Unofficially, it’s Day 44 for me.

I wish it weren’t.

I wish I could frolic on the beach, fly away in an airplane, eat at the Inn at Little Washington, walk the streets of Paris and Oslo and London.

But I can’t.

And I wouldn’t, even I could.

It’s still early days in this pandemic. And although there are deniers, staying at home, inside, is the best thing to do, for everyone. If you can do it. Please do it for those who have no choice but to be out there on the frontlines every day. Your life might be hard, but theirs is much harder.

Most days, as long as the sun shines and my back doesn’t hurt too much, I’m at the computer, grateful for today’s technology, keeping in touch with people, over-posting on Facebook, trying to keep up a snail’s pace on my next book.

Reading is now something I can do without staring at the page, seeing the words, but not grasping anything of substance. Now, at least with my Kindle, I am reading again with my former joy.

I just finished Philip Roth’s chilling and prescient The Plot Against America. Suffice it to say, it keeps me awake at night. The what-might-have beens. But also the what-might-bes for the future … .

Because of those what-might-bes swirling around in my head, I’m reading Laura Spinney’s Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World (2017). The “how it changed the world” part is what interests me the most. And I’m only to the part about how the flu virus evolves, and has been evolving, throughout human history.  The title, by the way, refers to Katherine Anne Porter’s more biblical title of her book, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, about the flu epidemic of 1918.

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:7-8, KJV

The uncertainty about the virus, the day-to-day political chaos, and the isolation all work together to create a sense of trauma. I wish I could remember where I read it, but that’s what some psychologist wrote in something I looked at yesterday. Or maybe it was the day before. The days run together now. Last week, even my primary care doctor’s receptionist couldn’t remember what day of the week it was when she called to tell me that the doctor is only relying on telemedicine conferencing right now.

Trauma:

Shock, denial, or disbelief.

Confusion, difficulty concentrating. 

Anger, irritability, mood swings. 

Anxiety and fear.

We’re not watching a dystopian film now – we’re living in one.

We’ve been sucker punched, with a hard swift kick to the head, too.

The ultimate reality show.

So being kind is paramount right now.

As for cooking, since I tend to stop eating much when under stress – and this whole thing is, well, very stressful. But I’m trying to delve into a whole slew of recipes for the current project. To encourage myself to take up my frying pan again, I arranged for a number of ingredients to be delivered. So now I have to do something about all of that.

I’ve managed to conjure up another breakfast dinner, though.

Breakfast Dinner (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

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