Another so-called holiday is about to bite the dust. Actually, I’d prefer the holiday to EAT the dust, so that Samantha and I don’t have to vacuum this weekend. Already in need of repair, my Miele vacuum is 10 years old and sounds weaker and more exhausted than I am. We ALL need a long weekend to rest, but this Memorial Day will be anything but restful.
There are no holidays for anyone during the coronavirus. Dust, dirt and germs gather from one day into the next—no matter what—while social gatherings remain forbidden. All holidays have started to lose their meaning. My 32nd wedding anniversary, my mom’s 93rd birthday, Mother’s Day and now Memorial Day Weekend are all observed remotely ESPECIALLY if you live in a Manhattan apartment and can’t afford to escape to a pandemic priced house in the Hamptons or Connecticut.
I still have tremendous gratitude for the continued good health of my family, along with the courage and the hard work of hospital personnel and other essential workers. But I’m bone-tired and brain-tired of living in survival mode, without the joy of social interactions, cultural entertainment and the FREEDOM of movement BC (Before Coronavirus). Most of all, I’m tired of being a good sport.
If we had an intelligent, informed and compassionate leader managing this crisis, I might be more patient and hopeful. However, under the circumstances—the lies, the misinformation and hyped up stories in the press—make it hard to know what to believe and when it will be safe for New Yorkers to return to some semblance of our previous lives.
Where is the consistency and fairness in social distancing and sheltering in place? Beaches and businesses in the Hamptons, New Jersey, Connecticut and California are beginning to open, but only local residents are allowed to enjoy these summer pleasures. Unfortunately, New York City beaches remain closed and Big Apple residents are NOT welcome at any of the out-of-town beaches ANYWHERE. With the necessity of social distancing, I totally understand why other areas don’t want New Yorkers crowding their beaches and boardwalks. But now xenophobia extends to fellow Americans residing in other counties, not just foreigners from other countries.
My autistic adult daughter hugs me many times each day. “Do you mind if I give you all of my hugs and affection? I can’t help myself. I miss hugging and kissing my friends.”
“I love your hugs and kisses. I hope I’ll still get my fair share after you’re able to embrace your friends,” I answer, knowing that I probably won’t.
“Sharing is caring…. I already talked to my friends about celebrating Father’s Day and Daddeo’s birthday. I’m not making any plans for those times so we can go out to dinner and celebrate together.”
“How can you and your friends make any plans? We still don’t know how or when the city will reopen.” Father’s Day is June 21 and Howard’s birthday is July 7th, so it’s possible that Samantha will be able make weekend plans with her friends and celebrate the next family holidays on our calendar. I hope she’s right, but I’m not nearly as optimistic about the future, even the near future.
We had planned to travel to Spain and Portugal for our family vacation at the end of August. Even if we’re allowed to travel on planes (wearing masks and gloves) two months from now, how will we know if it’s safe? Even if hotels team up with Clorox and other disinfectant companies, can we trust that the hotel workers sanitizing the room are not infected? The only way to avoid the worry and risk of contracting Covid19 in a foreign country is to stay home. The prospect of getting sick on vacation is worse than no vacation at all.
Samantha has adjusted surprisingly well to the many disappointments of our vacationless world during the coronavirus. I consider myself “lucky” that she’s a better sport than I am. She has adjusted to Zoom and on-line contact with EPIC and her friends and doesn’t crave the outdoors nearly as much as I do. On the other hand, when I was in my 20s everyone went OUT to a real office, gym, bar or discotheque (remember those?). We did not have cell phones, iPads or computers. There was no such thing as Facebook or Zoom.
For most of my single life, I “zoomed” around the city on my bike or roller blades. FaceTiming meant meeting a friend for drinks or dinner in person. These were life-long habits, just like eating birthday cake, reading a book by turning paper pages, or going out of town on a holiday weekend.
Speaking of holiday weekends, where will my family go for this one? We’ll travel between bedrooms, to the bathroom, our galley kitchen and then proceed to the dining area/partial office. After loading (or unloading) the dishwasher, we will partake of all the other mundane and necessary excursions (CVS and Morton Williams) and to the compactor room as we have done for the past two months.
Memorial Day 2020 will be just like any other Monday during the coronavirus—certainly not anyone’s idea of a staycation. A real “staycation” involves plans to catch up on errands, see friends and take “me time.” Time seems more precious and worthwhile when I can plan my activities. Maybe I should try to make plans like Samantha and her friends, give myself something to smile about in the future.If only I knew when.