Isolation Revelations

My thoughts about physical distancing are not earth shattering or original. We are all in this pandemic together learning as we go, scrolliing through the same Facebook memes, facing the same fears and shortages, laughing at the same jokes that make cyclical rounds on social media and offering optiimistic encouragement when we see the need. But what the heck. It is deadline time and I don’t have a brilliant…ha…column idea so here are some of my self-revelations during my extended hours at home.

*Why did I have the urge to eat nearly ALL of my newly-purchased snacks during my first two days of self-isolation? Chocolate chip granola bars, microwave movie popcorn, ginger ale, Dove dark chocolate candies, salt and vinegar chips are all items I do not normally keep on hand. Good thing, but when reality began to set in, my comfort foods vanished quickly. I don’t even particularly like granola bars. Those items aren’t necessities so there is no special trip to the grocery for junk food alone. Now my gallant fella is doing my grocery shopping for me; I feel like he is entering a mine field every time. Precautions are taken all around, but those who don’t take this seriously are scary and they pop up everywhere.

*How could I go a whole day without brushing my hair? That ponytail band was all tangled up and it was not fun getting it out. It hurt and I had no one else to blame. Fresh insight on my mother’ impulse decades ago to take me to a salon to have my ponytail cut off above the rubber band. Second grade school photos were comical – unruly curls at ear length and missing front teeth – but Mom’s daily battles ended. I could run a brush through my own tenderhead of hair. Nope, I wouldn’t do that now, I don’t think. My bangs are starting to bug me, though.

*I do not skip brushing my teeth. I might be doing that more. It seems to be an instant mood-lifter.

*Boiled eggs – cheap, easy and versatile. Great alone as a meal or a snack, or mashed in tuna to perfect that salad or deviled for the ultimate fancy cuz-I-deserve-it treat. Normally one must eat boiled eggs strategically or it poses embarrassing etiquette dilemmas, so this social distancing means I can have all I want when I want with no one to notice but the cat. A note. All this extra time on my hands has not increased my patience peeling the boiled egg. I once peeled 100 to make 200 deviled eggs. That was almost fun. Peeling a dozen for myself, however, seems to take hours. Doing the task with mounting frustration mounts the mess. Wonder if music would help. Should I try peeling to Moon River or Who Let the Dogs Out?

*Netflix subscripton charges have been deducted from my account since before retirement 12 years ago. (Was it 12? The way I sense the passage of time is all topsy-turvy as I adjust to so many days in the same place doing similar things seeing the same…cat). It isn’t a great expense but it has been a wasted one till now, especially since I tossed my television and dish service maybe 4 years ago. If movies/television show options are indicative of societal trends – oh my! So much of it is really weird to this columnist – a member of one of the more vulnerable brackets in this pandemic. Even the trailers will shock/scare/gross out to the point that I sometimes give up before making a selection. Enough of them have lured me in and would have been quite enjoyable had I not eaten all my microwave movie popcorn before I reintroduced myself to at-home viewing. Do you have any favorites to suggest? I am branching out and sampling genres I used to avoid, expanding beyond romantic comedies, a little.

*The laptop is my connection to everyone and everything right now. It even takes me to church. Sometimes I set it aside to walk around the yard, to talk to my perplexed cat, to take a nap, to hunt down that book I’ve been wanting to read or to fix a meal. The news, the factual stuff, is overwhelming. I have developed a system to avoid some of the hype that increases my anxiety and go straight to the sources that give facts and offer steps to deal with the crises developing in real time on all our screens. It has been a great eye-opener. We are coping due to tremendous sacrificial efforts by a task force that includes workers of all ages, all education/training levels, all genders, all races, all nationalities. Locally the contributions of our city and county leaders, our eateries, our health care workers in all categories, our school personnel still at it and highly concerned about the welfare of the students they are missing, all of those that provide a sense of normalcy in this turbulent period – like the postoffice workers, delivery services, newpapers, and businesses that offer healthy diversions like the garden nurseries and online auctions. I know I can’t name them all. Many, many are making masks for those serving covid-19 patients and the general public directly. So many to thank and appreciate. Then there are those who cannot work due to job loss or temporary closure of services deemed non-essential. Stress, frustration, fear, despair and grief are palpable.

*I have often only half-jokingly said I want to live to be 100. When this passes and we are in our ‘new’ normal, for undoubtedly there will be changes, I hope we are a kinder, more appreciative and more caring nation, devoting time to family, friends and causes that matter more in the long run, to make a long life a blessed one that blesses others.

About Teresa Pearson Lee

Retired after 33 years of teaching English and French (one year in private school in Memphis, TN and the rest in public school in Doniphan, MO. Enjoying new adventures - all those things I put off for lack of time, energy, now I can try them! Pottery, writing, traveling, camping, kayaking, dancing, listening to some of the best live music ever, and making lively new friendships. All christened with an appreciation for great red wine! Created and operated KC's on the Current, then sold it and managed it for new owners. You might still find me at the reservation desk when spring rolls around. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO near The Hill. Though a transplant to Southeast Missouri, still a city gal at the core with a deep love of the natural resources in these Ozark foothills. Currently I am a content coordinator for Poplar Bluff Living Magazine and a columnist/stringer for the local weekly The Prospect News. My rescue Siamese helps with most of the proofreading; he has a great ear. I relish the solitude easily had in the Mark Twain Forest but thoroughly enjoy lively outings for music, wine, conversation close to home or in my beloved hometown. Technology is my greatest challenge but so worth the shared connections. There may be a need for solitude but there is little loneliness. The material in this blog written by Teresa Lee is her property and cannot be used without express written consent to do so.
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