• A brief advisory to wine connoisseurs. I had a glass of red wine today for the first time in a long while — it was a 2017 Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon that was tucked away in our pantry, a bottle of which usually commands a lofty $6.49 at our supermarket. If you are wondering whether this particular vintage improves with age, the answer is no.
• It is only a matter of time before my state decides to ease its coronavirus-related social and business controls. And when it does, I will have to answer myself, what will it take for me to feel comfortable going to restaurants or movies or museums, or walking a trail, or booking a flight on an airplane? Given my pre-existings, I don’t have a clear answer, and until I come up with one, I am in stasis, regardless of what my governor says. I know this much: I’m not going to take one for the American Economy, nor should anyone else.
• So I have an appointment for my bi-monthly eye injection. I get a call the day before my appointment from the health assistant, asking me whether I have had a fever, or have lost my sense of taste or smell, or have taken a trip in the last three weeks. No, no, no and no. She says, good. To myself I say, how strange that I am weighing the value of my eyesight against the risk of getting the virus at my eye doctor. To her I say, thank you, I’ll be there.
• A priest, a rabbi and a horse walk into a bar. The owner of the bar stops them and says, “Didn’t you see the sign? We’re closed because of the virus.” “Great… now how am I going to finish this joke?” sighs the horse.
• OK, here’s another. What has 1864 wings but can barely fly? American Airlines.
• In the eighth episode of The Twilight Zone in 1959, the nerdish Henry Bemis (played by Burgess Meredith) was the sole survivor in a nuclear wasteland created by World War III. He wanders despondently through the rubble until he stumbles upon the ruins of a library and realizes he now has all the time in the world to pursue his favorite pastime, reading. And then, because it is The Twilight Zone, his reading glasses fall and break into pieces.
When the stay-at-home orders were issued, I thought that I might become a Henry Bemis and use the time to focus on the painting, music, writing and reading that I enjoy. Instead, I’ve found it hard to concentrate on such activities. The news around the world, and from a number of friends, has not been uplifting. Writing about everyday topics feels escapist; writing about myself seems self-absorbed and disrespectful; writing about politics may be cathartic but it is also tiring, stumbling through all the rubble of this disaster.
I have been taking guitar lessons since February via video chat but will be ending them next week. Playing something badly over and over again until one slowly gets better at it (they call it practicing) is just too morale-draining for me right now. I can’t imagine what it’s like for high-school and college students who don’t have this option. Maybe they are more resilient at their age. We will have to hope so.
Nonetheless, I am no Henry Bemis — there is no tragic twist to my story. We have power, heat, food, internet and transportation. I get to enjoy a hot cup of coffee every morning and listen to the birds outside. We talk with our family more than we usually do. And we have managed to avoid the virus. It will be a relief when we can focus less intently on that.