Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Snippets From Another Day in Pandemica

I'm reading Viet Thanh Nguyen's  The Sympathizer as an e-book.... or at least I'm trying to read it.  Unfortunately, I forgot to plug in the iPad overnight and there wasn't enough juice in its innards to turn on.  

I could have read it on Lenore the Lenovo, but it seemed like too much trouble.  It's been that kind of a week.


CVS sent me an alert that my prescription was ready and waiting.  Michael's finally had soft pink yarn in stock, thus fulfilling one of FlapJilly's requirements for a winter hat.  My hard cover copy of the latest in James Lee Burke's saga of drink, drama, crime, and passion was ready to be returned from whence it came - the library. 

I had a full fledged adventure awaiting me.


The yarn was texting me to come and pick it up almost before it texted that the order had been received.  I watched a masked mom and two little ones marching into the store as my masked delivery person placed the bag through the open window behind me.  

I think she said something to me, but in my haste to put on my brand new mask I had to sacrifice my hearing aids.  The intersection between ears, assistive devices, and mask elastic is an under-reported consequence of living in Pandemica.


The pharmacist and I laughed when I paused before recalling my birthdate.  It was a novel question.  I haven't experienced a novel question in a long time; it took me a nano-second to get my brain in position to answer her. 

Accepting my delight over intersecting with another human being, she told me that I could come back and visit anytime.


I paused in the parking lot and called ahead to order lunch. 

No, I didn't want to come in and pick it up, I wanted him to bring it out to my car........just as they have been doing since the beginning of Pandemica.... and yes, he returned after a brief pause, in fact he would be delighted to bring it out to me, having just learned a new policy at his new job.


I stopped at the library, only to find that my usual stop-here-for-15-seconds-while-I-drop-this-through-the-slot space was now clearly marked NO PARKING OR STANDING.  I found a spot, locked The Uv, and approached the return slot.  

I knew that I should not offer the book to the librarian at the outdoor table; santization procedures precluded that tiny bit of human contact.  Once dropped through the slot, the book would remain untouched for three days before being recirculated.  

My problem was the line - three masked patrons, socially distant but definitely in line, a line which stretched between me and the return slot.  There was no way to approach the box while remaining socially distant.  I examined the situation from all angles and then plunged ahead.

I'm sorry, excuse me, I don't know the etiquette for this came babbling out of my mouth as the line morphed into an amoeba to accommodate my intrusion.  The woman last in line eye-smiled as she followed me, at a socially appropriate distance, to do the same thing. 

She said that she didn't know what to do, either.

Emily Post didn't tell us about this we agreed as we left.  


Arriving at Grumpy's, I left the money under the windshield wipers and called Del, who came right out and made the exchange.  When he got to the door, I popped out and picked up the bag, thanked him vociferously while complimenting his mask, and promised to see him next week.  


It was an exhilarating experience.  I didn't have to get out of my car.  I was safely separated from everyone I encountered.  I enjoyed every moment.  I was present, mindful, noticing and paying attention to the details in a way that I don't think I did before Pandemica.

As the pharmacist and I mused, sharing a moment, there are some good things that are coming out of this time.  

I'm going to hold onto that thought tonight.


  1. Although I am not happy about the pandemic and all it stands for, I have found a few things about it that I am enjoying. With no children at school, there is no traffic around the schools each day. Easier to get places early in the day. Last night we had a lovely dinner delivered to our home, courtesy of a charity event that i have never attended in real life, but that i was happy to contribute to this year when they said it would be virtual. I have gotten to know a few businesses through their delivery service to my door. Probably would never have known about them had there not been a pandemic. I found a produce vendor that had to pivot in the pandemic when the schools shut down but his grower contracts were still viable.

    1. Trying to look at the bright side.
      Today was a bummer.
      Such is life in Pandemica.


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