RAMONA ON CORONA……We Needed a Nor’easter Now?!

A humor series on navigating this difficult time

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

How much more can we take??!! Rampant fear now of the Covid variants, monstrous rants from Marjorie Taylor Greene!….Are these not enough of a blizzard?! And this week a Nor’easter has slammed us, especially those of us in the Nor’east. (Can anyone explain to me the need to drop those 2 letters and pronounce it like we have a dentist’s drill in our mouths?) 

Our round patio table, piled high with 24 inches of pristine snow, looks like a vanilla cake waiting to be slathered with chocolate frosting and topped off with rainbow sprinkles. I was tempted but I haven’t been out of the house in 3 days and I’m going for a record, trying to beat my friend Steve in the city who has not been out in a week. (I knew he had a rich interior life but hey, don’t you need milk?)

I’m beginning to feel there are just so many more weekends I can remain sane. Remember weekends, when they were differentiated from the work week? Now it’s all the same, but I must say I do get a knot in my stomach on Saturday mornings when I realize we have no social plans, only the challenge of what to do that might resemble living, not just passing time. At least Sunday has its built-in rituals, the thick New York Times, Jane Pauley, Jake Tapper and the tick, tick, tick, tick, tick of 60 MINUTES. Before we know it we find ourselves seamlessly sliding into Monday and around and around we go. 

Aren’t weekends meant for more? More family time? I mean the whole family including adult children and squeezable, huggable, dumpling-like grandchildren? If you are a grandparent you know what I’m talking about. The constant ache for your little ones who are learning to walk, talk and mess up your house. How I long for that mess! Face Time is a wonderful thing but it’s f-l-a-t and grandchildren are not flat! 

Indulge me for a moment. 

“I WANT MY LIFE BACK!!!!! I WANT MY FAMILY!!!! AND I WANT US ALL TO LIVE TOGETHER IN PEACE AND IN FLORIDA!!! I’M SICK OF WINTER!!!” I scream in my own head with the wind from the Nor’easter whipping so fiercely I can hardly hear myself.

K. and I hit a wall yesterday after 11 months, mostly in our home, just the two of us. We ran out of things to do and say. We sat on the two sofas flanking the fireplace, faced each other and stared into space, over each other’s shoulders. We were both tired of reading, tired of Netflix, tired of napping, tired of talking on the phone, tired of cleaning, Zooming and making shopping lists.

“Wanna go for ice cream?” K. asked.

“It’s too cold for ice cream,” I answered.

“Wanna get the oil changed in the car?” K. asked.

“That could be exciting,” I said.

“Well, we can’t go into stores,” K. said.

“Du-uh,” I answered.

“Wanna watch the 97.3% fat free ground round thaw?” he asked.

“You took it out of the freezer for tonight?” I asked.

“I’ve got your back,” he answered.

“Sure,” I said, my frozen heart melting. 

I made hamburger patties and turned the oven to BROIL. K. got the salad spinner and washed and dried the red leaf lettuce. I chopped a Vidalia onion, peeled a cucumber and diced a tomato. I’m getting to the exciting part. I boiled water for off-season corn on the cob that possibly came from somewhere in California, let’s hope not from L.A., the current Covid epicenter. 

We ate with Ken Jennings, the guest host of Jeopardy! Lovely fellow.

After dinner I continued my latest isolation-induced-self-improvement project, learning Spanish or more accurately, re-learning the two years of Spanish I took with Mr. Frieda in high school. I have a Berlitz Travel Spanish Phrase Book which I leaf through, encouraged by seeing some USEFUL EVERYDAY PHRASES I remember from my teenage years, “Hola!, Como esta usted? Me llamo es Ramona.” 

But It’s hard to maintain interest when I realize the travel restrictions imposed by Covid will drastically reduce the opportunity to employ my foreign language skills any time soon, maybe not until 2022! Enthusiasm for my espagnole adventure is significantly dampened, the Spanish I’ve committed to memory for my foreign trip, rendered useless for the foreseeable future.

  • Quiero denunciar el robo de una tarjeta de crédito. (I want to report a stolen credit card.)
  • Me han atacado. (I’ve been mugged.)
  • Podemos aparcar aqui la caravana? (Can we park the camper here?)
  • Soy alergico a los mariscos. (I’m allergic to shellfish.)
  • Ha perdido el conocimiento. (He’s passed out.)

With the abandonment of each isolation-induced-self-improvement goal, my need for chocolate increases exponentially. The candy store in town stocks all manner of things dipped in both milk and dark chocolate, pretzels, marshmallows, pecans, almonds, raisins, one more heavenly than the next. I go in masked, like a thief carrying out a chocolate heist with K., sitting outside, masked behind the wheel of the getaway car. 

My take is $18.97: 3 milk, 3 dark chocolate pretzels

 3 milk, 3 dark chocolate graham cracker cookies

 3 milk, 3 dark chocolate marshmallow squares

Do you ever have the following argument with yourself? 

 “I’m going to eat all of this.” That is a fact. Does it really matter if I eat all of it today or spread it out over the course of a week?

I vote for one large dose of happiness in the time of Covid because who knows what tomorrow may bring.