The Quarantine Diaries, Day 2: I’m sick of screens

Day 2 of social distancing (because that’s what it is, we’re not officially in quarantine) was harder than the first. I didn’t want to get out of bed, my muscles ached from my jog the day before, and I hadn’t slept long enough so I was tired.

But I dragged myself out of bed, put on my sweaty sports clothes, and trotted out to the park.

Somewhere between the sunbeams shining through the trees and the cherry blossoms harking the start of spring, my mood lifted. Not even the stench of the fertilizer from the rose garden could get me down. I thought philosophically about roses – how we always associate them with beautiful blossoms and pleasant smells, but in order to get there, they undergo months of just looking like thorny sticks in the ground, and how I’d wound up associating them with the sewage stench of fertilizer which permeated the entire upper area of the park. A plant full of contradictions.

Day 2 of video conferencing was hell. I was tired, unable to concentrate, and uninvolved in the topics. Today we had a total of seven hours of video conferencing, with just one long hour-long lunch break and a couple of 10-15 minute short breaks built in. I used my lunch break to go grocery shopping, and, of course, while I was away from my desk, missed a call.

Despite all the photos circulating of empty shelves and gutted stores, the stores in my neighborhood were fine. The grocery store had a full stock of fruits and vegetables, and only stocks of bread, pasta, canned goods, and toilet paper were depleted. At the drugstore, employees were actively restocking toilet paper and cleaning supplies as I was there. I caved and bought disinfectant spray and disinfectant wipes. Normally I clean my apartment with a cocktail of homemade cleaners that consist mostly of various combinations of water, vinegar, castille soap, baking soda, and essential oils, but I decided in times of a proper pandemic, there was no excuse not to use WHO-approved disinfecting cleaners. I noticed, however, that the products I bought only claimed to kill bacteria – not viruses. I made a mental note to wipe everything down with bleach at the next opportunity. (I didn’t.)

The German word for stockpiling is “hamstering” or “hamster shopping.” Think of the way a hamster stuffs food into its cheeks – that’s where it comes from

Around 5:30 the video conferencing and calls finally ended, and I was so frazzled, I needed a break. After a little while of doing nothing, I started cooking. I made salad, my favorite hummus, and a sweet potato black bean stew. I posted my dinner on Instagram, and it got a lot of likes, so that was the highlight of my day.

I watched part of Angela Merkel’s speech while making dinner, but the livestream kept cutting out, and by the time I tuned back in, the Tagesschau had already switched to the weather. Some takeaways were: the situation is serious, it is all of our responsibility to prevent the spread of the disease, the government is only placing these restrictions on movement and on daily life because it is absolutely necessary, it is important to follow the rules, and we need to stay strong and show solidarity. She said it was smart to have reserves of food on hand, but that “hamster shopping” was “un-solidary” behavior (that’s a real word in German).

I’m really worried about going in to lockdown. So far, I’ve only been going outside for a morning jog and to pick up food during my lunch break. The sunlight, the fresh air, and the change of scenery do me good. And on the weekend, I was looking forward to repotting my houseplants and weeding my little garden. I hope they don’t take that away – but if people continue to not follow the rules, they just may. What would lockdown mean? No jogging in the park? No sitting on my patio? Getting permission to go to the store? So far, the measures adopted in France and Belgium haven’t been too draconian, but Italy is very strict – who knows what could happen.

I’m unsure about the danger of meeting one-on-one or in small groups of people. In Seattle, it’s recommended to avoid groups of 10 or more. I understand that the best way to contain the virus is to completely self-quarantine and have no physical contact with other people, but I do wonder if the risks of meeting up with just one or two close friends, once or twice a week, truly do outweigh the benefits. It also seems stupid, from a safety perspective, to say that I can’t meet up with my boyfriend, but I can go to the store.

My heart goes out to all grocery store workers. They, along with healthcare workers, are truly on the front lines. But unlike healthcare workers, they don’t wear protective clothing, or have access to expediated testing, or have as much workplace protections to keep them from getting sick and to support them in case they do. I’m trying to think of a safer way to get food to people during a pandemic, but I haven’t come up with one yet.

I turned down a friend’s request to video chat, because it was late and I was tired of looking at screens. I’ve been feeling very introverted lately and the loneliness hasn’t set in yet, but I assume it will sooner or later.

I feel like I never get enough done, even though I’m home all day. I’m a person who’s obsessed in productivity and checking things off my to-do list, so I have to remind myself to acknowledge the things I do get done and to not stress about the things that have to wait until tomorrow.

Things I wanted to do today:

  • Clean and disinfect my apartment
  • Yoga/pole dance/home workout
  • Play piano
  • Video chat with a friend
  • Listen to the KNKX podcast “Transmission,” which was recommended to me by a former classmate who’s now a radio journalist at that station.

Things I did today:

  • Work
  • Went grocery shopping for food and household items
  • Morning jog + light stretching session
  • A few (assisted) chin-ups and (knee) pushups
  • Figured out I can do aerial acrobatic tricks on my chin-up bar and figured out a few more conditioning exercises beyond just chin-ups – will be useful knowledge if I ever get around to planning my own workouts
  • Cooked dinner and prepped for the next several days
  • Wrote this blog post

All in all, it wasn’t a bad day, but it wasn’t great, either.



One thought on “The Quarantine Diaries, Day 2: I’m sick of screens

  1. bringprancerhome

    You need to play the piano. 🙂
    I have been running a lot, but I haven’t been playing music either. We need to make our body and our souls strong.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.