Plague Days: Making Do

Last night I finally hit a moment in all of this where I just felt really sad and really tired. Not physically tired (although I was that as well), but soul-tired. Exhausted from the media bursts, exhausted from all of my underlying fretting and worrying, exhausted from missing regular life.

What toppled me over that precipice was a random video I stumbled across on Twitter, of someone up on a balcony somewhere playing good old New Orleans jazz clarinet out over an empty French Quarter street. I can’t even pinpoint what it was specifically that made me cry, but it did.

Then I snuggled into my nest on the couch, watched Star Trek, and had a good night’s sleep, so I’m feeling better today.

And that’s just it, I always end up feeling better. I’m human and prone to despair just like the next guy, but I have this innate switch built in that lifts me up again. I’ve named it “Resilience” and I’ve had to flip that switch quite a number of times in my life.

Nevertheless. It got me thinking about the fear roiling around out there in the world, bubbling up in each and every one of us. Fear for ourselves (J had a cold last week and we were convinced he was dying – it was just a cold); fear for our loved ones (compromised family members and friends; and even for our pets because going to the vet is also a debacle nowadays); fear for our future (whether it’s keeping our home, keeping our jobs, or if we’re ever going to feel safe hugging our best friend again); fear of our government (I mean, seriously…); or fear for our freedom (are we trapped in our houses forever or what)…it’s all over the place.

So what do we do about that? My “Resilience” switch doesn’t let me wallow for very long. I have a good cry and then I dust myself off and I keep going. This homebound time forces us to slow down; maybe to appreciate the things that you usually careen past on your way to work or to the bar or to wherever it was that we used to be able to go. Nowadays, the things I notice fully are the ones that have always been right in front of me: I have an awesome husband that it doesn’t suck to be locked up with; I have a dog who saturates me with her cuteness; I have an awesome dad who we facetimed with yesterday for his birthday; I have a new vegetable garden that relies on my care and brings me the solace of tending to all of these sprouting new little lives; I have a family of Bluejays who squawk at me every morning when I come out to the porch to drink my coffee – they’re in perpetual motion picking only the finest sticks for the nest they’re working on (see, everyone has home projects).

I could go on, I’m sure. There are these weird pockets of joy that infiltrate my time in this new virus-world. Ups and downs. Last Sunday I was tending to my indoor herb garden, blaring Rusted Root and bellydancing in the kitchen; last night I was crying over footage of my empty city. It is what it is. Ups and downs.

My belief is that we all need to flip our “Resilience” switches On while we wait out the time in our respective forts. I believe in Making Do. Whether it’s self care; or something fun for your household; or tapping into creative time; or extending yourself in some way to help others. I only have a handful of images surrounding this right now, all of Making Do to honor traditions in whatever way we could; or to keep some sense of normalcy and some feeling of connection to our friends in their own forts. As in:

Making do for St. Patrick’s Day:

March 17, 2020. We got home from work and I realized we actually had beer and green food coloring in the house. So I insisted we do this. (We never even DRINK green beer for St. Pat’s during normal times. But, it was what we had, so that’s what we did.)

And making do for J’s birthday:

We had funky bananas in the house, which meant fresh banana bread. So I made fresh banana bread with homemade butter for J’s birthday. That candle was from my birthday a couple of years ago, so we put it on top, and crossed our eyes to make two 4s.
I did manage to get my hands on a cake mix though. That following weekend, Infamaus came down to have his celebration with us of J’s birthday. Where we normally would have gone out to lunch together somewhere, this time we stayed home, grilled steaks, and made an actual cake.

And making do with our Tuesday night game group:

There are usually 6 of us crowded around a table with our food and drinks and stuff. Now, it’s Zoom. (Thank the gods for Zoom.)

And that is what making do is all about, Charlie Brown.

Next time – final past-tense downtown shots before I have to go back down there on Monday.

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