Originally Published April 4, 2020.
Week one of quarantine. Beginning with the “well, what?” phase. Is this for real? I guess it makes sense, but could we be blowing things out of proportion? What are good foods to stock up on? How long will this thing last? What the fuck with the toilet paper? That morphs into the “I’m not going to let this thing get the best of me” phase. You set up your Zoom account, make a list of books you’ve been meaning to read for the past ten, twenty, thirty years, reach out to your friends, agree to check in, shop online for paint chips at Benjamin Moore because what better time is there to repaint your kitchen? You kind of like that pale grey color. You don’t open any of the books on your list because first you have to clean your apartment and find a place to store all those bags of ramen and bags of flour. You were planning on baking a lot of bread.
Week two. The “I have to stop watching the news/I can’t stop watching the news” phase. You still don’t love Cuomo, but you feel compelled to watch his daily briefing. You may not agree with everything he says, but at least it makes some kind of sense. You stop watching the briefings by the POTUS because nothing in them makes any sense. You start to get bored with pasta, then feel guilty about being bored, because you have food and a roof and nobody you know has died. Still haven’t read any of those books, but you’ve finished watching the entirety of Cheers on NetFlix for the fourth time.
Week three. The “I can’t sleep because it’s too quiet” phase. You walk into your bedroom, stand there for a few moments because something feels wrong. What is it? You try very hard to figure it out, almost give up and then it hits you; the sounds you’ve been complaining about to no one in particular for years – the band practicing in the shed behind the house next door, the sirens, the trucks hitting the pot hole on Coney Island Avenue, the airplanes circling waiting to land at JFK – have all stopped. Except for the sirens. Nobody you know has died yet but people who know people you know are starting to.
Let’s see what week four brings.