Ramona on Corona: Washing Fruit

washing fruit

A humor series on navigating this difficult time

Today, for my Wake-Up Call newsletter (subscribe here!), I’m sharing the third 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 part one, and here’s part two. Read on.

April 9, 2020

It’s probably Thursday. Maybe Friday. I told my sister I could use days of the week underwear for my birthday. She’s looking on Amazon. I don’t even know how many days into this we even are anymore. (Is that even a sentence?) I wake every day hoping it’s all been one of those dreams that you tell your spouse or best friend about — that has so many vivid details they wish you would tell someone else. This is truly a nightmare. And a daymare. And a nightmare. And a daymare…

K. went out this morning wearing gloves and a scarf over his face. He hoarded for two hours and $350 at Stop & Shop. I awaited his delivery wearing gloves and a retro-fitted Pampers face mask (shout out to my baby granddaughter☺). K. handed me the items one by one at the door, where I Clorox wiped four Jumbo Dark Chocolate Hershey bars (healthy!), six boxes of family-sized Raisin Bran (26 grams of sugar but we don’t drink or smoke), six bags of frozen veggies, five boxes of pasta, nine giant cans of marinara sauce, 11 jars of peanut butter and two pallets of toilet paper.

I washed the apples, oranges, lemons, zucchini, avocados and bananas in the kitchen sink with soap and water. It was a daunting job and I started feeling woozy as I dried them with a towel individually, imagining as I did that each zucchini or banana was wearing its own little hooded terry robe. Whoa. Get a (hand-sanitized) grip girl.

Of course I didn’t want to put the newly disinfected items on the refrigerator shelves before disinfecting them. And I didn’t want to open the refrigerator door before disinfecting the door handles, an extremely “high touch” area in our house.

Mission accomplished, I washed my hands, thumbs, in between fingers and under nails, singing “Happy Birthday” twice and using the name Jon Hamm at the end, as if he was a close friend, just to lift my spirits.

I decided to follow up with the Purell pump because of that homily you see on signs outside some churches: DO THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN NO ONE’S LOOKING. I hate that sign.

After scrubbing for an hour like my life depended on it… hmmm… my eyes began burning. I wondered if the disinfectant itself might cause harm. I had no answer. When I found myself wiping down the wipe in my right hand with the wipe in my left hand I took a nap.

When I woke I cooked three fresh dinners from scratch — chicken, meatballs and salmon and froze them. I freeze everything. I will freeze K. if this goes on much longer.

I find I am in a dangerous place and I have only myself to blame. K. is beginning to think I can cook. I fear he’ll expect home-cooking post-pandemic. NOT. On the other hand he’s come to appreciate frozen pizza. He sometimes calls me from his upstairs office and orders take-out. Fool that I am, I deliver upstairs wearing diaper-mask and gloves.

I’ve tried to give you a respite from you-know-who (hint: he who lacks empathy), but seriously, is he not THE WIZARD OF OZ? With all the behind-the-scenes machinations taking place before the corona curtain was pulled back? Surrounded by his cadre of mini-munchkins? Take pious Pence, for example. Why doesn’t he just enter a Franciscan order already? Friar Pence, right? Can you not picture him? Long, brown robe, a length of rope tied loosely at the waist, a yarmulke-like beanie on his head, hands clasped heavenward in prayer? And Dr. Birx, such a lovely woman (such a scarf wardrobe!) But could someone gently remind her to change her outfit after the Bar Mitzvah and before the press conference?

When I woke this morning I lay in bed, thoughts swirling, wondering why it is that our hearts are more fully open when our doors are forcefully closed. Right? I’ve reached out to check on old college friends, people I worked with in the last century, cousins I grew up with in New Jersey who remember my parents when they were in their prime. Who else in the world is left to share memories of my David Niven-handsome dad, (“Uncle Al” to them), the life of the party, navigating his rider mower across our postage stamp yard, grinning under his signature pencil-thin mustache? Or my mother, “Aunt Daisy”, Gene Tierney-movie-star beautiful and as sweet as her fabulous Passover noodle kugel?

I find my heart full to bursting within these corona confines.

Are you surprised with all that’s going on that you have room to pray for CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Amy Klobuchar’s husband, John, actress Ali Wentworth (aka Mrs. George Stephanopoulos) or your friend’s friend’s husband? And does it take a pandemic to trust that your neighbor isn’t the enemy? That the kid who delivers your groceries isn’t suspect but heroic? That doctors and nurses and cleaning staff at hospitals are our lifelines?

Didn’t we always know we’d be there for each other if it ever came to this? We just never thought it would ever come to this. Corny as it sounds, we are family.

Now close your eyes and imagine I’m hugging you with my words. Because I am.

I’ll close mine and imagine you’re hugging me back when you read them. Because you are.

Onward together.

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