Monday, May 25, 2020

After The Virus Is Gone

Just as Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn harmonized on the classic 1971 hit “After The Fire Is Gone,” I’ve been singing my own tune. It’s about things forgotten, trivial though some may be. Human interaction, mainly, and everything that entails.
My version is called “After The Virus Is Gone.” Not everything here applies to me, but to someone it matters.
What have I noticed?
I miss going to the store.
I miss eating in restaurants and complaining about the service, food, and cleanliness.
I miss eating in restaurants with children screaming and throwing food off their high chairs and booster seats six feet away from me.
I miss salad bars, self-service coffee, tea, and doughnuts.
I miss casino buffets.
I miss going to work. I miss the drive and getting up an hour early to beat the morning traffic jam. I miss the office, oh, so much, because there are people there — not just little kids. My kids, precious, though they are, are ready to self-isolate, too. Away from me.
I was terrible at old math, and I can’t figure out new math if my life depended on it. I miss the office so much because they have toilet paper there.
After the virus is gone.
I miss the gym. Not really, but I know some people do. I miss waving at the other moms in the bus lanes and at the soccer fields. I miss wondering if takeout is okay to eat for the fourth time this week.
I miss school fundraisers.
My cat wants to miss me, but I’m never gone.
I miss going to Walmart — I do the pickup, but I haven’t used a coupon, bought any day-old bread, or peered at the marked-down organic chicken because the “best by” date was tomorrow.
I miss driving. Anywhere. I miss yelling at people in traffic, watching people on their phones, reading, applying makeup, and picking their noses.
I watch myself do some of those things in the mirror sometimes, but it’s just not the same.
After the virus is gone.
I don’t really miss going to WW because the number hardly moved, but I go and keep trying. (I wonder if Oprah has gained the quarantine 15?)
I wanna go to a convenience store and get scratch-off lottery tickets, a 128-ounce fountain drink, two mini-packs of Little Debbie powdered donuts, a Twizzler, Slim Jim, and a Red Bull just because I’ve never had one.
After the virus is gone.
I miss going to the movies. Weekend getaways canceled, writer conferences postponed, the library is closed. I miss going to church, the synagogue, the mosque, and Saturday Mass. Seven weeks since the last potluck.
It’s spring when everything is fresh, new, and vibrant after the cold and brown of winter. Spring in the south doesn’t last long — a few weeks maybe between a Blackberry winter, severe weather, and the choke-filled breath of new pollen before the humidity and heat close all the windows to begin a six-month cycle of chilled air and more confinement because I can’t take the heat. Especially in the kitchen. I’m so tired of three meals a day for seven people.
It’s a time of festivals, proms, and graduations. I won’t miss any of that, but people I love will. In 30 years, what will they remember? Disruption. Chaos. Apart from the norm — how will we cope? None of us has seen anything like this.
Rites of passage stolen. Lives taken. Normalcy paused. It wasn’t over in two weeks.
Hugs. Muted conversations. It’s hard to read body language through a screen. A computer. A phone. (Can they please make a flashing sign or light to tell people where to look on a phone?) A door. From six feet apart.
For now, I’m alive. Not infected. Who knows, I haven’t been tested.
I keep my distance from everyone. I am medically fragile. I am still employed. I still have food. I still have shelter.
Thank you to the essential — the healthcare workers, the grocery workers, the truckers, the food manufacturers — I ordered commercial TP from Staples because they had it — the postal employees, law enforcement, and everyone who stays home. Thank you, you might have saved a life. Or mine.
I really need a haircut.
I miss my Mom. We’re not a hugging family. But this Mother’s Day, that’s gonna change. From six feet away, anyway.
After the virus is gone.


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

After the virus is gone, I wonder what life will be like. It will definitely be different from before.

Kevin Lawrence said...
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Ann Bennett said...

My big frustration is not being able to travel which is curious in that I am homebound taking care of few dependent family members.

I've read a few of your posts. So, I bought your first book on Kindle. I'm a Georgian too and recognized the cadence in your writing.




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