Last Saturday my husband and I woke up and looked at each other with slight apprehension. “What do we do?” we ask each other. We get up and slowly make our way down the hall. He grabs the cat, I splash water on my face in the bathroom. We meet in the kitchen.
“I don’t know,” I say. “I agree,” he says. We look at each other and try to smile.
I slowly walk back down the hall and stare at my reflection in the mirror. I find my phone and play an artist I like. Kirtan music isn’t something I heard until about a year ago, but it is now my go to when I’m feeling unsettled. And unsettled is definitely how I am feeling this morning.
If we go we’ll likely feel bad. At least I will. If we go we don’t know what will be open. It could be that restaurants, museums, even movie theaters will close. If we go we will feel even more out of sorts than we already do. If we go, or pets are uncomfortable, missing us in the way they do.
“Let’s not go.” I say. “OK,” he says.
“We’re still going to feel awful if we stay,” he says. “I know”, I respond. And just like that we cancel our 20th anniversary travel plans to Phoenix.
I know you’re navigating your world just like we are. There’s some comfort in that for me that we are all doing this together somehow. There’s more comfort in the kindness I’ve noticed on the emails I get from the Next Door app. I see offers from neighbors to grab supplies, food, prescriptions, watch kids, walk dogs for whoever is need. We are all in need. But I don’t know if anyone takes up the offers. I hope they do.
I feel tension in my belly – our daughter flew out the day before our questions became bigger than our certainty. She is still with my brother and his family. They are grateful she is there. They also feel a sense of responsibility that you do when you aren’t certain what will happen, or how decisions by community and state leaders will be made and you’re in charge of a kid that isn’t yours. I bet it isn’t very comfortable for them.
They are still enjoying each other’s company. “Uncle Mark is photo bombing” was the last text my kid sent before bed last night. “Your daughter has been amazing. Gabby is just thrilled she’s here.”
And so it goes. The little decisions that suddenly carry unmeasurable weight. Do I go to the gym? “I’ll be careful,” I rationalize. “I’ll wash my hands and come home, and won’t spread anything or get sick.” I never went.
I need to go to the grocery store. But everything item I bring home either needs to be sanitized, or quarantined. I decide not to do either.
I have to go out again today for vitamins because we don’t know what stores are closing – is a supplement shop inessential? To me it isn’t, but I suspect to authorities who are watching over us it might be.
I text a neighbor whose husband is immune compromised “Do you need anything while I am out”? I still feel slightly irresponsible that I am going. But I go anyway and pick up stuff for us that we need, including a canister of sea salt caramels that simply make me feel good. I get a bunch of stuff for my friend – but not everything she wanted because they are out of potatoes and some cheeses, and whole chickens, and eggs.
Before all this insanity started, my husband’s company has been working on a HIPPA compliant communication app for Dr’s, EMT’s, nurses that is being used in a bunch of places. But now they are offering their relatively expensive and complicated product to hospitals, emergency clinics, care providers (and even patients to use their video conferencing portion) at no charge. I am floored. It is so thoughtful and generous. And potentially life changing for millions of people.
Without having to think I offer my voice acting services to them at no charge. The decision feels solid and right and the unsettling that has been sitting in my abdomen since Saturday is gone when I let it sink in. I breathe in deeply and exhale.
They have six videos that they put together quickly and I don’t know if they’ll wind up using my voice on any of these videos, but I hope they do. I hope I can help them in this way. I hope I can focus on what I can do versus what I cannot.
I spoke with the producer a little while ago and she’s not sure they’ll patch any of the new recordings of my voice into the existing ones, which makes sense. Sometimes good enough is better than better. I’m good with that.