Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Spring break

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

It's my spring break week, one that was going to be spent at my sister-in-law's, in Florida, at the beach. I was imagining looking for sea glass on early morning walks, feeling the sand and those itsy bitsy shells between my toes, watching for dolphins, and enjoying the warm sun. I was looking forward to fresh grouper sandwiches and maybe some Cuban-style black beans. 

Ah, well.

It's my spring break week, during the COVID-19 pandemic. I've been sleeping, reading, eating, gardening, walking, as I please. All those movies that we saved up on the DVR, well - now's their time. This is a blessing, right? We are healthy, we are together, we are making our own fun, just the two of us. I have one whole week where I do not have to think or worry about virtual teaching.

I'm so aware that my daily problems with this pandemic are, to date, almost entirely irritations, inconveniences. Making masks, wearing masks, waiting to get into a grocery store by first lining up at safe distance, keeping distance from others on the walking path, only being able to see my children and granddaughter through FaceTime, having to learn new technology in order to teach virtually; all are such "first-world problems." They sound - they are! - like one enormous whine.

We have our health. We have a home. We have income. We are blessed.

We went to the Home Depot this morning to get some tomato plants for our vegetable garden, and some flowers for the yard. We picked up some plants for our neighbor, as well, to consolidate the trips, to minimize all our travel.

This trek - is it really essential? 

How does one define essential? 

Why do I feel guilty about this simple pleasure?

There was a long line of immigrant workers, hoping for day work. They always line up at this store. I know this. Yet, usually - back in the time when things were normal - they've all been hired first thing in the morning. It was mid-day when we arrived at the store, and there was a very long queue, everyone spaced six feet apart, the workers are all wearing masks, waiting. Waiting for work that probably doesn't exist, in this pandemic. 

My heart hurts.

The movement through the store was slow, staggered. Employees in bright orange vests had us line up apart from one another, and wait to enter the store until after others had exited. Maryland now expects everyone to wear a mask in stores - and, yes, there we all were, wearing masks. We all moved cautiously through the store, meeting one another's eyes above the masks, halting in place and allowing the other to pass, when needed. It was quiet. It was orderly. It was sad.

My heart hurts.

Use wipes on the handle of the cart. Wipe yourself down when you are back in your car. Throw your mask and clothes in the washer when you get home. Wash hands, wash your face.

Yes, I guess today's slice is just a whine, a ramble, a writing of this snapshot in time.

My heart hurts.


  1. Not a whine. A clear documentation of a day - a day that exists in a new reality. This documentation is important, thank you for sharing it. My heart hurts, too.

  2. I'm sorry you lost your trip for some much-needed time away in Florida.

    We've lost so much as a society. I know it's going to be a long time to get back to normal. (I refuse to think of this as the new normal!)

  3. My heart hurts. Yes. We understand.