The two-weeks of social distancing has already felt like ten years. We have all felt the daily emotional roller coaster of trying to keep sanitized and stabilized without the free-floating anxiety playing with our heads. I am tired of feeling fearful of that vague queasiness and scratchy throat (which is also about spring allergies).
But I might be sicker of all the viral YouTube videos everyone keeps sending like all the celebrities singing “Imagine” (by the way, all celebrities are now irrelevant even cigar smoking Arnold Schwarzenegger telling us to stay home from his hot tub).
Then we have the many well-meaning doctors giving us the repetitive tutorials on washing your hands and not touching your face. I do love the one video of a New Yorker trying to recreate “Italy magic” by singing out her window and hearing “shut the fuck up” from one of her neighbors. Virus video backlash at its finest.
Everyone is becoming Dorian Grey except Trump who maintains his orange on orange hair and face with white eye bags. TV anchors are aging fast with no glam squads to double dye their hair, (Lou Dobbs now looks as if he shoe-polished his entire head) blowout those extensions, and remove the eye glue from their lids. We all have that sallow quarantine look. It is extremely humbling to let go of our visuals – and THAT is maybe the very lesson or message of this viral experience. “Get a grip” or “Get the grippe.”
Also, all the webcasts that appear “live from home” need better lighting and an awareness of the background setting used! There shouldn’t be bad pornographic looking art or a hallway full of strange trash bags behind you while you relay info. Web video art directors might become a new occupation in the post-Corona era.
The biggest plusses out of week two have been in technology with all the webinars (a popular platform for financial teams to inform clients) and the ever-present Zoom app offering yoga classes, AA meetings and most importantly, educational courses. Not to mention the ability to Facetime your family at any given moment. Network news may never need a deluxe NYC sound studio again if all the contributors can broadcast from home.
Social distancing still feels odd, but it only took me a week to look at a recent picture of myself with my arms around dear pals and think — “ick … what was I thinking.” Never mind wondering about the “new normal,” what will the “new intimacy” look like.
And forget the world of cruise ships and airlines — the fashion world has a big problem. As Tim Blanks, editor of Business of Fashion says, “Think about all those brands who are elevating ‘waste not’ (sustainability) as a corporate goal. How are they going to feel when ‘want not’ is the target customer’s mood under the enduring influence of Covid-19. Survival is a bitch.”
It’s a great gesture that ailing companies like The Gap and Athletica are now making masks, gloves and gowns. But it might not work since medical garb has to meet serious medical standards and can only be used once or twice. And that is another constant viral loop I am seeing everyone making masks “for charity.”
Nice thought, but we are in deeper waters than tie-dye mouth and nose coverups. I even had a friend who was trying to make and distribute his own Purel by putting vodka on Kleenex in a tub. But vodka does not have a high enough alcohol content, which leaves Listerine as the best alternative. Who wants to smell like that?
Clothes are not the cure — the only products that will come out of this with a spotlight are groceries, medical equipment and online education. I am not sure we will care about stilettos or high fashion, where will we be going? Then again, the future seems too far away to predict, but “back to the same old” won’t be it.
For the past 12 days, I have seen a few “influencers” (remember them?) promoting “sexy” loungewear, sweatpants, tops and socks (not flip-flops or sneakers) as a kind of stay-at-home “survival” wear. Others are pushing getting dressed up in your finest to keep your spirits up while sitting on your couch doing nothing. If you do find yourself in the middle of “social distancing boredom” sorting through your unused wardrobe, go easy as you might not ever find a replacement. Even the rental shopping boom has taken a hit. After all, how thorough has their cleaning capacity been in all this secondhand stuff.
The best thing about the virus taking up all the oxygen in our universe? We don’t have to care about Harvey Weinstein getting Corona or Woody Allen’s latest memoir being tawdry and tone deaf, or even the entire #MeToo movement. Tom Brady’s move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was not even a blip. But PornHub.com managed to stay current changing their name to Stayhome Hub.
Our perspective is shifting moment by moment. Nancy Pelosi and her ill-fitting dentures has been replaced by Dr. Deborah Birx and her stylish scarves. And then there is Andrew Cuomo in a makeshift hospital setting upstaging Joe Biden in his basement. But politics still feels way too remote to be real. Please … one disaster at a time.
I think the most horrendous aspect in week two of social distancing was the obsession with sanitizing. I now have an incredible accumulation of hand wipes, kitchen wipes, baby wipes, ass wipes, glass wipes, fabric wipes, and Thieves wipes (an expensive potion of eucalyptus oil, alcohol, cloves and cinnamon that supposedly blesses you as well as protects you).
For ten days, I not only had to wipe my hands and every object, but now I was sent a YouTube video (from pen pals) of “PSA-safe” grocery shopping by Dr. Jeffrey Vanwingen. He is teaching you how to safely put away your groceries to prevent infection. He unpacked, washed, wiped, and sanitized every piece of food and potential cross-contaminating surface separating everything that was now “safe.” It is 20 minutes of so much OCD, I’d rather just eat shit and die. Everyone who viewed it felt overwhelmed, defeated, and at death’s door. Even my germophobic friends were appalled. We are all doing our best. Maybe Martha Stewart could do a video on kitchen and grocery sanitation — I think she would make us feel it was something we could actually do!
Personally, I couldn’t sanitize myself, my house, or my friends enough. Full disclosure; I live in Scottsdale Arizona (for the moment, our case count is moderate — but it’s rising) with my 98-year-old Mom, who like Queen Elizabeth, has the strength of a yak and no pre-existing conditions. Yet for the last 14 days, I interrogated everyone who came to the house, accusing them of being a “risk.” We have four people who have worked for us between four and nine years. Last week I lost my mind questioning their personal comings and goings.
Finally, our dearest and longest working gal got sent home with a scratchy throat and has now developed all the typical Covid-19 symptoms (and is getting tested). So now Mom and I, along with our housekeeper and personal assistant, have been exposed. We are now all down together in the house in “serious quarantine” (including the dog) for 14 days. So, my worst fear arrived — and I strangely feel relieved. We will wait to see what symptoms appear. I tried for weeks to battle this demon from getting in my life and my home. And guess what? It’s here and now I’m the risk.
Our house feels different … news channels are off, classical music is on, and actual books are on the main table. I realized I had to give up all the anxiety and “open the front door.” As Ram Dass says, “Be Here Now.” And with this extremely contagious virus the truth is “you can’t run and you sure as hell can’t hide.”
So, with hope in my heart, I say “Welcome, Corona, to my home … have a cup of tea. And let’s get this over with.”