As soon as I realized the pandemic was here to stay - and that it would mean all my trips for 2020 would be cancelled - I knew I had to say something about it in this blog.
At first the quarantine reminded me all too much of a different quarantine - Zuo Yuezi – the month in confinement that I spent at home after my daughter was born. But unlike that first month of caring for a newborn, I now have rambunctious toddler and a business to run, so these months in confinement have been busier than ever for me.
Of course, like everyone else in the world I am concerned for the future of our societies, the looming unemployment, the death toll, the massive rippling effect this is having on people across the globe. But I’m not going to talk about any of that in this post. I’m not going to talk about my theories or projections – you have enough peoples’ theories and projections to read on the internet. This post is going to talk about how the pandemic has affected my life, what has changed in the last two month, and what it means.
This list was written on day 74 of lockdown. I began counting from the day the restaurants were closed and the shelter-in-place order took effect. When it began, I could not conceive how this could last more than 30 days. But here we are. Day 74 and we may only start to open back up in 13 more days. Maybe.
What has changed since the Quarantine took effect?
|Now I make cocktails at home: Lychee-rita mix from Nong's with Mezcal
I have worked from my home office for the last two years, so I am already used to that, but it has changed because now my husband is working from home too, and that adds distractions. Also, I am on so many video conference calls, more than ever, and so I have rearranged my office to better be able to take such calls in succession.
In the last two months my business has had to transform dramatically, and I am now doing things I did not envision doing only a few months ago. All this transformation had required a tremendous amount of energy in learning and creating new things. It is wonderful and exciting, and I am happy to have this opportunity to learn and create, but it is also exhausting.
|My Good Coffee stash lasted only 2 months
I am drinking more coffee now than I ever have had to in my life. Maybe the stress of the pandemic and added workload have warranted deepening my caffeine addiction, but now I am drinking about 3 cups a day until as late as 4:00pm. The day before it was announced that restaurants would close (March 17th), I went to my favorite cafe Good Coffee and bought 6 bags of beans. I thought that would last me through the entire quarantine, but by mid-April I ordered 3 more bags online, and my late May the cafe reopened for takeout and I walked in and bought 3 more bags. I missed lattes terribly about one month into the pandemic, but since most cafes have reopened now for takeout, I can get all the lattes I want if I am willing to walk there and wear a mask.
|Dalgona (whipped coffee and milk), yes I made it too
Again, the night before the shelter-in-place order was to go into effect, I rushed to the liquor store to stock up on booze. I knew I would not be able to go to the bar and drink cocktails, and that I would need the liquor to deal with the stress of the pandemic. It was crowded and the shelves were almost empty by the time I got there. I bought a bottle of Kalua, Campari, Mezcal, and two different kinds of gin. Based on my home-drinking patters of prior months and years, I assumed such a quantity of liquor would last me until 2021. Now, two months into the pandemic, my supply has been depleted by 70% and I have never drank so much from home in my life. This does not even include the 4 bottles of wine I have bought in grocery stores since the pandemic started.
All shopping is online now, except for groceries, which I hate to order online because they never have the specific products and brands I am looking for. I got to the grocery store once a week and hate it. I have to wear a mask (I used to wear gloves too but have since stopped that). The aisles are all one-way and its annoying to pay attention to the directions you are walking and to how close you happen to stand next to someone. There is hand sanitizer and wipes at every entrance so you can sanitize your hands and cart. By now all the staff wear masks and there are plexiglass barriers between customers and cashiers in the checkout.
|Mt. Tabor, one of five places I go for my daily walks
I have gone on a walk, either to a park or around my neighborhood every single day, sometimes multiple walks a day. I have enjoyed exploring new areas of my neighborhood, news routes in Mt. Tabor and Laurelhurst park, and new places like Franklin high school’s track.
I never used to have food delivered, even when I had a young infant at home and going out to a restaurant was impossible. Delivery seemed overpriced and exorbitant, but now it is a necessity. We have food delivered from our favorite restaurants 2-3 times per week. I love it now. I get all the joy of enjoying my favorite meals, discovering new ones, and none of the stress of finding a baby-sitter, getting dressed up, driving, parking, waiting at some table, etc. I think I will always have delivery now even when restaurants can reopen to customers.
I no longer experience the night. I do not go out after dark. Everything is closed. The baby is asleep. There is no need to go out at night and nothing to do. But I miss that darkness.
Because my trip to Japan was cancelled this year (along with my trips to Ireland, DC, and Santa Fe), I am been spending many moments reflecting on past memories, most of which took place at night. The late dinners, bars, clubs, night walks, and night runs are all such a part of my Japan memories of the last 15 years. Now in Portland when the night comes, I am shut inside, experiencing the night only through memories.