It is an absolutely beautiful day in Baltimore, and it sucks to have to spend most of it inside. Outside feels increasingly dangerous to me. I think it’s the new relatively new call to wear a mask when outside. It’s an acknowledgement that this virus is invisible and could be hanging in the air anywhere, that not even standing all by yourself on a street corner is guard against it. And the masks we’re told to make ourselves, out of cotton, maybe with a coffee or furnace filter stuck in there, will only stop a relatively small percentage of those viruses from getting in. Wear a mask, but not a mask that actually works, because those are (absolutely rightly!) for folks working directly with patients.
The mask is an acknowledgement that we are sick, and as much as I know we are–I know people with COVID-19 diagnoses, have students losing people they love to it, and I watch the news with a sense of empathy —seeing it is different. It reminds me a little of when I lost my hair during chemo. My wife found it incredibly difficult, because when she looked at me, I looked sick. I knew I was sick all the time, and so did she, but not being able to see it lets you distance yourself from it just a bit. Seeing me bald meant she couldn’t forget about it, even for a second. That distance is gone for me with COVID-19, again, as it should be, but I’m spending some time today feeling sad about it. Full range of human emotions every day over here.
So I hopped on my bike and took a short ride to get a little sunshine in. And I did. The sun felt great today on my bare legs, pedaling away, taking the lane, enjoying the almost-empty streets. There are so many fewer cars on the road, which feels great. The cars that are left are driving more wildly, so it’s kind of a push, but I prefer the lower number overall.
My main destination was Chesapeake Commons, a big apartment building in what used to be the City College. I miss my dear friend and work wife N. so much. I’m used to seeing her in person once a week, and now it has been so many weeks, and so many more stretch ahead of us. She and her husband B., who I also miss terribly, live in that window in the picture. I can’t go up and see them, but I can stand on the corner on the other side of the street, call her, and she’ll come to the window so we can sort of see each other while we talk. We also FaceTime, and the view is better there, but I miss HER. So I rode over, stared up, and said hello.
I can’t wait until we can toast each other with a 3:30pm drink on a Wednesday, because sometimes we have weeks like that.
I got home, did some work, had a video conference instead of an in-person check up with my oncologist, went to the grocery store, which was so stressful I had to take a walk after to calm down, and then came home to stay inside again, for a really long time. My sister called. She’d been out for a walk to socially distance with a friend. She said, it’s scary, and I miss my friends. Yep, me too. I miss my friends.
Two of my daily chatting friends live in the same neighborhood, and over the weekend, one of them walked with her kids to the other’s house and their families talked across the lawn. I live on the other side of the city from basically all of my friends, so this sounded like an impossible luxury. Perhaps one of these days I’ll bike to a colleague’s house and we can have a social distanced meeting.