There’s the fact that we’re safe, housed, and fed. Healthy. Working from home at non-frontline jobs. Working! Lucky.

So whatever one might say about the current situation, the big story is happening elsewhere. People are doing heroic medicine, selling groceries, fixing plumbing. Brave work that’s keeping the rest of us going. Some hazard pay to the front lines, please.

But it’s also hard to write about something so strange and unprecedented. So gigantic and encompassing. Everyone is experiencing this, and I doubt any of us quite know how to feel. Day to day I have such wild swings in opinion and thought and mood.

My dad is safely in a memory care facility, but because it’s a building over from my stepmom, they are quarantined separately. Dad no longer speaks much, certainly not on the phone. So while my efforts to get him care are keeping him safe, it’s also like he’s on even more of another planet than usual.

I’m impressed with our flexibility to make this pivot; millions and millions of us suddenly working from home, taking care of our own kids. All day. Every day. Saving lives, as they say, by sitting on the couch.

Except I’m not sitting on the couch. I’m glued to my work screen, devastated that my kids are abandoned to their own screens, cooped up, denied their friends and play and adults who focus on them. Some days they’re barely attended to as my husband and I try to keep work going. In part it has to be done. Some of it is probably our own denial. How important could these non-essential work deadlines really be?

I cannot keep up. April was cancelled, and I was still working on getting my head around that when May and the first 2 weeks of June, the rest of the school year, were as good as pre-cancelled. I need at least 2 weeks before someone starts telling me Summer Camp is cancelled. If we need to do it for the health of our fellow citizens, we’ll do it. But please don’t tell me just yet.

Outside, for “essentials” like groceries and exercise, it’s a relief and a bit of a shock, nice weather and people are happy to distantly see each other, but wary too. Because there’s too much crowding, more and more is closed. Our park is open, but the rock is “closed for climbing.” The dogs want to say hi, and they can’t get it, but was that too close to the owner? Is this the shopping cart handle that will bring sickness on my family?

Of course the echos of the late 80s and 90s are undeniable for those who lived it. Do we know someone who has “it”? Are we being too cautious, too lax? Back then the stakes were higher, the mortality rate from AIDS well above 90% until the development of antiretrovirals. But you also had to put in a bit more effort to get it. Riding the bus, and parties, and support groups and hugs were all allowed, even if the shame and fear sometimes made those less desirable.

Wearing a mask in Safeway I feel like I’m from another planet, my breathing loud in my ears, my glasses fogging up. I’m doing it as much for the health of others as myself, but it feels rude. I want to keep us all safe, but don’t want to be the zealous one they all roll their eyes at.

Last night I sewed a cloth mask from the pattern in the Times. Pleased with my ingenuity. Concerned I might be losing my mind. I thought Jay was going to tease me about it, but instead he says masks may soon be required for outdoor activity. Can I make 3 more?

I pray you and yours are safe and healthy.

Postscript: I got a couple requests for mask patterns. Here’s the best pattern I’ve found so far