Boomers and the pandemic
As I walked down to my mailbox, Clorox wipe in hand, a lone bicycle rider wearing a mask passed by. It felt surreal, like an episode of “The Twilight Zone” or “Night of the Living Dead.”
I never liked the science fiction book club that I joined in college at the urging of my boyfriend at the time. I don’t even think the imaginations of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov or Frank Herbert live up to the eerie-ness of our world right now.
The really, really sad, scary stuff aside, until we watch the next news brief, our day to day lives have changed immeasurably. I promise, I’m not going to mention toilet paper, but geez. And who would have thought that when neighbors put a 2-gallon bottle of Lysol on my porch, as well as paper towels and, yes toilet paper (OK, I lied), I was seriously considering adding them to my will?
We are in that really scary age group — over 60 — but thank goodness for all the ways we can network. We can still be part of our family and friends' daily lives, although human contact like hugging and cuddling our grandchildren is out of the question, much less even being in the same house with them. I can see how a person could die of loneliness — or bleach and Lysol poisoning.
When I FaceTime with my kids, they have the opposite problem — lack of loneliness — trying to do their jobs remotely while taking care of their small children at the same time. I look at their bleary eyes, see their sheer exhaustion and it truly pains me. I’m quite sure I heard my youngest son say to his 3 year old, “OK, it’s time to give the baby a turn with the scissors…”
Speaking of scissors, OMG — my hair — my reflection in the mirror is going in the direction of an aging hippie/meth addict.
We, along with everyone else we know, have never cooked, cleaned and organized so much in a really long time. We have all kinds of projects going on, although we are actually praying that we won’t have the time to finish them.
My husband, following the lead of other neighbors, has rediscovered his leaf blower. He develops an interesting tough guy persona as he ferociously yanks the cord, in his dark sunglasses with his cap pulled down low, his image only being tripped up by the adorable Aussie doodle, frolicking by his side. In an interesting coincidence, he was blowing off the porch for the second time in one day when a friend called and said, “Don’t you think there should be some kind of ordinance where you can only use your leaf blower from like 1-3 and then you get fined if you use it any other time during the day … so annoying.” I quickly moved into another part of the house, hoping to dispel the roar. Not everyone gets the same kind of comfort hearing the noises that remind us that other people nearby are still alive. Same thing with power washing — lots of that going on, too.
My dreams are incredibly vivid. I go to sleep at night not sure if I’m dreading them or looking forward to the latest Fellini flick — and then I wake up to face the unearthliness of the world even more bizarre than my dreams.
But, as I sit out on my porch and the sun warms me, the birds couldn’t be happier, gorgeous flowers are blooming and their fragrances blend into something just short of heaven. The sound of a distant leaf blower, the aroma of coffee drifts out to me. I can almost convince myself that everything is “normal.”
I sip my coffee and watch two people walking on the sidewalk toward each other. As they get close, one veers onto the grass to the left and the other one goes into the street on the right, their heads down as they pass.
Normal? Yeah, not so much.