As we move into the second month of the shutdown and social distancing, our daily routines around work, exercise, and food are becoming more and more rigid. We’re more independent from schools and jobs. Steve’s hair is growing to Cast Away lengths. Zoom happy hours with friends have lost their novelty, so we’re losing contact with the outside world.
In an effort to undo the first few weeks of breads, baking, and cocktail hours of this pandemic, I have been logging every morsel into an iPhone app, Noom. And that, too, has lead to more rigidity. Oatmeal and banana for breakfast. Whole grain bread and deli meat for lunch. Apple and tea and one cookie for afternoon snack. and so on.
My reading habits are largely driven by the sale section at the iBooks book store. I like cheap books. A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded Pillars of the Earth, a novel set in 12-century England. One of the main characters is a Benedictine monk, and the author provides rich descriptions of monastic life.
Our lives do feel very monastic at the moment. Oatmeal and grainy bread. Everybody spends hours industriously on individual computers screens. With vows of silence, the only noise comes from the tv which is permanent set on CNN.
While there is something zen about this simple life, it doesn’t feel terribly healthy either. I live in a densely packed area of the country with lots of friends and family. I am blessed to normally have an abundance of opportunities for amusements and social life. We’re not built for this spartan lifestyle. So, we’re trying to find a way to make our weekends a little less monk-like.
This weekend, Steve, Ian, and I drove into New York City to visit a Fort Tryon Park, which surrounds The Cloisters, a museum composed of ancient European monasteries. Yes, monks again. It was our first trip into Manhattan in two months. The park was bursting with flowers and life. Even though I lived a block away from that park for 14 years, the masked people made the place foreign. It was unsettling.
Right now, as I’m typing, the Senate is talking to Anthony Fauci about his views about opening up society. He fears a fall outbreak. Will schools and college open up this fall? Will Steve go back to work? A vaccine may be a year or two away.
How long can you keep this up? Are you all doing okay?