Monday March 16
I woke up this morning remembering recent conversations with friends. Sometimes, I say that I’ve been in training for the lockdown, having lived as a widow for the last 9 years. Sometimes, I lament a life alone, not having that loved one in the next room. Is it as hard to be alone as I claim, am I pleased that I answer to no one, or do I want people to feel sorry for me? Why? Perhaps, my desire for empathy is a desire to be seen, heard, understood. Much of the time. I have kept my grief to myself, not wanting to put people off. Who wants to hear about sorrow? Maybe as the pandemic takes hold, we’ll all be immersed in it and won’t be able to look away.
To avoid these concerns, I went to the Delaware and Raritan Canal for a long walk, a breather, some peace. But peace was difficult to muster. People crowded the walkway and seemed surprised when I asked them to give me room. Often I had to stand with my back to them which felt like I was shaming them. Maybe I was.
Delaware and Raritan Canal
As three young men approached me on bicycles, I requested they give me space to pass. They mocked me. Got my ire up. I threw back at them that I was trying to protect them as well. As I walked away, they laughed, shouting, “Talk, talk, talk” to my back. Discouraged, I cut my walk short and retreated home.
But I had a plan: do taxes, clean sun room, correspond.
By the late afternoon, I had taken care of Milo the cat petting him for an hour or so to relax him, filled out an application for a census job, read the newspaper, faced time with family, called the garden center to check the availability of Brussel sprouts, and contacted the landscaper about putting in a garden. Then, I relaxed into my new addiction, computer solitaire in all it’s variations: Vegas, Forty Thieves, Spider, Gaps, Mrs. Mop.
Tuesday March 17
Newly established morning routine. First order of business is Milo: lift him on to the ottoman facing the couch, provide treats, apply blood pressure medication to his inner ears, more treats, brush him, pet him for a half hour or so, feed him, clean out litter box, more treats and petting, and finally, put him in his bed. Next is a walk down the driveway to retrieve the paper, followed by a leisurely breakfast working my way through the Times.
Late morning, the landscapers arrived, reviewed my plan, a 10 by 20 foot raised cedar bed in the front lawn using organic mulch and soil. I’m cheered by this return to vegetable gardening.
Although I haven’t done any writing, I did correspond with the writer’s I met in February while staying at the Irish Cultural Center in Paris. Does that count?
Went to bed reading Samuel Beckett’s bio. The description of cafes he frequented, the same as my haunts when I was 21 are bittersweet. Nostalgia for hours of nursing a drink while reading, writing, staring. But nostalgia has an edge, loss.
Le Select Montparnasse