Love in a time of COVID-19

Every day is so wildly different now. I feel that if I don’t record what’s happening, I’ll forget.

First off, my sleep app gave me a rare score of 100% for last night. Does the sense of common humanity help one sleep? Does a true awareness that your problems and worries are insignificant compared with the problems and worries of others elsewhere in the world provide a sense of nighttime calm?

Early today, since my back felt sore, I took an online yoga class. So many choices right now! IMG_7527Yoga, like everything else, might never be the same now that we’ve hosted our favourite instructors in our living rooms and jumped into classes all over the city, not to mention New York.

At 11:00 a.m., my girls and I did our daily 1920s thing and gathered around the laptop to watch Trudeau’s daily address. Our prime minister speaks so well under stress and provides such hope. He’s repeated several times that “nothing can be ruled out,” so it feels as though something more will be ruled in. Lockdown? Trudeau’s most touching line today was “special thanks to all the kids.”

After that, I think I ate something. I napped.

*

In the afternoon, I finally started sorting through my double-row bookshelves, cuz we’re planning to paint my room. Twelve years ago, when we moved in here, I never really organized or sorted. My bedroom is full.

Many of the books smell old and musty. (Do young people even know what that means?) Many were damaged during a flood in my parents’ basement some 30 years ago. I think I’ve kept every single book that I needed for my English degree, but now, ha, when I need a poem, I go online. (Don’t we all?) Many of the books I’ve never read, and probably never will.

“Keep the ones that give you joy,” they say. Well, back in the day, collecting books gave me joy. I collected and collected and never really stopped. I have a helluva lot of books.

It’s impossible to part with any of the hardcovers and some of the paperbacks—like the one with a young Margaret Atwood on the cover. And the university books full of interesting (insightful?) pink highlights. The poetry. The books inscribed and signed by authors. The books written by friends and colleagues. The gifts. The recommendations—such as the book I’m holding in the photo, The History of Love, an amazing novel recommended by the late author Juris Jurjevics.  I can’t give that book away. It’s a precious memory. Plus, it’s a phenomenal read, I told my middle daughter. “You’d love it!”

*

At some point, I took a break and went for a cold, sunny walk around the block. I kept my six-foot distance from passersby as though I were in some weird movie.

I saw a neighbour lugging bags out to his garage.

“Are you purging?” I asked.

“We have to,” he replied. “Everyone’s home and there’s not enough space.”

Just as I was about to start preparing a later-than-usual dinner, I got a text from a friend who owns a restaurant.

DD60C1DD-5278-45DB-BFD6-C9C2EF208E19“We closed the resto today,” she said.

Shit.

It became just too stressful.

“Every time customers came in to pick up food, I could see them wondering if they were taking too much of a risk,” she wrote.

“I too wondered if they were carriers or where they’d been earlier that day. What if the virus made one of my staff sick? Or me? What if I’m a carrier and not showing symptoms? What if I’m making people sick?”

Her hands are raw from all the handwashing. Her face has broken out from the stress, not to mention the sanitizer and chemicals from the constant cleaning.

“We just need to sit and chill our asses,” she concluded.

She offered to bring over some food. (Yes! Our fridge was nearly empty, and I wasn’t even sure what I was going to make.) She left it on our front porch. We weren’t taking any risks.

In return, I gave her a copy of the novel Like Water for Chocolate (which we had, super weirdly and coincidentally, been talking about the other night). I unearthed it during today’s Great Book Purge. It’s the perfect book for chefs. It’s all about food and love.

I was still reprimanded for serving dinner late. (How could I not be? I’ve chewed out everyone else for overshooting our regular dinner time by an hour-and-a-half. This last week has been abnormal, to say the least.)

Our dinner was delicious. But damn, her restaurant’s closed! Will other restaurants follow suit?

After dinner, our dog got a rare third walk, and I was ready to hit the hay by 8:00 p.m. But I had to get this down. Everything’s just so different and remarkable and strange. And who knows what tomorrow will bring?

 

[Written in bed on my iPhone. Goodnight!]

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