Thoughts on the Coronavirus Pandemic – Part 2


Everyone is affected by this pandemic in one way or another.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am fortunate that the impact on my life has so far been minimal.  As a retiree, I was already used to being home most of the time.

I have been the author of the veterinary advice column for Catster magazine for many years, and the columns I write are all written at home, so working from home is the norm for me.

My partner Mark, however, is now working from home, and that’s been a big change in my life.  He used to work from home only on Fridays. A few months ago, his employer allowed an additional day to work at home, so he began to work from home on Thursdays as well as Fridays.  During the pandemic, however, like many other office workers, he’s been home continuously. Fortunately, he and I get along very well, and I like having him around. When we go on vacation together, we’re with each other 24/7, and it always brings us closer.  Now we’re together 24/7, and again I think it’s just bringing us closer. Our apartment is big enough for us to carve out our own space, and I have enough interests – reading, writing, studying, photography – to keep my brain well occupied.

Mark likes to cook, and now that he’s home all the time, he has been perusing his cookbooks and planning meals, and I’m the main beneficiary.  It’s one of the few upsides to being stuck at home.

The other big change is the social distancing and all of the ramifications.  The best thing about being retired in New York is that there’s so much to do.  I enthusiastically took advantage of all of the things that New York had to offer, going to Broadway and off-Broadway shows, museums, and movies.  Shopping at Macy’s or browsing Crate and Barrel was a great way to spend a cloudy day. Deciding on which restaurant to go to for lunch was a daily ritual that I really relished.  Going to the gym every morning was integral to my physical and mental health. Sitting in the park and reading or just watching the world go by had become one of life’s greatest pleasures.  That has all been put on hiatus, and it’s surreal and bizarre.

For Mark, working at home entails participation in conference calls two or three times a day, and normally I would stay out of his hair during these calls by going to a movie or museum, or visiting a nearby park.  Those are no longer options. While I’m still able to walk around or sit in the park (weather permitting), even that is being discouraged now, despite the fact that parks are nearly empty and social distancing is easily accomplished.

Empty Bryant Park, Manhattan, during the Coronavirus Social Distancing

New York has become the epicenter of the infection.  Although I am able to practice social distancing in a park, the paranoia is now so pervasive that I fear simply going outdoors.  If I pass by a store, I find myself reluctant to grasp the door handle, hand over a credit card, be handed change, or even talk to a cashier.  This phenomenon, in which we feel like opening the front door is a death sentence, is distressing. I’ve always been a terrible sleeper, and the fear of illness isn’t helping. My sister is 64 years old, and Mark’s parents are in their 80s.  We worry about their health, and if one of them were to get ill, would we even be able to visit or communicate with them in the hospital?

Today, the weather is supposed to be lovely.  I’m undecided if I should take a walk outside.  I may just go up to the roof of our building with a chair and do some reading.  I suppose it’s going to be like this for several more weeks. Hang in there, everyone, and stay safe.


1 Comment

  • Erin
    Posted March 29, 2020 6:34 pm 0Likes

    They are saying here in the UK that it could be far longer than the three weeks that we are currently in lockdown for, maybe 12-13. Walks are permitted, exercise once a day. The world is on hold bar for food, vets, medicine and work. I hope the sun conytinues to shine on your roof

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