Saturday, December 12, 2020


There are things to break up and distinguish one day from the next during this self-imposed lockdown. But there is also a routine. I get up around 7 a.m. no matter how late my bedtime was the night before. (It is usually around 12:30 a.m.) This is so I can spend two or more hours doing the following: (1) fetching the papers out of the hallway; (2) getting some coffee; (3) checking the computers for anything urgent; (4) copying the NY Times puzzle for FFP to try his hand; (5) writing a few lines in a paper journal; (6) working the puzzles in the NY Times and maybe reading anything of interest in the Arts Section in which they appear (except for Sunday when it's in the magazine and I make a copy to work); and (7) checking social media and reviewing my memories on Facebook. I do that last one last to avoid being sucked into the vortex of social media and neglecting my puzzles, etc. Two hours? Yes, usually. I may tidy up something in the kitchen. (Like washing my cocktail glass from the night before.) I'll have some more coffee. I may have a discussion with FFP.

After this, I usually walk. 

We may go outside to walk. This involves getting on our outside shoes, hats (for the sun and to cover increasingly chaotic hairdos), and masks. We take along an antiseptic wipe to use to touch buttons and door handles. We may take out the trash to the chute or some recycling to the parking garage. We almost always drive somewhere and then walk. We don't get in an elevator with others and by driving instead of exiting our building through the main exits we avoid a lot of potential human contact. Plus other non-downtown neighborhoods are less dense with people coming and going. If we go outside to walk, I map the walk with an app on my phone and take pictures of interesting things along the way. I post this on Facebook to entertain my followers. [Do I owe my followers entertainment?]

I may walk and exercise indoors. I mapped out 130 steps or so around the apartment. I count these laps and try to get in enough steps this way. I may intersperse a few stretches and arm exercises. I may do this inside exercise as an adjunct to the outdoor stroll which usually doesn't qualify as "enough" exercise. Increasingly, if I don't get the outdoor exercise then I don't do anything more. I need to rectify that.

When I walk inside I leave the computers on my desk on and they go into screensaver mode. I have this set for displaying some of the tens of thousands of images on the disk. Each time I make a lap I see a few pictures. They remind me of people and places and events. Some are from the last few months of isolation. Many are scans from the past, old photos many decades old. People pop up that I had forgotten. People pop up who are no longer with us. Here you are in our neighborhood, here in Paris or London or Dublin. This picture is of a shop window somewhere. This one has strangers in it. Our attention is drawn to people but sometimes, especially as pictures age, it's the cars or the furniture and artifacts in the room that grab us. Here are my parents, on a ship, near the Big Island of Hawaii. Oh, and there are pictures of exquisite food and many shots of drinks, particularly the whiskey drink I favor, the Manhattan. Oh, and pictures of Manhattan, the borough, too. Many of the Empire State building from back in the day when we could stay in a room with a great view of it. Back in the day when we could go anywhere at all and stay in a hotel. There are pictures of museums and the artifacts in them and the people visiting there. There are murals, some you can still find and some long lost to coverings or construction. There are many pictures of the view from our window and the balcony of this apartment where we have lived for twelve years. There are pictures of couples who are no longer together. There are pictures of exquisite food and other people's tattoos. Of parades and performances. Of people's homes and yard art. Of the construction of many buildings with cranes reaching up to points where the building will eventually rise. There are odd cars and odd things found abandoned. Passing this parade of pictures makes me think of life outside this bubble and how I lived it. There are also pictures of shelves inside this apartment and our old house, crammed with books and artifacts and souvenirs and photos. There are many photos of my husband as he walks in front of me. There are flora and fauna, statues and stores. There are many views of our old house and yard.

When the evening hours come I start thinking about dinner. And drinks. I've not drunk much at home in the past. It seemed we were always out in a bar or restaurant. FFP is my go-to for making my Manhattans (on the rocks), my favorite drink. But, during our isolation, I've branched out. I have him make me Bloody Marys. I have opened old wines and drunk the ones that were still drinkable. I have perfected my recipe for vodka gimlets, "cornered" bottles of cognac and Scotch, bought tonic water for vodka tonics. I am not a gin drinker and imagine myself unable to drink it without consequences but I've been tempted by a few bottles around. I've tried to use up what is here but we've gotten curbside pickup on vodka, Rye, and white and Rosé wines, and mixers. I've made Moscow Mules and Old Pals. After drinks and dinner, I usually check the Travis County COVID numbers. If it's up, I'm sad. If it's down, I don't think it's down enough. If people have died (and they usually have), I wonder who they were. Then we watch movies and television series while reading. I work more puzzles, perhaps. We get The Wall Street Journal (six days) and Austin American-Statesman (seven days) and they have puzzles, too. It's only with the puzzles that I lose myself and lose the sense of where I am and where the world is going.

We stay up too late. Maybe I have another drink (although lately I seem to be drinking less) and maybe a snack. Finally I go to bed with some water and a book. I read a few pages and doze.

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