#Pocalypso | Sometimes My Eyes Water and My Throat Tightens

2020-04-07 – Sometimes I cry. I could tell you that I’m getting “it,” but that’s not what’s going on. Sure, my eyes are watering and my throat feels tight. My breathing becomes short and spasmodic. But I have it on good authority that these are symptoms of crying.

I’m a crier. I recognize the symptoms.

Yesteday there were two triggers. One was a map showing that [updated link:] my zip code has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the city of Chicago. Sadly, the high rate is probably due to my Orthodox Jewish neighbors resistance to social distancing. I don’t really interact with this, and their deep connections with family and friends is normally such a positive thing. It makes me sad. And it’s going to be worse with the start of Passover, which is tomorrow.

The other cause for distress was a video of Queen Elizabeth II rallying the Brits to “good-humored resolve” in withstanding the challenges of the pandemic. The queen’s words, of course, were the opposite of distressing; they were hopeful. The distressing thing is the contrast between the queen’s speech and the daily barrage from our White House.

In the late afternoon, I hadn’t seen Kit for a while and started to worry. It turned out she was fine and on her phone in the bedroom. That’s when my symptoms came to a head—you know, crying.

I’ve been pretty much okay through the weeks of social distancing. Social distancing, after all, is my specialty. I do it all the time, pandemic or not (though it’s not usually this intense and constant).

And I keep a “positivity journal” of sorts at the end of the day to record the positive things I’ve done during the day. It’s actually kinda boring. I’m very predictable. Here’s what’s been keeping me positive.

I “go” to work every day and I’m probably more productive than usual. I write online course and I’ve already finished three courses since the pandemic began. I put “go” in quotes because my office is in my basement. My employer’s offices are out-of-state. I “pick-up” a breakfast of oatmeal with nuts, raisins, and cranberries “on the way” to my office and eat at my desk. Same with lunch (though I don’t have oatmeal for lunch). On my breaks, I take the dog for a walk, usually a half mile. I’ve been doing this for almost six years.

If the weather is nice, I hop on my bike after work and do 10 to 20 miles—following routes that I expect to be unpopulated in order to maintain social distancing. I tried to wear a mask on my last ride, even though it was not necessary, to see what it would be like, in case something like this would be enforced. It was fine, though it steamed up my glasses when I stopped.

If the weather is not good enough to ride, I put on my parka and take Rebe on a long walk with Kit, usually 3 miles. Again, we stay away from everyone and have our masks either on or at the ready.

I’ve also been using the time for “educational” purposes. I have to complete my continuing legal education requirement by June to maintain my law license. So I’ve been getting serious about watching the required videos. I’ve also been keeping up my Spanish exercises on the Duolingo app and Kit and I have a class meeting with our teacher on Friday via Go-to-Meeting. On Thursday evenings, my guitar Old Town School guitar class meets via Zoom. Sometimes I practice.

And I’ve been making progress on my novel. And I’m writing this blog. I’m pretty busy. And it’s pretty normal. I look at the news once or twice a day, but try to avoid it most of the time, hoping to stay informed while not going crazy.

We’re eating pretty healthily, with more home-cooked meals and minimal carry-out (sushi on Thursdays from a place Kit is friends with where she can pick it up without anyone else there). I get dressed every day. I even wear a sports jacket some days. This is not really a formal touch. I got the idea from Queer Eye to wear my old sports jackets with casual shirts. (Marie Kondo would also be happy that I’m using these things.) I’m keeping up with the laundry and most of the other chores.

So I’m mostly okay. But sometime I cry.

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