Wow. This week. Just, everything about it. What a time to be alive! The stock market is crashing, Coronavirus is striking fear and panic into the hearts of apparently everyone, and that obnoxious primary election is still going on. On top of that, it’s raining in Los Angeles.
(Yes I know we need it but no I don’t like the rain. That’s why I live in Los Angeles.) I can’t help but look at my cat, basking in the sunshine, completely unaware of all of the world’s problems, and envy him.
It’s a tough time to be a person who pays attention to the news, and I don’t know about you all but I’ve been waffling between feeling like I must follow the news closely and be up to date on all of these things, and wanting to fly to Costa Rica and just bury my head in the sand forever. Balancing that fine line between my need to be informed vs. the temptation of pure, blissful ignorance. For real though, can you imagine how cheap it would be right now?! (I just checked. Roundtrip from LAX is like $200. Adios amigos!)
Okay I’m not really going to check out and disappear to a beach somewhere, as much as I’d like to, but I don’t really know how to feel about all of this. I find it no coincidence that just as I was beginning to consider re-downloading the dating apps and getting back out there, Coronavirus struck. That’s right, I’ve been on a dating hiatus, I just didn’t tell you guys. I realized after some reflection that my attitude and expectations surrounding dating were 100% negative, and that’s no way to go into something and achieve any kind of success.
So I stepped back, deleted the apps, and have been doing a lot of personal development and introspection. More on that in another post, but the point is, I was finally ready to get back out there and then the universe was like oh, ummmm….. maybe not right now? I can’t imagine a worse time to date than in the midst of a global flu outbreak that can be transmitted by physical contact, which, if we’re being honest, is literally the main objective of dating.
As of yet I had been mostly unaffected by Coronavirus. Of course I’ve seen the news, the memes, the fear-mongering headlines, but I hadn’t been too concerned with it myself. I’m a healthy thirty-something woman with a strong immune system, no children, and I don’t cross paths with the elderly on a regular basis, so I had no real reason for concern. But then I left my apartment and went out in public, and wow did that change my perspective.
I needed some groceries so I took a trip to Costco. Big mistake. Do NOT go to Costco right now. First of all, the parking lot was full. I mean FULL. There are few things as disheartening as a completely full Costco parking lot (well, there are more and more now), and when I used to live nearby I would just leave and come back another time. But I had driven thirty minutes to get here, so I was committed.
I parked way in the back and headed in. There were hardly any carts left, which was alarming by itself, but then I was greeted by an employee wearing a mask over his nose and mouth and handing out disinfectant wipes for everyone to use on the cart. As I wiped the cart down and made my way into the store, I saw another employee directing traffic straight to the back of the warehouse.
“Water, straight back. Water, straight to the back” he kept repeating.
It kills me a little bit every time I go to Costco and see people carting around cases of bottled water anyway, because it is so incredibly wasteful and unnecessary, but it was just compounded this trip. Almost every single person in there had two cases of water in their cart, except for the few of us who clearly had just come to Costco to do some regular shopping and were caught off guard by all of these people preparing for disaster.
But seriously, my personal feelings about single use bottled water aside (it’s a waste of money too ya know), is there a water shortage that I don’t know about? Yeah, I know, Coronavirus. But water? If we were preparing for a natural disaster like an earthquake or something that might cause an extended power outage or disrupt the availability of running water in our homes, then it makes sense to me. But, a flu? Have people forgotten that we have running water in our homes? And that we can drink that water? Brita or not, that water is drinkable. This aspect of the doomsday mentality was making no sense to me.
I continued on into the store and to my left was a wall of workout clothing that was all on sale. Leggings, sweatpants, shorts, sweatshirts, etc. Okay Costco, I’m pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down. If you are going to get the flu, you might want some moisture wicking clothing to wear while you are suffering through a virus that will make you sweat your insides out. *That’s not really how it works, please don’t quote me and start telling people that Coronavirus will make you sweat your insides out.
As I approached the back of the store, I could see that they had an assembly line of employees helping with distribution of the cases of water, which was conveniently located next to the toilet paper (or, where the toilet paper used to be.)
Anyone else finding the irony in people bulking up on both water AND toilet paper? Just me?
Last on my list was Emergency. I drink one every day (Coronavirus or not) and just happened to be out. I couldn’t find it. I asked an employee if they had any left and he muttered “We’ve been out for like three days,” implying that either I was an idiot for beginning my Coronavirus preparations so late, or that everyone else was an idiot for having started at all. *Cue sassy eyeroll… Oh, and there’s no one here with me to match it.
After I left Costco, my mood was less than enthusiastic. But once I got home and had dinner with a friend and watched part I of the Bachelor finale, I felt better. Maybe not better, per say, just distracted, which I believe is exactly the point of shows with no intellectual value to them such as the Bachelor.
Here, turn off your brain and watch this! There are no political opinions here, no references to climate change (except that the finale was taking place in Australia and I kept thinking, were they there while the wildfires were burning?), no news updates about Coronavirus, and no one telling you that the stock market is now empty.
That’s it folks! We’re completely out of stock(s)! They got cleaned out with the bottled water and toilet paper.
The next day I ended up going to a concert with a friend. I hadn’t thought that I was worried about Coronavirus, but suddenly, sitting in that theater filled with people I didn’t know, rather, whose handwashing habits I didn’t know, I became pretty paranoid.
We grabbed some wine from the bar and headed to our seats, and the bartender offered us lids. She said it was so that we wouldn’t spill, but once we sat down, I realized I wanted to keep the lid on mine in cases and germs happened to float through the air and land in my drink. Five minutes later, I swear I felt something spill on me. A light spray of someone’s beverage from up above? We were sitting in an upper balcony but there was one more above us, and I was certain that either;
a) An infected person had just spilled their drink on me or
b) An infected person had just sneezed on me from above
Either way, AAAAAAHHHH!!!
I sat there frozen for a moment, but no one else around me seemed to notice anything. I was suddenly very glad that I left the lid on my drink, as whatever it was that did (or didn’t) spray down from above could not have landed in my cup of wine. (And yes, I kept drinking my wine.)
But then I grew very conscious of not touching my face, and of course whenever you think about not touching your face you have all of those little phantom itches pop up and you just must scratch your nose, eyes, ears, etc. I was just using my knuckle or the back of my hand, trying to remember if my hands had come in contact with anything besides my wallet when I had paid for the drinks… I was suddenly glad to not be holding hands with someone, imagining the little oven that would cook up germs in the space between our sweaty palms.
Later, there was a very loud bass drop and I thought it was an earthquake for a quarter of a second. Oh no! Coronavirus AND an earthquake?! Maybe I should have stocked up on bottled water after all! Every muscle in my body tensed up as I braced myself, then I realized it was just the massive sound system and not a natural disaster and I let go of my neighbor’s hand. Sorry about that. Purell?
I don’t know about the rest of you Angelenos, but I am a little traumatized from those two earthquakes last July and whenever a big truck passes by my apartment and rumbles a bit, I brace myself and look over at my earthquake kit, waiting patiently for me by the front door, that contains enough for me and my cat, not another human, and serves as one more reminder of my eternal bachelorette-dom…
I calmed down after a few minutes; the initial paranoia passed. The show was great. (Keane was the band in case you’re wondering, and they are great live.) And now I’m back to not stressing about it. But I’m also sitting in my apartment right now, not exposed to anyone’s germs but my own. And a fair amount of cat hair, if I’m being honest, but at least I know my cat doesn’t have Coronavirus. Can animals even get Coronavirus?
According to CNN, “There is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they can become sick.” Phew.
Okay, the pets are safe for now. I still can’t decide if I need to be panicked about this or if I should treat it like the regular flu. I have always been a bit of a germaphobe and washed my hands a lot, so I’m already fulfilling most of the hand-washing guidelines. I will admit it’s nice to sing myself a song every time I wash my hands though. (I’ve been using “Oops I Did It Again”)
So far I’ve been adhering to my regularly scheduled life. But maybe I should hunker down? I feel like if I was in a relationship there’d be no question: We are going to Netflix and chill until this is all over. The only germs we’re swapping are with each other, baby! But I’m not, so it’s completely up to me. Oh! The sun just came out and now it’s a really beautiful day and all I want to do is go outside…
I’m conflicted. I’m sure some of you are too. Let’s just try and keep ourselves and each other safe. Pro Tip: I read something that said if you can’t afford to get tested for Coronavirus you can go donate blood. It’s free (obviously) and they have to test your blood before they give it to another patient, and they will inform you if you have any bloodborne illnesses. So you can feel good about helping someone in need and also confirm that you don’t have Coronavirus. Or at the very least, you don’t have to pay money to find out that you do have it… But you don’t.
In the meantime, I’m not going to download the dating apps just yet, in case you were wondering. If this is the universe telling me to take some more time off, it’s a bit aggressive but I feel like I should listen to it. So the hiatus continues. And that’s okay! I’ve gotten quite accustomed to all of this self-care and free headspace. Besides, I should be grateful that I’m single, because that’s one less set of germs that I have to worry about…