As I write this, Maryland is reporting its highest daily increase in COVID cases ever–by a big margin. At the grocery store yesterday, the paper goods aisle was more empty than stocked, and our schools state-wide have gone back to remote learning.
Not this again. But we know what to do–stay home, mask up, wash up. We’ve figured that much out.
I’ve spent the past week attending a virtual writer’s workshop, and to hear the voices of people I know, inside my own house (coming through my Zoom screen) was disorienting because for months, that hasn’t happened. I haven’t associated with any of my familiars (except a few outdoor lunches with Graham). No writers conferences, no trips with my sisters. Nada.
And my situation is not unusual, except perhaps in that I live alone in the sparsely-populated countryside. I can walk for miles around my neighborhood and meet nobody in real life. (My neighborhood is rife with Regency characters not visible to the naked eye.) So the challenge for me, as we head into the big, bad winter, is how to connect up.
My six siblings have been a lot more text-y in recent months, and for major topics (one brother with a young daughter asked the sisters about playing with dolls), we’ll take it to email. One sister with progeny in Denmark is a pretty adept Facetimer. My Zoom skills certainly improved this past week, and I will propose to my sibs that we play Brady Bunch in my personal Zoom meeting room.
I’m seeing more content from my family on social media, and with my sisters, at least, we do occasionally talk on the phone–very occasionally. I suspect this winter we’ll resort to the phones more frequently, along with more email threads. I would not normally interact with my family all that much, but enforced isolation, a looming threat to everybody’s well being, and sheer loneliness will likely result in a different–and better–family dynamic.
How are you preparing for the COVID bonus rounds nobody wanted to see? In particular, how are you staying connected with the people you care about, and keeping the love going? How are you dealing with anxiety, and when this is all over (we will get through this!) how will you celebrate?
Because stocking up on books should be part of everybody’s coping strategy, I’ll send a $50 Amazon, Kobo, Apple, or Barnes & Noble gift card to one commenter–your choice of retailer.