No Holds Barred: Locked and Loaded

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My front door altar.

Perhaps we are all in five months of Sundays.  I’d say we are no longer in lock down; we are now all “locked and loaded.”

Look how quickly wipes and toilet paper became the luxury items, more important than Hermès bags and Gucci shoes. And frankly, I like that all elective surgeries have been discontinued. The plastic surgery floors in hospitals are now dedicated to the virus patients with ventilators. Goodbye boob jobs and facelifts. Botox might still survive if you can learn to do it yourself along with every other minor medical matter.

One of the greatest advents that will come out of this pandemic is the idea of Teledoc — my own doctor is now available via FaceTime, phone and computer for all concerns — no more contagiously dangerous office visits unless seriously urgent. In fact, the biggest story of late have been TV’s “resident” doctors like Dr. Mark Siegel, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and of course NAID director and shaper of the White House’s Coronavirus response, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Cooper gets the scoop on Coronavirus from Gupta and Fauci.

None of them seem to sleep and they are all highly visible with top information.  I have lost my interest in most of the political personalities — give me the medical and first responders accounts.  Although, as one doctor told me, “Remember, nobody knows shit.”

I am over the constant email announcements from stores that start with “In these uncertain times… we aim to get you the finest t-shirts and moisturizers — so stay with us online.” It’s like hearing from an old boyfriend who wants to re-connect with you over a drink, and meanwhile you seriously DON’T CARE!! And who knows if you ever will in the same way once we get on “the other side” of all this. All the emails assume is that we will be better than ever once we get back to a “new normal.” It isn’t new, and it’s not “normal” anymore. We are simply in a completely different time. Or as the media keeps saying (in place of “new normal”) “unprecedented moment.”

This last week my dentist cancelled my appointment, but my dog could get his teeth cleaned. Friends learned to tag team shopping by phoning each other from different food markets. We cleaned out our wardrobe shelves and closets to make room for house and food supplies.  It made me think maybe all those fashion “stylists” could now become household “shoppers” for those in need.

Once was my sweater shelf now supplies.

Watching subways and planes being super-sanitized made me wonder what they were doing before this pandemic. I will still be queasy (I was always a germophobic traveler) to get on an airplane or stay in any hotel. 9/11 gave us TSA; Covid-19 may be the reason we may now have to have our temperature scanned at every airport and hotel lobby. And Lysol wipes will be in all of our pockets along with our phones.

The last “outing” I did was getting my hair cut and colored by Scottsdale star hairdresser Adilson Pascui. We did it on a closed salon Monday. He noted that both men and women may go either way in “crisis mode.” They either cancel all appointments, or secretly add more blowouts simply to stop the boredom and help self-esteem. My personal theory is if I am taken down by Covid-19, I want my grey roots covered and my hair layered. I realize my values are skewed.

The best thing I have read about social distancing was from Shanghai restauranteur Cody Allen who published these helpful hints in Business of Fashion:

• Grocery stores will restock every day or two. There is no need to hoard — delivery service is a lifesaver — but going to get groceries is a nice break in the day.

• Face masks — though not crucial (if you aren’t sick) can keep your hands off your face.

• Alcohol down items as they enter your house.

• Hand sanitizer is a must but so is cream to keep your hands from drying out.

• Hygiene at home.

• Create a quarantine room or area of your house for all external clothing. Shoes off before you step inside and all outdoor clothing items stay in that room or area unless you go back outside or are washing them.

• Wash your hands or shower when you come home.

• Wear clothes you can wash. Your cleaners might close.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel but living in isolation isn’t simple. Over time, the phone began ringing less and I was enveloped by an eerie blanket of quiet … my anxiety level ran high.  Internally I lost my rhythm.  I made the decision to reset — to live out the remainder of my time in isolation with some purpose.

• Don’t binge Netflix; watch quality movies, cinema classics, and documentaries.

• Read books more then articles.

• Don’t watch tv news and limit your media intake to well-regarded services.

• Keep your home super clean and organized. This also helps you not go insane.

• Don’t get on a late schedule with work from home – it’s easy to start going to bed at 3 AM.

• Go out for a run or bike ride every day, early mornings are the best. Yoga and body work are also great.

• If you have kids – drive them out of the city every 1 – 2 days or get them in an open park.

• Be of service to others – elders who need grocery help or sit for a pal’s pet.

My five-day supply of water delivery.

Allen admits his month-long lock down was the best rest he ever had and the most creative thinking time. He reorganized his home and got caught up on books he had never read. His days were actually intense, “but less in quantity than what it normally takes to put out the daily fires of office life.” He said he also spoke on the phone with friends and industry peers — and had deeper conversations “that none of us ever had before.”

We all have to find our own self-isolating regimes. My outdoor walks are crucial and now I don’t take my headset of music. I actually prefer to listen to the birds. And amazingly there is no traffic — the quiet feels magical.  The desert wildflowers are exploding everywhere.

Desert bloom!

I recently got an email from Dr. Lynn Ungar who sees this self-isolation as a giant Shabbos; “Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling.  Give up, just for now on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing, pray and touch those to whom you commit your life. Center down. Do not reach out your hands, reach out your heart. Reach out your words.”

And if that doesn’t work, try all the streaming of music events like the March 12th Philadelphia Orchestra’s Beethoven concert to an empty Verizon Hall. Conductor Yannick Nezet Seguin and the musicians played their hearts out.  The lack of an audience was compelling.  Or the Museum at FIT’s stream of their current show “Ballerina: Fashion’s Modern Muse.” For me it was all better online than standing endlessly in line. Obviously as movie theaters close (and they have been struggling anyway) more film studios are now streaming new releases. And I bet book publishing now makes a giant comeback as more people go back to the written word.

With every living hour it has been a roller coaster of nauseating highs and lows and anxious uncertainty over doom and gloom, or high denial. I find myself in a contest between caring more about my money or my health. But what difference does it make in the end. I continue to get wiped out from all the Lysol wiping I have to do with every delivered Amazon box. They are saying germs can live for up to 3 days. That fact alone can slow me down from over doing online shopping.  And unpacking those boxes out of my living space and dumping them quickly is a massive undertaking.

My cardboard box outdoor area.

Most importantly – in the end we need to maintain our sense of humor — No Matter What! Nothing and no one is very funny at the moment. Late night talk shows are off and some entertainers were performing to empty houses if they were performing at all. It’s clear laughing audiences are needed!

So, at this time, we must turn to the master writer/comedian Mel Brooks and his 47-year-old son Max to give us the brilliant last work (Mel is actually silent) on self-isolation and a hopeful laugh!

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