Ramona on Corona: Hitting a Wall

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.

If you’re new to this series: Here’s the previous installment. Read on.

Here’s how I’m feeling: !@#$%^&*X+_)(*&^%$#@#$%^&*()_+*&*%$!!! ENUF!!!!!!!!! I have HAD IT!!!!!!! TRIPLE GRARUMMMMMPH!!! I am trying hard not to use bad language!!!!!!!

And you? If you have been quarantining at home for most of March, April, May, June and July and haven’t yet hit a wall, call me. I need your secret. This hamster wheel life is really getting to me. I have complied, worn my mask, social distanced, washed my hands, put on gloves, disinfected my husband, myself and everything else in sight, which has enabled me to do… almost nothing!

I dust, mop, vacuum, bake, broil, braise, BBQ, thaw, microwave. I have FaceTime with my granddaughters (daily), Zoom Reunions with the Jonathan Dayton Regional High School Class of 1964 (monthly), exercise in the living room with Alexa blasting “YMCA”, “The Macarena” and “I Will Survive” (sporadically).

I have eaten a ton during this crisis. But try as I might to burn off my corona calories, I confess I have not emulated friends who take three or four Zoom classes a week to improve their BMIs. The only thing I’ve managed to lose is my mind! Discipline, Ramona! Where is your discipline? And yet it amazes me that the days fly. It seems every time I look up at the clock it’s 5pm.

And before I can say Ihatecoronavirus my husband K. and I have The Dinner Talk. He lopes around the kitchen on the hunt for snacks, opening and closing the refrigerator door and every cabinet door, looking depressed, like one of those poor starving puppies in the t.v. appeals for animals suffering from food insecurity.

“You hungry?” I ask, patting his head.

“No. Just browsing,” he answers— or rather, growls.

Hmmmm. I have a pound of ground round in the freezer. It looks like the Titanic iceberg but maybe I can thaw it pronto in the microwave and make “fresh” (wink wink) burgers. Knowing Sherlock, he’ll never buy it. He’ll detect they went through a “process” and call me out on it.

What a world! What an unfunny time. How can I find humor? HELP ME! Please send jokes! Where is Jerry Seinfeld when I need him? Actually I know (well, assume) where he is. He’s home in his very large apartment overlooking very green Central Park. All that square footage and height and even Seinfeld is unable to wax comedic on this.

The experts offer myriad coping strategies during this time:

  • Eat, sleep, exercise.
  • Connect with family, friends, faith leaders, pets.
  • Engage intellectually.
  • Take up scrapbooking (not).
  • Write a humor series online (hmmmm).

May I immodestly share with you that some readers have said I remind them of Erma Bombeck? And that’s okay. It really is, I swear. But can I share something? I would like to be more Nora Ephron. She hit the perfect tone of, “I’m just like you, dear reader, except that I am brilliant and direct Hollywood movies and win Oscars.”

Other than that she and I could be twins.

She was the best. I was lucky enough to sort of know her in a sort of friend kind of way years ago. (If I can’t name drop in a pandemic, when can I?) She had dinner parties and we were invited I think more as space fillers than because we were witty literati and famous like most of her other guests. (Though I did come up with a bon mot myself every course or two.)

FYI: If you’re a millennial, way back in the ‘70s and ‘80s [19s] we had things called “dinner parties” in our homes which were reciprocal social gatherings with food you made yourself so when guests said, “This is so delicious” and asked if you made the food yourself you could lie and say yes, even though your caterer left five minutes before they arrived. Frankly I am so over dinner parties. Sooo much sweat and toil. Be happy you guys hang out and order from GrubHub.

However, Nora was a great cook and did make everything herself. I love when someone can be brilliant in more than one genre. I think the whole world could use Nora now. I know I could.

It was grey and dreary just a few minutes ago. Then things changed for the opposite of better. It started raining. Then pouring. Then a minute ago, the sun appeared and bathed everything in brightness. You could almost say cheeriness. I even felt cheery for a second or two. And then the clouds reappeared, covering everything in darkness.

But I’m sure the sun is behind the clouds waiting for them to pass, just like the rest of us. And when they do, the sun will shine brilliantly once again on this, the best of all possible worlds, still.

The darkness will disappear. And the humans will be happy.

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.