Because of the surge in coronavirus cases in our county, we were among those who took several giant steps backward. No more mani-pedis or haircuts. No indoor restaurant service. No more gym, and no more indoor church. And don’t think of having a party. Hiking in the park and trips for necessities were our only outside activities, spiced up with an occasional medical appointment.
So after not seeing Jennifer, our daughter, and her family for several weeks, we decided to accept an invitation to an outside barbecue. Sadie and Teddy were included. This was their first outing.
But this blog is not about having dinner with family (which was lovely, by the way). And it’s not about how amazingly well-behaved the pups were or how they brought their own special joy to the evening (who knew they would be party animals?).
It’s more about how I waited until the last minute to get ready. The hermit in me was having a hard time getting ready to socialize. But I finally took a shower, and using all my courage, I faced the magnifying mirror in my bedroom. It wasn’t pretty. I have often wondered at the migration of hair as one ages. Why do the tails of your eyebrows end up on your upper lip and chin so that you always looked surprised? I dealt with the beard and the mustache and threw on some makeup (I’m down to five products—eat your heart out, Sephora). I blew-dry my hair upside down (which is always a risk), put on shorts, a shirt, and sandals, and I was good to go.
Someone once asked me if I was an introvert or an extrovert. I guess the answer is that I’m an introverted extrovert. I’m perfectly content being at home, but I love being with friends and family. Somehow during this whole sheltering-at-home thing, though, the balance has tipped, and I have taken on the reclusiveness of Yoda, including the facial hair—but not the ears, although did you know your ears never stop growing? “When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.”*
The next morning was Saturday, and I was thinking about how much I had really enjoyed the evening and that this social isolation diet I was on was not healthy. Sitting at the dining room table with my first cup of coffee, I was surrounded by the tools for my usual early morning activities. And that was when the horrid truth became known: we had no internet connection! We didn’t even have a landline. Oh, the horror of it! John went and fiddled with the router. Our collective knowledge of this device is, if it doesn’t work, turn it off and on—if you’re lucky, you’re in business. Not this day. John had to sit in his truck to talk to our provider. A mere forty-five minutes later, we had an appointment three days later between 1 and 5 p.m. for repair. “To a dark place this line of thought will carry us. Great care we must take.”
I soon realized how connected I am, since I was suddenly disconnected. This social isolation stunk. For one thing, how could I know what the weather was going to be (although I had a good idea it was going to be somewhere between “blistering” and “inferno”). I know you can just go outside, but I like to know what’s going to happen over the course of the day. And then there is the ten-day “pretty inaccurate” forecast … Still, I like to know. “If routine you count on, disappointed your hopes will be.“
On top of that, I had been eager to do a little online shopping and some research. That was not happening. Emails were iffy, and our landline was dead. And what were we going to do that night, with no ability to stream movies or other programs? “Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things.”
Staring sullenly into the foam in my coffee cup, I heard a familiar chime. A text had come! I grabbed my phone like it was the last piece of chocolate in the See’s candy box when the pandemic struck. Oh joy! I was not in a conversational desert! I soon found out I couldn’t download or upload anything—but still, connection was there. A few chimes later, I found I was in a group text with about forty other people. “Patience, you must have …”
*These are all, of course, quotes from the master of the Jedi.