Day 47

In our household, the key to keeping spirits high is soft drinks.

Since heading into isolation mode, we have spared no expense in keeping the carbonated and sweetened refreshments flowing. It’s an easy way to get a kick of energy, or a happy little mouth tingle, or just a change of pace from the pitcher of Brita in the fridge.

It would be hard to overstate our saturation. We have, in the house right now, one or more of the following, many in cases: Diet Coke, Coke Zero, caffeine free Diet Coke, Honest Tea, diet Snapple, Arizona Arnold Palmer light tea, Sparkling Poland Spring, Vintage seltzer, four flavors of Polar seltzer, three flavors of LaCroix, three flavors of Bai, Gatorade, Coca-Cola and Canada Dry ginger ale. We had some San Pellegrino, too, but we ran out.

Since March 14 we have been in the suburbs, my very busy wife and our rather accommodating sons and our food-stealing dog and me, rather comfortably ensconced in a large house with a ping-pong table and plenty of space and decent wifi and, thanks to some quick last-minute thinking, a brand new basketball hoop in the driveway.

Of course, like everyone else who left city apartments for houses as the crisis approached, we only have parts of our existence, despite the surfeit of seltzer. Limited clothing, limited toys and games, no household projects to take care of, a general sense of mild displacement. On par, though, we’re really quite okay.

When 9/11 happened, I was an active blogger in the early days of blogging, and that activity was core to my existence. My posts came daily, a way of communicating, a way of coping. When we began to experience life in the novel coronavirus era, I expected to do the same.

Yet I have not. I’m posting a little bit on social media, and chatting: on various forums and in WhatsApp and Zoom. But that’s all. It turns out my emotional strength is being utilized differently. I’m supporting my children, my wife, my colleagues and extended family, including some who have dealt with the virus.

Also, unlike 9/11, which was a shock, the coronavirus is a rolling tide, with a continual worry about the near future, yet very little that’s imminent. I often find myself completely spent by 9 p.m., wanting only to watch old reruns on cable TV and assemble jigsaw puzzles, rather than expend more effort into, say, extemporaneous composition. (Case in point: when I began drafting this essay, the title was Day 38.) Unlike September 11, when we literally watched and smelled the disaster, my experience has been more removed. I am grateful for that, and for my six family members and friends who have already recovered from the virus.

In my household, we are all healthy; we’re sleeping in a bit; we are at work and at school, in routines that are starting to feel routine. I’ve been very good (read lucky) at securing food delivery slots. The ping-pong and basketball are great. And, because we left home, we have less of our own stuff to fuss over, which leads to lots of time spent just playing games with the kids and cooking. And consuming soft drinks.

So, yeah, I’m doing okay. I hope you are, too. Stay safe in there.