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It’s been over a week since I started serious social distancing. I am spending most of my time at home or walking the dog and getting up close and personal with online shopping – if that can be considered an “up close and personal” experience.
By the way, regarding my dog Vida, who if you read the previous blog will remember that she had managed to eat a pile of chocolate-covered Easter egg candies with the expected explosive results. I am happy to report that my doggie is fully recovered now and is doing what she does best: enjoying walks, tummy rubs, toys, treats, and naps.
Obviously, this pandemic is causing major disruptions for us all, whether we were early adopters of social distancing or not. That’s because in New Jersey the places where we used to gather are all closed. We have a curfew from 8:00 pm-5:30 am, “non-essential” businesses must close (only supermarkets, pharmacies, pet supply stores, hospitals, and so on may stay open), and we are not to leave our houses except to get groceries, visit the doctor or hospital, visit family, go to work if we are involved in an essential service to the community, or take a walk (but no outside activities in groups).
I’m adjusting to the current “new normal,” and I have to say it hasn’t been too hard. Even though years of working in ministry have taught me how to be social, deep inside I’m still an introvert deep inside.
That said, I do miss seeing my family members in person. I haven’t visited Dan, the love of my life, for almost two weeks. His daughter Kristina and I got together on Zoom last week while she was at Dan’s house delivering groceries and giving him appropriately distanced father-daughter time. So I was able to see and chat with both of them. (Note: I do call Dan every day!) Meanwhile, Kris promised me that she’d get her sons to Zoom with me next. She tells me to expect them to aim the camera so I can look up their noses. Pretty much what I’d expect at their age. Love those crazy guys! am going to take her up on the nasal-gazing.
I also am talking and texting with my sister regularly. If I can get Diane and her partner, Sarah, to do either Zoom or Facetime with me, I’ll be a happy self-isolated camper.
Don’t know about you, but I find I am appreciating my loved ones so much more right now. I think my biggest take away is the sudden change in the way people are relating to each other. We can’t get physically close, but we do talk. I’ve had a number of conversations – short and long – with people from my neighborhood as we talk our many daily walks outside.
I live in a what used to be called a “bedroom community.” In other words, people sleep here but go out to work and play elsewhere. Suddenly we’re all home at the same time. Now we’re seeing each other. We’re talking and laughing and sharing. We’re asking, “how are you” and saying, “Stay well.”
I now know the name of the neighbor whose backyard abuts my backyard. Her name is Joan. She and her husband are retired. They used to have a cat. She asked me what happened to my other dog and noted that Tippy had had three legs.
Today I met a woman named Linda. I’ve seen her walking around the park. We had a longish chat and she told me was going crazy from the solitude. She loves to read and used to go to the library, but it’s closed right now. She rents a house and can’t have a pet. She has a pile of books she had been saving to read in the summer, but thinks she’ll have to read them now.
I guess what I’m saying is I’ve learned a lot about the people I see but haven’t taken the time to get to know. Everyone has a story. Everyone has hopes and dreams and struggles. We all share that in common.
So, be kind to one another. Listen. Help. Love. Pray.
Stay safe and be well, friends.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder