This morning began as usual. I heard my husband get up and breathe loudly as he took off his boxers. I slowly opened my eyes and rubbed the sleep, and through a blurred lens, watched him as he walked naked through our bedroom door. I knew where he was headed. I heard the back-door shut as he headed to our small, but private back area and open the hot tub cover. It’s like clockwork as he sits in the boiling hot water for his back every morning.
My daughter, Lola, is asleep. The night before she went to bed at 11:30 PM, which is way past her normal bedtime. My dog, Ernie, lays with his head on my chest, as if he is a Chihuahua instead of a 55 -pound dog that he is. It’s Sunday, and the streets of Hollywood are quiet. Silent. You can hear a few birds chirping like springtime was finally opening its eyes. As I stretch and take the covers off me and place my feet firmly on the weathered hardwood floors, it hits me like a warm washcloth that suddenly turns cold —“what the actual fuck?!” I say out loud to myself. Oh yes, it’s another day, the same as the day before, as we head into the fourth week of the “Stay at Home” order in Los Angeles. “Jesus Christ!” (I’m saying this on Easter Sunday, by the way).
Referring to these days as “Groundhog Day” is an understatement. If I remember the movie correctly, Bill Murray’s character relives the same day again and again. The cute little groundhog, who is the star of the movie, Punxsutawney Phil, comes out from underground to see his shadow and tell the world how many weeks there are until winter is over. It’s a funny movie, but also genius. Bill Murray’s character “Phil” evolves over his first reaction of anger and frustration, transitions to letting it all go, and himself. Eventually “Phil” starts to become more present every day and care about the community of people around him, living each day as an opportunity to learn about them and himself, falling in love and finally coming out of his recurring day, and moving on with a richer fuller, state of being.
With this pandemic, I have accepted a lot of what I call slight inconveniences and hiccups. Paris and London trip planned with my daughter for Spring Break, canceled. Hamilton tickets, canceled, Billie Eilish tickets I bought as a surprise present to Lola, canceled, my 80’s music fest with Adam Ant and the Go Go’s, canceled. Although disappointed, I took these minor setbacks relatively well. Maybe, not the Europe trip. I shed more than a few tears over the loss of our adventure, but other than that, it’s been okay. David and I both work from home, it’s business as usual. My daughter is in online school, she’s busy and we are all getting into a groove. I miss my family, seeing my parents, friends, happy hours, birthday parties, respite from the daily grind. In its place are the face masks, gloves, waiting in line to get into Trader Joe’s, people are out of work, business are struggling to stay afloat. It’s all very surreal, anxiety- inducing, sad, and frustrating, but that’s not all. That’s not the big “F”
Actually, it’s not an F at all; it’s a big capital “D” as in Distraction. Not going out is saving lives. Done. What the actual fuck am I going to do all day? The past four weeks have really made it clear to me all my little social quirks and activities that I easily do to distract myself. I realized all those trips to Target when I hear they have a vegan, cruelty free make-up line I need to try, the Pilates classes I must go to everyday so I don’t feel like such a “fat ass,” when I sit for my job over eight hours a day. The Nordstrom Rack run I have to make because I need a blazer to wear out to dinner. The dinners out that I’ve been looking forward to since I work from home and I need to get out of the house lest I risk losing my mind to boredom. I chauffeur and coordinate my Lola’s sports activities and events, All gone. All of it gone in one big sweep. No shopping, no pit stops, no restaurants, no distractions.
I get my cup of coffee, and head to my bedroom. I place my head on my pillow and meditate. Yes, that’s right I’ve been meditating. Always wanted to try meditating, never did. It’s been really good for me to just sit in the quiet and clear my head. I do a little something special after my mental space clearing and visualize. I visualize what we call “specific intentions.” My visualization lately has been my husband renovating the kitchen that I’ve been nagging him about for the past seven years. I visualize that A LOT. No nagging, just intention. After my intention, I look at my calendar as I have a busy schedule this Easter Sunday, I have a video chat with my mom, dad, and brother and later I have a “happy hour” connect with my friends. I find that I am the “C” in Connect.
I always thought of myself as someone who was always engaged with my friends, but I found that I am in touch more with propelling forward more than I have ever been. I see people once a week, maybe more now. Laughing over video, talking politics, nonsense, whatever. I do have little “d” in my daily routine these days. I’ve started baking bread (no one in my family eats bread), catching up on streaming movies, and been pinning kitchens on my Pinterest board a little too much. I believe there has to be guilty pleasures and distractions from dealing with myself 24 hours a day. But, at the end of the day when there’s no driving, shopping, decision-making, it’s just being. Being here, being now. It’s not that I don’t have a meltdown every now and then, anxiety or restlessness of being in close quarters. But we are in the same shared experience. All of us. It may not be the same experience, but we are all having to manage and navigate life, minute by minute, hour by hour.
I open my eyes, feel my heartbeat and blink. Ready for the day. Then, I hear “MOM, I’m hungry!” What the Fu..