So, here we are, almost two weeks into the Covid 19 shut down, and never in a million years did I think it would’ve gotten this bad. I can remember making jokes about the virus just over a month ago, assuming that people were over-reacting, and that this would boil over before it even started. Boy— were we wrong.
As I write this post from my kitchen table, it has been exactly one week since my office, in Times Square, closed for business, and we were made to work from home. Two weeks was the initial time-line we all looked forward to. Just two weeks— if we all stay inside and practice social distancing, all would be back to normal. As I’m glued to the news, and I’m certain that you are too, the time-line seems to be nowhere in sight. With the unemployment rate seeing heights that have never been seen, and the number of people infected constantly increasing, I am officially worried.
For as long as I can remember, any hardship that I ever faced, was with a grain of salt. I’ve been laid-off before and fired from quite a few jobs (because of my mouth). But my saving grace was that, I lived with my family and I always knew that I could find another job. When I got the email from my company that they were cutting our salaries in half, until further notice— Shit Got Real! I work in fashion, and my company’s survival depends on the public’s ability to buy. If over half of the population is out of work, because businesses can’t open, I could be out of a job; and that cushion that I once relied on disappears.
I could make this a post all about my sad position, “Sad girl, who lives with her family, has her salary cut in half,” but here’s my silver lining. I have a roof over my head, food in my refrigerator, and money in my savings account. For what it’s worth, I’ll be ok. I turn my focus to others that don’t have those safety nets. I consider the household, who just lost their sole bread-winner. I think of the children whose safe place was the schools they attended. I think of the family in poverty that may run out of food, if things don’t return to normal soon enough. A $1500 dollar check when rent in NYC for a studio can easily top that, is a band-aid on a wound worthy of stitches.
Facebook reminded me that last year I was in Vegas, squeezing my thick ass into too tight waist-shapers, drinking with my friends, and living my best life. The farthest thing on my mind was a virus that would come and literally cripple the country. Hell, two weeks ago I was planning to grab oysters and a few cocktails after work. But in the blink of an eye, my half-marathon was cancelled, my writing group was cancelled, my monthly gym memberships have been put on hold, and all the little joys are now huge threats. Even walking outside poses a risk my family, and it’s really tough to think of all the things that I once took for granted.
Before shit hit the fan, on Mondays I used to go to Barnes & Noble with my boyfriend. He would meet me after work and we would sit there and write until they closed. It offered me the quiet that I needed to focus on my writing and to be with My Love, away from my family. Now, because every place is only to-go and delivery, and it’s too cold to sit outside, I’m lucky if I can find a quiet moment to work in my home. When I freelanced from home, it was the most amazing experience. I would wake up, brush my teeth, wash my face, eat breakfast, then sit down to work. I ate when I wanted, and I worked out when I wanted. A few weeks ago, I joked about how I would love to go back to freelance work, and how much I missed it. However, when that fantasy became a reality-nightmare, I realized that I had no business complaining.
This past weekend, my friends and I went out for a walk. We hadn’t seen each other since our brunch on New Year’s Day, and we kept saying that we wanted to meet up; then this happened. The few of us that felt well and lived close by arranged to meet up and go for a walk in Central Park. Saturday was a beautiful day; and, I’m certain the number of people would’ve been triple, had it not been for the current state of contagious virus. The shine and warmth of the sun, the chirping of the birds, the ducks in the pond, and the laughter of the children playing, was a total juxtaposition to what was going on in the real world. We walked for a bit to get some fresh air, we made our way to Dunkin’ Donuts, then walked back to the park. I did a little shopping, and when I parted from my friends, my guy and I continued to walk home. I made him a plate for dinner and he stayed for a while as we watched a movie. When it was time for him to go, I told him, “I Love You.”
As I lay in bed, I wondered when things would get back to normal. I wondered when would be the next time I would see my friends. I wondered when would be the next time I would see My Love. This virus has sent the world, as we know it, into a frenzy. I have friends and family working on the front-lines, in the hospitals. I have friends that work in public transportation, risking exposure every day. I have family that are still required to report to work and deal with customers day in and day out, I have a friend that is sick, and My Love has to report to work in the middle of this pandemic.
I say all of this to say, now is the time to call your loved ones and see how they’re doing. Virtually reconnect with your friends to keep those bonds established. Stay inside but keep in touch. We don’t know how long this is going to last and how long the impact will have on each and every one of us. It’s time to forgive and move forward.
We will only get through this together.