Ramona on Corona: Tips For Getting Through This

staying home

A humor piece on navigating this difficult time

Today I’m sharing a humor piece by my friend Pam Goldman. She told me she wrote this piece with this goal in mind: “I hope readers on our collective ‘forced staycation’ will get a break from the grind of keeping up with Corona, the depressing stats, the daily press conferences (ie. de facto Trump rallies), making bootleg hand sanitizer and worrying about how to safely take in the take out (wipe down cartons inside or outside?).”

The piece centers on Ramona, who tries to help… in her own way. Read on.

March uh, I think 26th or 27th (and I’m sure it’s either Friday or Saturday)

It’s 3:17 a.m. You up? My nightgown’s damp. This has happened the last few nights. I wonder if it’s Corona-caused. But it’s cold sweat so not from fever (right?). I was in bed after peeing, trying to get back to deep REM sleep for an hour when I gave up. My mind’s a fugue of, “Did I have a really vivid dream there was a pandemic?” Followed by, “Oy. No. It’s real.” Followed by a flash of dread in the pit of my stomach.

Have you noticed during the pandemic your husband’s a lot older than you thought he was? Truthfully, I’m not the only one in the marriage who colors her hair.

He’s looking a bit (a lot) older with grey hair. Not the pretty kind of grey hair you see on men accompanying women on Proleva commercials, rowing boats and strolling arm-in-arm through corn fields. I mean the dry, Brillo kind that makes you thirsty when you try to run your fingers through it.

But I love him. I think (or at least I hope) I’d love him even if he were bald. Not that I have the same gorgeous head of brunette hair I had when I was 23 — the gorgeous head of hair I fully expected to have 50 years later, even though they say everyone loses 100 hairs a day on a good day. No one, not even your dermatologist or your gynecologist will tell you as a young woman that not only will the hair on your head thin after menopause; you’ll also be losing eyelashes, eyebrows and even, perhaps, shall we say, other body hair.

There are remedies ladies and we all know what they are. People are frankly scalping us once we enter the Rogaine years ie. hair extensions, spray-on color, etc. I refuse to consume and have become one of those ladies you see on the bus who wears her hair in a ponytail. A very miniscule ponytail, the opposite of Barbie’s.

Or I wear a hat.

I’ve noticed (and tell me if you’re having a similar experience) that life is different when your husband/partner is home round the clock, as opposed to being away from you eight to 10 hours a day. I’ve learned that my husband is a much more inquisitive (read ‘dependent’) person than I had imagined. Questions to which he is sure I have the answers are followed by more questions throughout the day (and night).

  • Ramona, where are my slippers?
  • Ramona, what time is it?
  • Ramona, did you turn the heat down?
  • Ramona, what’s the weather?
  • Ramona, you want the bathroom first?

These are the ones he asks before I get out of bed. As the day continues he asks garden-variety questions about general living.

  • Where do we keep the can opener?
  • Does our refrigerator make ice?
  • Where are my gloves?
  • Do we keep extra paper towels in the basement?
  • Do we have more soap?
  • Where are the Q-Tips?
  • Do we have Clorox? (He wants to make his own sanitizer)

My friend Phyllis has the same problem with her husband. We’re going to make them a virtual playdate and they can ask each other questions.

His anxiety sometimes manifests in the form of declarative statements which are completely transparent.

  • You’ll thank me later for hoarding toilet paper.
  • Smart that I timed the InstaCart drop-off for when the chicken was still hot.
  • Lucky I got the last of the Dijon mustard and pistachio nuts at Stop ‘n Shop.
  • I’m still glad we’re not members of Costco.

He’s been working remotely in our little upstairs office. I’m on my laptop downstairs in the kitchen. We try to meet for lunch every day around one o’clock. It doesn’t accidentally-on-purpose work out every day. I feel a little guilty, but sometimes I turn him down for lunch. “Oh, sorry but I was starving and already scarfed down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” This move makes our 6 p.m. rendezvous in the kitchen for dinner all the more exciting.

Right now he’s helping cook dinner. By that I mean he’s washing and spinning dry the lettuce for salad. (“Ramona, where do we keep the salad spinner?”) I’m suffering with a trigger finger, the ring finger of my right hand, which limits my mobility. This may sound somewhat trivial during a pandemic but let me tell you, do not take any one of your fingers for granted. This finger locks in a bent position and it decides when it will unlock. Until then it is frozen, paralyzed. I’ve had two previous injections to correct this but did you ever notice doctors offer you what are really pre-surgery options that “may solve the problem” but usually don’t, before they tell you ‘surgery is our only option’?

I made a splint out of an emery board and tape to wear at night until the other crisis is over.

It’s 4:37 a.m. Back to bed (before the questions begin).

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