Vexations and Conundrums
By Katina Pontikes
REPORT NO. 1 From the Isolation Zone
We came to this ranch for a few days, three weeks ago. Our host is a recent widow, and she said she appreciated us keeping her company during our social isolation in the time of the COVID19 pandemic. None of us knew how long things would be uncertain.
My husband and I fled our condo like it was on fire, fearful of the virus. We both were in the at-risk age category and had past bouts of pneumonia. Our friend pointed out that our high-rise had many more hands touching things than this country ranch. We were won over by her logic.
The car was filled with food, toilet paper, perfume, the usual survival gear. We accidentally didn’t pack about twenty critical items. We did one more stealth run into the city for about half of what we needed and came back to the country immediately, wearing blue surgical gloves held aloft like surgeons and wiping down everything we touched with antiseptic wipes. No one else seemed to be as nervous as us. Had they not been watching the situation in Italy?! We were early responders.
After days, the government in the U.S. came out of its coward hole and started to give little baby warnings to the citizens. Talk about exponential compounding. Two weeks “stay at home” turned into a month “stay home” in about two days. That was a local order, as there was no national guidance. But we hadn’t needed the president to tell us that a shit storm was coming. We knew way back that the “Democratic Hoax” wouldn’t have included China, Italy and S. Korea. I am disappointed in the snail’s pace of mankind.
So now we are still at our friend’s lovely country place, all trying to use extra courtesy and pull our weight on the work front. There is lots more work than usual because we can’t go anywhere.
Our friend is a gourmet cook, and we have to be careful not to expect her to be our chef. Our occasional sandwiches and pasta are weak attempts at Pleasant Survival compared to the multiple hot skillets sizzling with her feasts when we awake from naps. We keep the television running too much and numbly hear the escalating numbers of deceased and ill. And now we hear that there are people who feel fine, but give this virus to all the other people in their daily orbit. Now, that’s a horror movie plot line if I ever heard one.
I didn’t mention that we don’t share political ideology. Our hostess said early on that different politics wouldn’t matter to her; it was like preferring one vegetable to another. She lets us watch CNN the most, for a more humanistic approach to the news. And when Fox gets turned on, we have watched the tone change from attack to somber. But Obama still gets thrown under the bus, three years after he was off the job. It’d be funny, if things weren’t so dire.
The rock star of the whole shebang is Dr. Fauci. He could be called Dr. Fascinating. How a man of that age (seventy-nine) can be so sexy, so intellectual and so diplomatic is just amazing. We all have a role model. He gently corrects things the president dreams up, without ever saying he is righting misinformation. Now he has had to obtain security, not just from far-righters who don’t like that he contradicts the president. He also apparently had some overzealous and unwanted positive attention from the left. I can only imagine what that must have been. Kisses? He just quickly had a security detail.
Yesterday surgical masks were the term of the day. Now it has been determined that we all need them. No wonder everyone in China had these on. No one asked them why?
Our friend pointed out that Muslim women are way ahead of this with the burkas. Then she wondered if we could bejewel masks, as they really are rather ugly. For now we will be stuck wearing bandanas, like the dogs wear on their necks, or bandits wear to rob victims.
Imagine, it’s only been twelve days since our first official stay at home order.