If we were having coffee…it wouldn’t be in person because we are under a Stay at Home order due to the Coronavirus so we would have to meet online. It would take us a minute to get connected because we’re not super savvy with technology and would have to figure out how to navigate ZOOM or Hangouts which would probably involve a password or two and, well, we know how that goes. When our makeup free faces finally did pop up on our screens, we would squeal with delight not just because we figured out how to hook up virtually but because we’re so happy to see each other. We would laugh at how we used to complain about technology and now we are clinging to it for dear life because it’s the only thing that keeps us connected to the outside world. We would joke about how many days it had been since we washed our oily hair and then we would admit that sometimes we stayed in our pajamas all day.
If we were having coffee…our conversation would be saturated with new terms that have become a part of our everyday lives like droplet transmission, self-quarantine, PPE, essential activities, mitigation, community transmission and Novel Coronavirus. We would wonder how our world could have transformed overnight into something so unrecognizable and how we were doing our best to adapt to ever changing circumstances and new information being hurled at us in every direction on a daily basis. Over and over we would shake our heads and repeat phrases like, “Did you ever think something like this could happen?” and “Can you believe we are living in the middle of a global pandemic?” We would comment on this new world we find ourselves living in and try to make sense of it, noting how drastically our priorities have shifted along the way. But we wouldn’t dig too deep into that conversation because right now we’re simply treading water, trying to stay afloat in a sea of uncertainty.
If we were having coffee…we would talk about how grateful we are to be able to stay at home and do our part to try and flatten the curve and we would understand how very fortunate we are to be able to do so. We would agree for the most part that we are happy to be at home, and feel safe there, but we would also recognize the different emotions we have been experiencing over the last few weeks that we have been in isolation. We would reveal that we have felt scared, helpless, afraid, depressed, angry, uncertain, frustrated, confused and hopeful sometimes all within the span of a single afternoon. We would worry about how people are coping and discuss measures we’re taking to protect our own mental health. I would tell you I go for walks in my neighborhood and before you could say anything, I would assure you I have been practicing physical distancing keeping six feet apart from people by zig zagging back and forth across the street. I would mention that while some people wave and smile back at me, others glare and how I have no idea what that’s all about, but I keep smiling and waving anyway. We would agree they are probably anxious and admit we are too. Then you would remind me the CDC recommends everyone wear a face mask out in public and I would realize smiles were one more thing we lost to the Pandemic of 2020.
If we were having coffee…we would discuss which friendships we think will survive being in quarantine and which will ones need proximity to survive. I would tell you how many friends I have already had to social media distance myself from and we would laugh about it momentarily, knowing there is nothing funny about losing friendships but also recognizing many friendships won’t endure what lies ahead. Then I would take a moment and thank you for being one of my people. We would talk about how much we appreciate those on the front lines and how frightening it must be to be a healthcare worker in this day and age and how no one could have predicted that restaurant and grocery store employees would become instant heroes and how much we rely on them for our survival. We would debate whether it is necessary to disinfect our groceries after they had been delivered and to what degree and then we would talk about how ridiculous it was that everyone hoarded toilet paper and how that became its own epidemic. We would express our admiration for Dr. Fauci and what a comfort he has been during these unpredictable weeks and go so far as to say he has been the father figure we have so desperately needed to help us cope with this nightmare. While we would feel confident the handshake will eventually make a comeback, we are certain Anthony Fauci is a national treasure and when this is all said and done, there needs to be a statue of him in every State Capitol. And we would promise to make that happen.
If we were having coffee…we would joke that we have stayed inside for so long that we are going to shrivel up like those kids in that book Flowers in the Attic and that would remind me how much I miss the library. We wouldn’t reminisce about the places we can’t go anymore because there isn’t any point. We know how important it is that we stay at home right now to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Especially with the lack of testing available. But we wouldn’t even go there because we have already consciously distanced ourselves from the anger we feel about it and know how negativity can be detrimental to our health and well-being especially when we are in isolation. Instead, we would talk about what shows we are binge watching on Netflix and give each other our recommendations. We would have both purchased Contagion online and watched it multiple times. We would agree that movie seems to provide the clearest picture of what we are experiencing in our world right now. We would wonder if the kids from This Is Us will be all grown up by the time they are allowed to go back to filming and speculate about what series we may never see again. We would marvel at how quickly the Coronavirus was incorporated into commercials but we might also be slightly skeptical that social distancing was actually practiced while those commercials were being filmed.
If we were having coffee…I would confess that the reason I haven’t reached out to you sooner is because I’m scared. I would tell you that I’m not as afraid of getting the virus as I am about losing loved ones to it. I would tell you how frightened I am to be living so far away from my parents and my children and that I am terrified of the thought that people I love could die alone. I would also admit that I have been going through a mourning period lately and how heartbroken I have been that I never got a chance to say goodbye to the world that used to be because everything changed so quickly. Tears would fill my eyes because the life we knew no longer exists. I would assure you that in my heart I know it won’t be like this forever, but I also know when we do emerge on the other side of this, things will look very differently because every single person will have been affected by the Coronavirus, even the ones one don’t get sick. Then we would take a sip of our coffee and share a moment of silence, acknowledging our world will never be the same.
If we were having coffee…we would consider that while we may currently be living in very dark times, we would also notice there is a glimmer of light shining through all that darkness and that gives us hope that in the end we will be okay. That light that is shining on us right now is creativity and the world is absolutely bursting with it. From Italians singing to teddy bear scavenger hunts and hearts in windows to sports alternatives to families creating incredibly entertaining You Tube videos and everything in between, people have been sharing creative ways to cope and we have enjoyed watching every minute of it on our computer screens. We would express our faith that all this creativity will be used in innovative ways to lead us into our future and define the new world we will be embracing. And maybe when the destruction of this pandemic settles, we will look back on this time and realize we truly did work together to get through it all.
If we were having coffee…the economic uncertainty we both face would make us mindful that our free forty minutes on ZOOM were almost up. We would tell each other how thankful we are to have been able to spend this time together and vow to never again doubt the awesome benefits of technology. We would remind each other to be sure we had written down our passwords so we can do this again while assuring each other that one day, hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will have coffee again in person.
And when we do, I can’t wait to give you a great, big hug.