Colette in Quarantine…still


When the public library closed mid March, I vaguely thought it would be closed a few weeks. Nobody said that or gave any time frame. At that point local leaders were getting out ahead of the virus. My governor in particular wasn’t fooling around; there was no sugar-coating as to what was almost inevitably coming.

I personally took the position that if the virus wasn’t already in my community –  it was too early to know for sure – it would be. I was highly motivated to not risk getting sick so I haven’t been in a store or used public transit or been near anybody when I’m outdoors since then.

In March I saw an Italian woman on TV trying to warn us, saying Americans didn’t know what was coming. Amidst all the news, something about her warning was especially chilling. And clearly prescient.

It was indeed coming. I know parts of the country are “opening up” but not where I am. My county has the highest number of cases in the state; currently, the coronavirus is the #1 cause of death. I’m not sure why it’s been so bad here; I can speculate and I’m sure others are too but I wonder if anybody will ever be able to say with certainty.

In mid March I wrote here that I didn’t think it was healthy to be obsessed. I still agree with myself despite having went and gotten obsessed at least for awhile.😐

For several weeks I watched a lot of news and TV related to the virus; I felt a obligation. I also sort of felt like I was waiting for something. For what? I wasn’t sure. Information? Instructions? Pertinent updates? Whatever it was, it didn’t come. I realized it wasn’t ever coming.

I needed a break. I don’t think there’s a lot of virtue in vicarious suffering (which differs from empathy or caring). That said, my little job was to stay home, stay out of the way, AND to come out on “the other side” of this physically and mentally sound. This is a marathon not a sprint and marathons require pacing.

Everyone has been pushed to call on their coping skills, whatever they may be. If there’s a time to find out whether you’ve learned any useful coping skills in this life, I guess this is it. The party is you and your personal resources, tangible and otherwise.

Six feet? I don’t want anybody within ten or twelve feet of me. (I’m going to be plenty annoyed if I do everything right for 6 or 8 or 12 plus weeks only to have some oblivious or selfish clod get too close to me and make me sick. I am just saying.😐)

I like to be home. Yes, still. I WILL say that the first long post I wrote on the coronavirus was a tad premature when I talked about avoiding squalor at home. I am still holding squalor at bay but doing it for months is a bit more challenging than mere weeks. Having my personal environment in good shape is always important to me and it’s been that much more so now.

I don’t have anything GRAND to show for my quarantine. But I don’t want to be too hard on myself. Time in and of itself isn’t the sole key to accomplishing things.

People have been irritating me, I admit it but I have “stayed in my lane”. I have not argued with anyone about any aspect of the pandemic either in person or on line. I don’t see the point. Doing so would hurt me and I don’t expect to influence anyone else’s opinions.

I cry every time they show a recovered coronavirus patient being wheeled out of a hospital while the staff cheers. Prior to this I cried any time I saw the people in Italy and New York making noise from their balconies. Show me a grandmother or grandfather on their front steps or inside a nursing home while their relatives greet them or serenade them or whatever from a safe distance, and I will choke up.

There has been much that is aggravating and much that is touching.

I am okay. Not clicking my heels together but okay. It is hard to find the right words for some of my feelings because this is unlike anything I’ve known as is true for almost all of us. How do you describe something so huge and simultaneously so unfamiliar? I have existential angst about it all. I want to know what it means – beyond pandemics happen and lots of people get sick and die – but I don’t think there’s an answer, not one I’d find satisfying.

8 thoughts on “Colette in Quarantine…still

  1. markbialczak

    It is indeed perplexing because as plain as the terrifying results and circumstances in front of us, Colette, so much about the virus is still so damn mysterious.
    My new stirs of anxiety come from the inevitable pushes back into society. The people in charge in my region say it is time. The leaders at the library where I work are carefully crafting our plan with special safety measures, for patrons and staff, a little bit of interaction at a time. They’ll soon tell us the date. Masks and distances are figured into all ventures out. But even when the people I love adhere, what about others, and how does that affect us?


    1. Colette Post author

      I don’t know what I’d do if I worked somewhere that wanted me back in a public or other “peopled” workspace now or anytime soon. Your point about the mysteries of this virus are spot on. Permutations, another round of spikes from re-opening too soon, getting slammed by the flu and the virus come fall/winter, and so on. I know there’s no promise of 100% safety – ever – but factoring the pandemic in on top of all other everyday life concerns IS stressful.


      1. markbialczak

        We won’t open the doors to patrons in our first phase, Colette, choosing a contactless pickup for materials placed on hold via electronic or phone methods.
        My role in the communications department is to promote the when and how of it all, with as little face to face time as possible. This IS stressful, yes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol anne

    I also wanna know what all of it means. Answers aren’t forthcoming though. I doubt they will be either! I am glad you didn’t get sick, I didn’t either and for that I am so grateful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Colette Post author

      I think the power-that-be will be arguing & pointing fingers for a long time to come. But philosophically speaking, I remain uncertain.



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