Imagining the end of quarantine

My blog buddy Renata from Buffalo Sauce Everywhere invited people to write a post imagining what the first weekend after quarantine would be like … whenever that is. You can read her post here.

In the first scene of the London production of “Frankenstein,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, The Creature (played by Cumberbatch when we saw it online) emerges and flails around for several minutes, arms and legs going in a directions … alive, but not sure how to be alive.

That’s what this feels like.

After all, it has been a while.

Sure, we’ve been building to the end of quarantine, although signing up for the vaccine wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done (not that I thought it would be).

Things have been reopening in bits and pieces — I actually managed to get a haircut, although I waited a few more weeks after they said it was OK — but life without restrictions seems so … early 2020.

“What do you mean, we can go anywhere we want, with anyone we want, do anything we want? No more social distancing? No more masks?”

**Society, unable to cope, staggers around, bounces off walls.**

Of course, the problem with being able to do whatever you want is that you want to do everything right now.

But … priorities. Pickleball and the gym and games and hanging out with Mix and restaurants (although we really grew to like ordering takeout online) and just … whatever … can wait.

After all, neither of us have seen our parents for a long time.

So that’s what we’re doing.

The trip normally takes no more than a couple hours, but it takes about twice that. Let’s just say my relatively new understanding that I can only control what I do is severely tested.

Friday night

OK, we cheat just a little bit.

Although it has been weeks in the making, the official announcement about all restrictions being lifted doesn’t come until Friday morning, to take effect the next day.

A flurry of phone calls, emails and text messages between our home in Massachusetts, my in-laws in Connecticut and my parents in New York ensues, and Suzi and I pack our car, make sure Sasha has enough cat food and jump in our car that afternoon.

”There’s plenty of gas in the car, so we won’t have to stop. We’ll just drive straight to West Hartford, park in the garage and go in the house.”

Yeah … apparently we aren’t the only ones who have that brilliant idea.

The trip normally takes no more than a couple hours, but it takes about twice that. Let’s just say my relatively new understanding that I can only control what I do is severely tested.

But we make it. Suzi’s dad orders pizza and we settle in.

As we eat, we pass around the newspaper. It has become a shell of itself in recent years — a friend once compared it to the Weekly Reader we used to get in elementary school — but there’s lots of news about quarantine ending.

Saturday morning

For reasons I don’t know, Suzi’s father hates chocolate chip muffins.

I love chocolate chip muffins, so I always imagine him gritting his teeth when he goes to Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up our breakfast.

As we eat, we pass around the newspaper. It has become a shell of itself in recent years — a friend once compared it to the Weekly Reader we used to get in elementary school — but there’s lots of news about quarantine ending.

The people they quote seem optimistic, but somewhere between uncertain and nervous about what will happen.

Like last night, the conversation is about the usual topics: the Yankees and Red Sox (Suzi’s dad is a Yankees fan, but her mom roots for the Red Sox), politics, random other stuff that comes along.

A little after lunch, we load up the car again, give their cat Maxie one last pet and shove off to New York.

Sports are on TV, so we spend the afternoon watching that. Not many people are in the stands, and the announcers note that while it was hard for teams to turn around ticket sales that fast, they’re hoping things get back to normal soon.

Saturday afternoon/night

When I called my mother Friday, she said she would try to pull something together for dinner, and when my mother decides to pull something together, she doesn’t fool around.

By the time we walk in the door of my parents’ house and their cat Whisper hisses at us — awwww … how sweet … she hasn’t forgotten she hates our guts — she has contacted my brother, my grandmother, her uncle, a couple cousins, my aunt and my uncle and his wife and made reservations at a local diner for that night.

Sports are on TV, so we spend the afternoon watching that. Not many people are in the stands, and the announcers note that while it was hard for teams to turn around ticket sales that fast, they’re hoping things get back to normal soon.

My grandmother lives about five minutes from my parents, and doesn’t like driving at night, so we pick her up to take her to the restaurant.

As always, there are about six conversations going on at once, and my brother is cracking wise like normal. I eat my hot turkey sandwich and try to keep up with what everyone is saying.

Of course, there’s Yankees talk … lots and lots of it.

One of my cousins plans the family reunion every year, and he makes sure to let us know that in spite of everything, he’s doing it again as soon as he can make the arrangements.

After dinner, we drop Grandma off at her house, then chat with my parents a little longer before going to bed. Whenever we want to get up is fine, my mom says; she’ll make breakfast whenever we’re ready.

Breakfast is plentiful — French toast, scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, bacon — and I eat more than I probably should, like normal.

Sunday morning

Whisper is sitting in the middle of the living room floor until she sees us coming down the hall from my bedroom. She hisses. I say, “Whaaaaat?”

Hiss.

”Whaaaaat?”

Hiss.

”Whaaaaat?”

A very fruitful conversation, as you can tell.

Suzi tries to reason with her. It works about is well as normal, which is to say not at all. Now Whisper is hiding between the green recliner and the wall, no doubt dreaming of taking a hunk out of my ankle when I walk by.

Breakfast is plentiful — French toast, scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, bacon — and I eat more than I probably should, like normal.

My parents are into shows like “How It’s Made,” and even though I don’t watch it at home, it’s always interesting to see … well, how things are made.

After one last check to make sure we have everything, it’s time to go home.

Society appears to have its feet underneath it now. The Creature is talking. It has figured out how to be alive.

Driving home

If traffic isn’t too terrible, we can be home in roughly 3 1/2 hours.

We don’t get home in 3 1/2 hours.

As we’re sitting on the Mass Pike and I’m wondering once again how cars can be stopped on a highway with no red lights, I ask the question, “What if this isn’t real? What if we’re not on the other side yet? What if it comes back in a way this version of the vaccine can’t address?”

Society appears to have its feet underneath it now. The Creature is talking. It has figured out how to be alive.

Suzi mostly indulges my musings — she’s verrrrrry used to it — about hoping the people making the decision to lift all the restrictions did so in good faith, by doing calculations to make sure there’s as little risk as possible.

It’s not a call I would have wanted to make.

Nothing that happened over the weekend was out of the ordinary. It actually wasn’t all that different from when we visit both families over Thanksgiving weekend.

But how long ago did “not out of the ordinary” seem like it would never happen again? And how many people would give anything to have “not out of the ordinary” time with loved ones they’ve lost?

Sunday evening

Sasha’s happy to see us come in the door.

We unpack. Suzi calls her parents and I text my mother to let them know we’re home.

I grab all the dirty clothes and start laundry.

Nothing that happened over the weekend was out of the ordinary. It actually wasn’t all that different from when we visit both families over Thanksgiving weekend.

But how long ago did “not out of the ordinary” seem like it would never happen again? And how many people would give anything to have “not out of the ordinary” time with loved ones they’ve lost due to coronavirus?

Come dinnertime, I heat up leftovers, while Suzi makes herself a sandwich. And then she says the magic words …

… “Maybe we can start planning that trip to Switzerland.”

Now that I’ve answered Renata’s challenge, I get to do one of my own. Here are the people I’m challenging to share what their first post-quarantine weekend would look like.

Austin (The Return of the Modern Philosopher)

Savannah (Sunshine With Savannah)

Rosie (Rosie Culture)

Vee (Millennial Life Crisis)

Becky (Strikeouts + Sprinkles)

Paul (The Captain’s Speech)

Fizz (On The Fly)

Claudia (Do What You Love)

Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

 

27 thoughts on “Imagining the end of quarantine

    1. Hopefully around a corner and still not miles and miles away.

      What’s even worse about Whisper is that my parents both insists she likes everyone but us. Plus, she used to be my grandmother’s cat when we’d stay there, sometimes bringing our own cat Silly (he was diabetic, so he came with us), and she never gave us a hard time.

      I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

      Like

  1. Pingback: The week gone by — May 10 – A Silly Place

  2. Pingback: A touch of ‘normalcy’ – A Silly Place

  3. Pingback: Post-Quarantine Weekend – Strikeouts + Sprinkles

  4. Pingback: What Will You Do When Quarantine Is Over? – Rosie Culture

  5. Pingback: Imagining the end of lockdown – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

  6. Pingback: The week gone by — May 24 – A Silly Place

  7. Pingback: What we want now … and when it’s over – A Silly Place

  8. Pingback: Holiday 2020 days 1-3 – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas – A Silly Place

  9. Pingback: Holiday 2020 days 1-3 – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

  10. Pingback: Holiday 2020 days 4-6 – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

  11. Pingback: Holiday 2020 days 7-9 – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

  12. Pingback: The week gone by — Aug 9 – A Silly Place

  13. Pingback: Holiday 2020 days 10-12 – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

  14. Pingback: Holiday 2020 days 13-15 – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

  15. Pingback: Holiday 2020 days 16-17 – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

  16. Pingback: Holiday 2020 Roundup – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

  17. Pingback: Post-Lockdown Road Trip: The Reality – Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s