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Watching Days Pass
I start off these entries with something tactile. Today I’ll say the warmth of the sun mixed with the breeze cools my skin. I then try to…
I start off these entries with something tactile. Today I’ll say the warmth of the sun mixed with the breeze cools my skin. I then try to describe the moment further. The leaves rustle, the sound similar to a dry corn husk. My dad has heirloom corn in the backyard. We are waiting for the corn to grow tall so we can eat them. There are titmice calling from the oak tree. I start the journal entries off like this, then move further inward. I exit the tactile, the smell of dry or wet soil, and enter the body of the piece.
Today I find nothing much to say. Perhaps it’s that I have nothing important to tell anyone, or perhaps Clarice Lispector’s The Besieged City is working on me strangely, exacting a tone of presence, making me want to leave behind all thoughts and opinions, and attempt to grasp pure reality itself. It’s more likely that I just don’t have that much to say. It’s well over a month and a half into quarantine in California, and all my thoughts are dispelled. I’ve said all I wanted to. Now I wait. That’s what I’ll tell you now. Mostly these days I wish for things to become “normal” again. Or at least enter a new normal where I can have long talks with strangers, or a drink at a bar, or go to a show.
It’s true that we’ve all been waiting in our respective cities and countries for lockdowns to end. However, at the start it was different. All of this was new. We could lounge like never before, create what we wanted, and learn the best way to go about the day-to-day of this time spent hiding from Covid-19. Should I not leave the house at all? Should I apply to jobs even though I cannot work? How much toilet paper do I need? Maybe it would be best to wake up early, and go to bed with the sun. Or maybe it’s easier if I just stay up late? Wake up late?
Lockdown is no longer new. We sit at home, or go to work, or do work at home. We go to Instagram, Medium, or any news outlet, see how testing is going in the United States. Or how South Korea is fairing. We try to get exercise. Maybe sit ups. Maybe a run. We know what to do now in order to stay sort of sane. We do what we need in order to sustain our families, our houses, our own sanity. To varying degrees we understand how to deal with this experience of complete lockdown.
It’s amazing how we can take for granted our lives, living in vast cities, interacting with so many people everyday, bombarded by billboards or smog or smokestacks, only to suddenly change course in order to protect each other — stuck at home alone. We adapt so quickly, with such force. One day we hate the idea of running, then the next we decide to go for our first three mile run since high school.
This is the part where I wrap up the story. I sit outside, waiting. I bring you back to the tactile presence of my life in a small secluded yard mostly alone with my thoughts. A neighbor’s child jumps into a kiddy pool, not laughing as they splash around in the water. The sky is just so damn blue today. The songs of robins have become more common recently. The days are getting hotter. I said that earlier though. I end the entry with some note about silence, or some all encompassing vague phrase. And that is how I write these articles, while I wait for the sun to go down, for the town to howl, for some day in the future where I can be surrounded by strangers again, some day where I can not just marvel about community through this traumatic event, but actually be embedded in it, entering into another normal.