SUNDAY, MAY 3
OMG! Have we really been in isolation for 50 days? It seems incomprehensible. . .but it’s true. Count them. . .50! As I look at the evolution of information, ideas, and emotions during this time—the highs and lows of it all, I feel proud of Gary and me. We have always loved each other. . .and better yet, have typically liked and respected each other. . .but who knew what a 24-hour-a-day exclusivity would bring to our relationship? None of us was meant to be together without a break in the pattern for 24-hours a day. . .for 50 days and counting!
As we begin week 8 of sheltering at home, I am aware that after a few false starts, we have found our stride. We have always been inner-dependent within our interdependence as a couple. Gary had his job, his garden, his friends, his reading material (magazines, short nonfiction), and interests (his focus upon sports is definitely not shared by me; my obsession with crossword puzzles and board games, not shared by him), and long distant walking; I had my job, my friends, my reading material (detective novels), swimming, writing, etc. And then, we have had shared interests: family, mutual friends, hiking, cooking, restaurants, music, art, travel, and what have you. We have for the last 30 years (ever since our boys left home) met every night by whatever fireplace (indoor or outdoor) the weather permitted, to drink a little wine, eat our dinner and share our insights of the day. But now, without all the filler in between, I wondered if it would be enough. What would we talk about now that there was less external stimulus? Would anxiety get in the way of enjoyment? Would we get tired of the same old, same old? Would the stress of insecurity and uncertainty about the future sour the experience of now?
Well, I’m happy to report that we are alive and well and actually kind of enjoying this time of reliance upon one another. We have not tired of each other. . .while still being tired of the underlying need for exclusivity. We still spend much of our time in our own spaces, doing our own thing, and while the choices for both space and activity being more limited can be challenging, we are just as happy to be together when we meet each evening.
Although we are aware that we’ll be happy when doors open, and we can go out or have friends in, choose to go to restaurants, run errands, walk on the beach, and the myriad of other tiny niceties inherent in the concept of freedom, we are also aware that in this strange new world of dos and don’ts, of seclusion, we still have each other. I have never been more thankful than I am now for this special man who has been my partner in everything that was and is good in my life.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 6
The beaches in Laguna Beach have reopened! In celebration, we arose at 6:30 a.m. thismorning, not really our usual fare during these days of less than non-existent plans, had a fewsips of coffee, and were on our way, hats on unruly hair, sunglasses perched upon our noses, bandannas tied loosely around our necks to serve as masks, should they be needed, flip flops on our feet. Thalia Street beach, here we come. Although, I hate to admit it, although we used to go to the beach every weekend in younger days, we hadn’t been there in several years. Regardless of that, this morning we felt compelled to revisit this formerly much loved place.
As we walked down Anita Street and crossed over to Thalia, we were imagining the beach as a quiet place, free of people (nobody would actually be out at this hour!), waves breaking to smash upon the wide, white beach just for our personal enjoyment. As we walked down the small stretch of Thalia, between the Coast Highway and the beach stairs, we got a bit of an inkling that our fantasy was not to be. We peered over the stairway, (no apparent sign telling whether these stairs were for entry or egress), to discover the ocean of our dreams. . .spotted with surfers, perhaps 75 to 100 of them bobbing up and down on their boards, waiting for the perfect wave. We forged ahead down the stairs to the beach. On the beach were the other 50 surfers, joined by swimmers, joggers, walkers, parents who were getting their children out to play in the sand, looky-loos, and what have you. . . and to make matters worse, it was high tide, which created less space for moving about on the sand.
It was at the bottom of the stairway, that we found the sign. . .telling us that this stairway was for beach entry only! Oh, Oh. . .trapped! We started up the beach to find the next exit stairway, making our way around the crowd of surfers who appeared to be just standing and watching the water. What are they looking for. . .just get in. . .and out of our way! Don’t these people know that there is to be no loitering? There was no apparent notice of social distancing between them, either. . .in fact, they were a mini-crowd unto themselves!
For more, read the full DIARY OF A WORLD PANDEMIC Part II & Part III
Submitted by C. L. Smythe, Orange County – Laguna Beach.