Dispatch from the Edge

Monday at work the boss came to tell us that we’d be splitting our team into two and working opposite sides of the week. I work in police records, an essential job supporting essential employees. They want to limit our exposure to one another because if (God forbid) one of us got the virus, the rest of us would be exposed and then quarantined and then who would do the work? Our work must go on.

So, Tuesday and Wednesday my new team of three worked twelve hour shifts. It was fun to have a small team and to be busy, busy busy.

Then I slept eleven hours last night. I can’t even tell you the last time I slept past nine.

Today, I went to Costco. I stood in a line that snaked into the parking lot but which moved surprisingly fast–way faster than any line at Disneyland. Once inside, the store was uncrowded but definitely full of people. I didn’t check out the water or toilet paper supply, having enough of both in my house.

I was not able to get eggs or pasta, but otherwise, I purchased everything I needed. My entire trip, including standing in line, took less than an hour. Afterward, I topped off my gas tank at the low price of $2.79 a gallon. People were focused and kept to themselves, taking the six-foot social distancing rule very seriously. The air felt of scrutiny, like everyone suspected everyone else of harboring the plague.

Then I stopped by another grocery store and scored three dozen eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, rice and . . . no pasta. What’s the deal with buying up all the pasta?

I’ll have three days off before going back to work Sunday morning at 6 AM. My co-workers and I are planning to prepare food together at work. We had pancakes and sausages yesterday and then quesadillas for lunch. Sunday I think we’re making baked potatoes for lunch. It’s like a snow-day and Christmas Eve with our front lobby closed and the continual confusion about what day it is. The rules are loosened but the workload continues. It’s weird.

I have at least a thousand things to do here at home but so far I’ve just baked cookies and brownies and cooked dinner and washed dishes and scrolled endlessly on my phone.

(Earlier when I took out trash I saw my poor succulents drowning in their pots full of water, so I tipped them all upside down to drain them. We’ve had so much rain here. It actually feels like the rain and the virus are partnered. Again, it’s weird.)

I have a book and my Kindle sitting next to me on my bed and if I could muster up just a tiny bit of self-discipline, I’d start reading something.

But honestly, I’ll probably just watch some mindless television before falling asleep.

Tomorrow is the first day we are to “shelter-in-place” here in California but that won’t look much different than my life before that edict. I still have to work. I still have to make sure my family is fed. So I’ll be doing both and wondering when things will go back to normal.

(Will things go back to normal?)

One thought on “Dispatch from the Edge

  1. “Normal.” I think the definition of the word is changing with every breath we take. With each step we take farther away from others, the dictionary is recoiling from traditional definitions. In their place, it is inserting words like “irregular” and “strange” and “disturbed” and “eccentric” and “unbalanced” and “unnatural.” I suppose we will recover from this enormously stressful dislocation, but I’m afraid it may take a lifetime. Maybe even longer.


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