It didn’t feel any different than any other Sunday. We got up, husband made a more-elaborate breakfast than most days, while I had to get my daughter up and my son off the Xbox to eat. I started the laundry while the kids grudgingly did their weekly chores. Then I sat on the couch with the dog napping at my side, reading. It was not an unusual Sunday morning. Not really.
We didn’t start the renewal process on my son’s passport before this all happened, and now it’s unclear when it will be able to get processed, so even when this is all over, we might not be able to go to Canada to visit family. If Canada will even still let us in. Sometimes, in my more paranoid moments, I imagine driving up to the boarder with all of our papers proving Canadian birthright citizenship, that our kids are our kids and claiming, I don’t know, refugee status? I’m privileged enough (obviously) that I have no idea how any of these things work, and I am hoping that I never have to find out.
I’m back to reading dystopian novel, science fiction, after a long spell of only reading memoirs. I need the surreality of imagined and alternate pasts and futures, not grim reminders of a n0-longer-existant recent present. While the authors wrote these future fictions perhaps imagining this version of our present-day, it is more of a comfort to read than authors who did not, could not forsee this moment. And I can’t blame them; I didn’t, either. So maybe it’s a comfort to read people who imagined otherwise, to try and glean whatever insight they had that we didn’t.
Conference after conference are canceled, and I laugh at the bitter irony that when we are allowed to travel again, our budgets will have been so decimated that we will be unable to go to any conferences anyway. These are #firstworldproblems and I am grateful I still have a job, my husband still has a job, we have food, we have family, we have our health, we can pay our bills and then some. We can buy my son an iPad because we find out he has to do some of his schooling synchronously, daily, and despite all of the devices we already have, we don’t have enough for four people to do school and work all at once.
Any retirement savings have been destroyed by the stock market crashing, we will be working until we die, as long as there is work to be had. Our kids will carry on with their educations, as long as there is school to attend. My son still talks about what he’s going to do when he goes to college, how he still plans to get his PhD in bugs. My daughter is realizing that anything she wants to do is probably fiancially unsustainable, even before all of this, and my heart breaks for her already limited future at not-even-13.
It’s Sunday, and yesterday, in response to news that people are still planning, still being “required” to attend their megachurch services today, I tweet: Stay home. God will understand, even if your pastor doesn’t.” I understand wanting to find comfort in community, but this…this is just irresponsible. I miss my community more than anything, my community of swimmers, my community of colleagues, my community of friends. If I were a religious person, I have to believe that my community with Him could withstand this distance, in the same way my various other communities are.
I write instead. I am rediscovering my community, my communion with words. The words have limited shape and meaning still, but they are building. There can be community in solitude. Think of it that way instead of isolation.