t was the day I got up a little later than usual. Maybe a lot later than usual, because when my eyes fully opened, there was a new tv table in the bedroom, a new water pitcher in the fridge, a room deodorizer and a different brand of stain remover near the washing machine.
The other day Carol announced she was going out. Back in a time that is now lost to history, she would have said simply: “I have to run to the store.” But since running to the store nowadays is a call to arms for the warrior class, Carol’s announcement carried the weight of a loved one deploying to Iraq.
One positive of the coronavirus quarantine is knowing that your spouse’s sudden preoccupation with the UPS guy is merely the result of increased online shopping. I’ve been struck by how many things we’re finding we need to buy, now that we can have it delivered instead of fighting traffic and mall crowds. And, yes, I understand that there are people who enjoy the bustle and interaction of traffic and crowds, especially after weeks of not being around them.
As I slowly morph into the couch I occupy daily, Carol strives to maintain social distancing from the spore of a mushroom I am inexorably becoming. The problem for her, I believe, is that she fears I’m not afraid of becoming “fungible” (to coin a new and unexpected meaning of the term), And in this, Carol is correct.
One positive thing the coronavirus has demonstrated is the broad adaptive range of the human mind. People have been doing amazing things to remain active and engaged within the confines of stay-at-home quarantining. Still, there’s great impatience to get daily life back to normal. In other words, hitting the snooze alarm and wishing it was Saturday rather than Tuesday. Getting the kids up and ready for school, figuring out a meal plan for dinner, fitting the routine errands around your work schedule, commuting traffic, blowing off the trip to the gym because you’re just too exhausted from all of the above. In other words, you want back what used to drive you to the edge of insanity day in and day out.
I was thinking of those film clips of Germany’s invasion of Poland at the start of WWII. The rampage of men, tanks and cannons over the Polish countryside looked a lot like the way Carol was attacking the mildew on our porch roof. It was a blitzkrieg of cleaning, with Tilex and mops and brooms scouring the porch landscape like it was the Poznan forest being overrun by German panzers.
;The other day after returning from a jog, Carol observed, “You know, Reid, you sweat a lot, but you don’t stink.” The alarm bells sounded immediately. Loss of smell can signal the onset of coronavirus. But later that day she noted, “I think they’re cooking fish next door.”