Monday, March 16, 2020

I Understand It, Now

The plague was raging.

Seven young men and three young women, along with their entourages (entourages were big in the 14th century), retreated to a villa outside Florence to wait it out.  Over the course of 100 days, they told 100 stories, one by one, every afternoon, as a way to pass the time.

When I read it several years ago (part of a class of books I really should read), Boccacio's Decameron seemed like a lovely fantasy, albeit perhaps not the most sanitary.  What if one of them brought the disease along to the villa?  They brought their belongings, covered with plague. There was no testing.  What were they thinking?

But the notion of whiling away the afternoon with friends, telling tales, forgetting, for a while, the reason they were there in the first place now holds new relevance.  I get it.

After all, there are all these unknowns.  How long am I going to keep smiling when I can't play with my friends?  We can use video on our devices, but the long pause, the sharing of physical space, smelling and seeing and hearing the same things at the same time, all of that is lost on the screen.

We went to Not-Kathy and Dr. K for dinner last night. Her preparations came straight from her first class in nursing school - cleaning and disinfecting.  We maintained a respectful distance (she leaned back when I got too close with my phone).  There was a plan for filling our glasses and clearing our plates.  We didn't share serving utensils; there was no butter knife.  Our chicken pot pies came in (gigantic) individual ramekins brought to the table by pot-holdered-hands.  If we wanted another biscuit (and we did) we touched the one we wanted while avoiding the plate on which they rested.

I was exhausted just thinking about what she went through to make it possible for us to share some wine, and a meal, and the easy conversation between life-long friends.

If only we had an entourage .....


  1. That sounds delightful. I'm glad you had that opportunity to go out and see friends from a distance.

    1. Trying to order groceries....... this is getting very real very fast.


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