This is like retirement on steroids.
My husband and I are following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home orders for California that he issued on March 19. Pres. Trump extended social – or physical as some are calling it — distancing practices through April 30.
It will be a long month. As T.S. Eliot wrote in his poem “The Waste Land,” “April is the cruelest month.”
Since I retired three years ago, Don and I have been trying to find our rhythm in retirement. Don had retired a few years earlier and was used to doing things his own way. He performed household chores, which he readily relinquished once I wasn’t working. We compromised but it was still a struggle to be at home together.
We had met at the newspaper where we worked different shifts, which suited us. I had a regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift, and he was a copy editor who worked from 2-11 p.m. I came home for lunch at 1 p.m. and he came home for dinner at 7 p.m. We still keep those mealtimes, which confuses friends and relatives who try calling at those times.
Don and I are both homebodies and enjoy solitary pursuits like reading. We also like to watch recorded shows and a few sitcoms together. Lately, we follow CNN regularly to get updates on the pandemic. We cook, bake, and talk to friends and relatives on the phone. We FaceTime with our grandchildren. I spend time painting in my home “studio” and Don plays pool on the computer. We have a new puzzle and Scrabble if we get desperate.
It’s hard to get going when there’s nowhere to go. My medical and dental visits were canceled. The nearby library closed. Our gym shut down. Parks and beaches are off limits. Restaurants, art galleries and retail stores were shuttered. My hair stylist offered to cut my hair at our home but I declined and sent her a check for my regular service instead. I worry about younger people who still work or are laid off. I worry about small businesses around town.
Although I relish time at home, I had cultivated friends and social activities since retirement. I met regularly with a collage group and attended the nearby gym for senior fitness classes. I met friends for lunch or coffee and took walks at a nearby park. I showed my art at Poppies Art and Gifts in Ojai and participated in the shop’s activities.
Since the lockdown, I learned Zoom to meet with some artists once a week. We had a tutorial with my web designer to learn how to update my blog and website. We feel accomplished at learning new procedures.
All things considered, we are doing well in captivity. We get along. We take one day at a time. We always have lived below our needs but are comfortable. We had stored items when they were on sale and had a good supply of toilet paper, soup and cereal (we live in earthquake territory) before hoarding cleared the shelves.
I had found this quotation from Ernest Hemingway’s novel “A Moveable Feast”: “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”
What more do we need?
Photo: Don created this image, “In a Fix,” in Photoshop.