A humor series on navigating this difficult time
Today, for my Wake-Up Call newsletter (subscribe here!), I’m sharing another installment of a humor series from my friend Pam Goldman, centering on a woman named Ramona, who tries to help… in her own way.
I really need to get some sort of routine going for the duration of this new normal. I’m talking more structure, which is always touted as ‘a good thing’, right? I need to use myself in a more purposeful way during these days of wonder — wondering, that is, if we’ll escape Covid-19.
One thing I do religiously is exercise with my friend Marsha, who lives in New Jersey. We both happen to be in the Bermuda triangle of coronavirus (the densely populated tri-state area) and it’s comforting to walk together (apart) for 20 minutes a day on the phone at 10 a.m. each day as we bemoan the loss of the old normal. Ironically we see each other more than before the pandemic. (The advantage is now we avoid the Lincoln Tunnel).
Actually I’ve never been busier virtually. I have a FaceTime date with my friend Sandy this afternoon. On Friday nights, K. and I have a standing (seated) “cocktail party” on Zoom with a group of dear friends. (When I tire of Zoom-ing and ask K. if we can go home he replies, “We are home.” And I remember…) My sister wanted to play virtual Scrabble this week but I don’t have an open slot. We may need our own version of OpenTable (CLOSED TABLE?) so people can make reservations.
I haven’t worn makeup in two months and when I see myself in the mirror I honestly think “Not as bad as I expected.” Granted, not as good as Alicia Keys without makeup, but hey, different age demographic. In these oxymoronic times (amazingly awful, deafeningly silent, alone together) I am stunningly unkempt. But I must admit, on Zoom, the me I see reflected, unflattering lighting aside, is reminiscent of Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
However, in defense of flat screen socialization, it may well be the wave of the future. It certainly meets important criteria for K. and me… A) We like staying home (well, maybe not so much after this). B) we don’t like changing out of our sweats. C) We hate noisy restaurants. D) We resent paying astronomical prices for eh food.
When it’s just the two of us at home it’s perfect. We’ve been together long enough to feel alone even when we’re together. Right? No pressure to extrapolate on the day’s op-ed articles. No witty retort necessary to top a wry comment. No awkward pauses. It’s all pauses. Comfy. Quiet. Peaceful.
Hmmmmm……Could this be boring?
No no no no no. Never boring. It’s marriage. After all, who can expect to sustain scintillating, erudite, compelling, informative, urbane conversation over a 34-year period? Maybe Elizabeth Taylor but then you have to factor in her five marriages.
You know how we all have that little voice in our heads that speaks to us non-stop as we go about our lives? Well, my inner voice has suddenly gone radio silent. I thought I was interesting enough to keep myself interested forever. I was wrong. My non-fiction inner monologue has ceased and I’m thinking of trying my hand (er, head) at fiction. Maybe my head voice can stream psychically in different genres ie. Historical fiction, mysteries, sci-fi, chick lit?
I’ve had “Our Town” kinds of thoughts lately about my parents who are long gone. I imagine what they would think of this world if they came back for a day. Would they call it progress to use a cell phone to do business, connect with friends, visit relatives on the other side of the country? Would they wonder if stooping over and text messaging with our thumbs incessantly was good for our posture? Would they accept a reality television personality/ founder of a fraudulent online university as president of the United States? I don’t think so.
I wonder what Walter Cronkite, the gold standard for no B.S., would think.
I also wonder what Michael Cohen, still in prison, must be thinking. “See! How do you like it! Being cooped up all day and night, no freedom, no contact with the outside world, the same gruel* (*see recipe below) over and over and no visits from your loved ones. Wash, rinse, repeat. One Ground Hog Day after another.
We may all be taking the rap for Trump because he delayed the truth and denied action, fueled by an insatiable ego and an errant economy. The guy’s given stable geniuses a bad name.
I guess my inner voice has awakened. Go ahead. I’m all ears.
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
Boil one cup water. Separately, drip water on flour and salt until it makes a paste. Add the paste to the boiling water. Stir to a semi-fluid consistency. Strain to eliminate film. Serve warm.
Top with Cool Whip if you need a pick-me-up. If that won’t do try coffee Haagen Dazs ice cream drizzled with with Hershey’s chocolate sauce. The best.
Pam Goldman is a writer, therapist, wife, mother and (young) grandmother. Her work has been published in The New York Times and VIVA Magazine. She is completing her first book, titled LEFT.
This originally appeared on Medium.com