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Monday, March 23, 2020

                      LIFE IN THE TIME OF CORONA VIRUS COVID-19

It is now an entire week when the country has pretty much shut down. I don't think as many took it seriously until the middle of last week. Each day I learn of someone new who has contracted the virus and I am in panic mode. I have been in the house almost the entire time except for driving around with my daughters. The world has gotten different for sure. My life is pretty much the same except my daughters have now been home from their offices every day. They used to work at home on Mondays and then one worked from home on Wednesday and the other on Friday. Now they are both home and this is going to be the new normal for us I guess. 

We no longer shop at supermarkets. We are getting our food delivered. Living in a large apartment complex a lot of things have changed for us. Our complex had many amenities such as a full time gym of two levels, a community room with free coffee and free wifi with several computers available. We also have a Conference Room and a theater where you can screen your own movies or watch the broadcast they have there. It is equipped with the latest reclining chairs and a wide screen. There is also a basketball court and a squash court. 

We also have a concierge who lets in people and who takes packages. Our building has a gated parking area and that is still working. So they closed all the amenities. I have been inside my apartment since Saturday and will probably be here for the entire week. My car was started on Saturday to make sure it is still okay. But I am afraid to go out at all. I am over 70 and have diabetes. So I am in the danger zone for contracting this virus.

I have changed my daily habits. Now I wash my hands very frequently for 20 seconds whenever I do anything. I have been baking a bit so that entails washing your hands even more. I am not having any physical contact with my daughters for fear they might be carrying the germ unknowingly. They are taking precautions. I also did that. When I went out on Saturday I had a glove to touch the elevator button and the door handle and then threw it away. We bought masks before the whole thing actually escalated and we are very prepared with lots of toilet paper and other essentials. We are waiting for our food order and my daughter just said that some things are out of stock. They are not ordering as much food because people are not buying it. 

As a writer I have been writing poetry and wrote two poems about the disease. I also wrote a chapter on my WIP although now I don't feel much like writing. This is the first writing I have done in a few days. Everything seems to have changed in priority. I find that although I enjoy being in the house it is starting to get to me. I mean, what is great about this time is that creative people in the arts are stepping up. Since Broadway was closed several celebrities have started shows that feature the talents of these people. My daughters and I have been watching #Stars on Broadway and last night we spent over three hours watching Rosie O'Donell stream live so many celebrities I couldn't count. It's fun to see that the talent of these people doesn't need costumes and scenery. Also a performer is doing live performances every day at 7pm. It's just him, his guitar and his piano. All of this just soothes my soul and gives me hope that soon life will come back to normal. 

Several of my meetings have been either canceled or moved to Zoom. I, myself, will be on Facebook and I have my radio show: Books and Entertainment Tales from the Pages on Thursday, March 26, 2020. I am hoping all of my guests will be available.

Thank goodness for technology so we can get food. I guess we could live on what we have now. We have plenty in the freezer and pantry. But day to day essentials are what we are running out of and so happy we can restock. I am hoping that other people are able to navigate this situation without things getting out of hand. I am not looking past this week and hope that the country will come back to normal soon. 

Passover is April 8 and I fear we will have to cancel our seder with my niece. She lives in Manhattan and it's pretty much going to be a given that I won't be traveling and that we will not be gathering. Though we are family and my brother lives close to me I haven't seen him. He stopped traveling two weeks ago and we were supposed to get together all of us for Passover. Now I have no idea what is going to happen. I hope this will all be over but I fear that we have at least a month more to go before we can feel comfortable about going out in public. 

I'm finding it harder and harder to sleep. I woke up two hours after I fell asleep and had no idea why. I am trying to keep my mind off of this as much as possible but my body isn't getting the message. I don't usually have trouble sleeping. This is something new for me and I don't like it. Let me know how you are coping in the comments. And hope you will join me for my events. One is on Poetry of the Dark Angel on Wednesday and the other is my radio show: BE Tales from the Pages on Thursday. 

Here is one of the poems I wrote:

A scourge has overtaken our world
one more deadly than nations fighting nations
It has plunged its claws into our country
when we thought we were safe and nothing
could stop our freedom

Now we all sit isolated from each other
in our boxes — some boxes smaller than others
yet we must stay in them to escape this
deadly force that is rushing across our nation
forcing us to restrict our freedom

Over two hundred years we have fought for this
freedom to be where we want to be and do what
we want to do
now we must stay inside to keep away from
this invisible menace

No school, no work outside your home, no restaurants, no bars,
no lying on the beach with your friends, no fun get togethers
no talking with your neighbors or shaking hands or hugging
no movies, no concerts, no festivals, no book events or poetry readings
We must do all this virtually now

Too many have been affected by this invisible monster that seeps
into your body without your knowing and for some it is a death sentence
The bodies piling up so high in places the cemeteries have closed
And still it keeps destroying without care for anything
As the brave medical profession struggles to contain it

Stuck inside my home to avoid its deadly consequences
I pray every day for an end to this awful mess that started
with a tiny insect and now has caused the entire world to
come to a stop — creating a time to reflect and wonder
and then appreciate all the freedoms we so took for granted

Like walking outside and greeting passersby, shopping without care,
or hugging a loved one after a long time apart
or cheering at a concert for a performer in the midst of cheering others
or watching basketball players bump up against each other
not concerned that one of them may be deadly

It will be a sad and painful time for all of us
as we watch the procession of bodies
and the researchers search constantly for a cure
to stop this invisible pestilence that has stumped
the world and decimated the ease of life.
Copyright 2020 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time I hope everyone is staying safe and observing the rules so we can get rid of this pestilence that has invaded our lives.

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