We’re on week 6 of staying at home for all but the necessary things, which usually means one trip to town each week for groceries and take-out (gotta support the local restaurants!)
Going to town is so stressful now. It used to be I enjoyed the 40-minute round-trip drive, listening to an audiobook along the way and back. I enjoyed browsing the store, taking my time, playing Pokémon Go when I’d finished running errands.
Now it’s a mad rush from the time I get into the car until the time the groceries are home and put away. Do I have my mask and gloves? Hand sanitizer? Do I have my list ready and sorted by aisle so I don’t have to linger any longer than necessary? Have I used the bathroom so I won’t have to use a public restroom?
There are tape lines on the floor telling us where to stand and how to navigate the aisles. Thankfully it’s never crowded — I don’t think I’ve ever seen our grocery store reach the maximum capacity — but I often have to go to two or more stores to get everything, which means more time in a mask, more time sweating in my nitrile gloves.
It’s all a small price to pay for safety, but it means I don’t like leaving the house for long, and when I come back, I’m usually drained from the stress. This pandemic has made me even more of a hermit than I already am. Impressive!
What’s bringing me joy these days? Animal Crossing. My kids, when they’re playing nicely together. Tim’s homemade chicken fettuccine alfredo (OMG so good). Making more time for exercise. The flexibility to take time off from work when I need to.
Life is more stressful in some respects, but also slower in a good way. (I recognize that a lot of this is the result of privilege.)
I’m contemplating what things I want to bring into the New Normal, and what things I’m comfortable leaving behind. If something doesn’t change as a result of this upheaval, is it all for naught? I kinda think so. This feels like a warning siren, a wake-up call, an opportunity. I’m just not sure what to do with it yet…