Day 32

Today is day 32 of self-isolation for my partner and I.

My heart goes out to you and your communities, wherever you are physically, mentally, emotionally. I hope that you are safe and supported through these trying times.

We’ve been fortunate, so far. For me, adjusting to being at home all the time has been a relatively easy transition. As Ann Friedman so aptly put it in a recent episode of Call Your Girlfriend, I am embracing the fullest expression of my “indoor kid-ness.” Most of my favorite things are indoor activities, (cooking, reading, writing), so I try to stay focused on what makes me happy.

I was a surprised to realize that one of the little things I miss, more than I ever thought I would, is the simple act of buying a cup of coffee, most especially during our walks around the neighborhood.

Pre-pandemic, one of my favorite weekend activities was to pick a neighborhood somewhere in or around New York City to explore, preferably one we hadn’t spent much time in. We would go with no other objective but to stroll through, come what may. I would almost always pop into the first enticing coffee shop we happened upon, and buy myself a warm something or other to leisurely sip as we walked, talked, shopped, and absorbed the feel of the place.

My partner and I go on more walks now that we ever used to, technically. Every afternoon, weather permitting, we put on our masks and go out for a daily dose of fresh air and movement. While they are a much needed change of scenery, our walks are completely utilitarian. It’s just not the same, nor do I expect it to be. And yet, I find myself still craving a warm beverage to carry along with me.

It’s not even that the coffee is significantly better than what I make at home either. It’s the experience that I miss – the freedom, the agency, and the warmth of it.

Now, I know that I could still buy a cup of coffee from one of the few neighborhood shops that are miraculously still open. And I know that they’d be especially grateful for the business and the support. The trouble is that what used to be an easy, spontaneous comfort now inspires an endless loop of questions and considerations…

How would I sip my coffee while wearing a mask? Should I even be spending money on coffee? But shouldn’t I be supporting my local businesses? How does social distancing work in a coffee shop? What if I’m not careful enough or I do something wrong? What if I have the virus but I’m not showing symptoms? Am I threat to others?

I never do buy a cup of coffee.

And I can’t help but ask, “What else?” Once we move forward into whatever the new normal looks like, what else will be effected? Big and small, trivial and not, I have a feeling it’ll be much more than a cup of coffee.

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