and donkey), and can’t decide if I want everything to go back to normal asap or drag out a tiny bit so we are nudged into rethinking our habits in what would – I hope – be a more planet-friendly way.

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