Today is officially the start of month three in quarantine. Or social distancing, or isolation, or whatever you want to call it. After we received our antibody tests and found we were negative for the antibodies and the active (bodies?) we headed to my parents house to isolate there for two weeks. Unfortunately, I found out our test was not FDA approved and not very accurate and I still feel convinced we had it early March. I am in no rush to give more blood to be tested though, as I had to give 24 tubes for my endocrinologist to test a bunch of different stuff last week, but that’s another story.
So we were in the suburbs of New Jersey for two weeks, and let me tell you, it was glorious. Yes, by the end, I really missed our apartment. I missed our Queen size bed. (Dave accidentally kicked Ellie off the bed we were sleeping in in New Jersey and she rolled of in comical slow motion). I missed all my shoes (literally I only brought home one pair of sneakers), I missed our shower. Just silly stuff, but obviously it adds up. Let me tell you what I didn’t miss. NYC. I always have had a love/hate relationship with NYC. I grew up going to the city (as people from the Northeast-or maybe just New Jersey) call it occasionally. Whether it was for a nice meal, show tickets, to see someone who came in from out of town. And then I started working here after college. And then I moved to Brooklyn for law school. And then I finally moved into my apartment in Manhattan last October. And it was fine. Some days. Other days felt impossible. I hated the subway so much and had so much anxiety I would walk 4 or 5 miles to avoid getting on it. Some days I was so anxious about walking around Brooklyn at night by myself (leaving the library to walk 2 blocks home) I didn’t go to the library. And since moving to Manhattan, especially where we are, it’s not the nicest outside and I would avoid going outside altogether.
Since the pandemic started, the usual hustle and bustle of our avenue, which is usually filled with people at restaurants and coffee shops and walking their dogs etc. (we’re on a corner) has disappeared. All that was left was groups of homeless men and shut businesses. It became impossible for me to go out for a walk or run without getting whistled at and I became increasingly afraid. I was walking like 400 steps a day in the apartment and I was miserable. They also shut our roof, which meant that I had nowhere to be outside. Also, this was March/April in the tri state area and it was still fairly cold. I didn’t necessarily want to be outside, but I felt trapped in the apartment.
We’ve been back in the city for three days now, and it’s mid May, and I find the frustrations different. Saturday was an insanely busy day as we were just getting back and both had video calls with friends etc. We were able to get a grocery delivery that afternoon, which showed me a sign of a return to normalcy. We were able to order from Just Salad for lunch, which showed me they had reopened (at least by us) which was a sign of a return to normalcy. Sunday, I went for a walk and Dave went for a run, and we met up and were able to pick up Starbucks on the way home. A return to normalcy.
I’m not saying they should be opening everything at all. I don’t feel ready (and nor should you) to go eat in a restaurant, or get my nails done (even though I’m dying to). I don’t even know if I feel ready to go to physical therapy in person tonight v. telehealth which I have been doing the last two months. I think everywhere, although especially NYC, need to be smart about reopening, and not rush into it or we will end up in the same situation as before. The fact that things are slowly starting to reopen and we will hopefully return to normalcy when we are ready is exciting though.
However, on my long list of things I missed, NYC was not one of them. I grew up in the suburbs, but always imagined a life in NYC. Now that I am living it, especially through a pandemic, I see the appeal in not living here forever (or anymore, or after our lease is up in October). Now that I’m back in the city, I miss driving, I miss grass, I miss being able to go for a walk in a neighborhood with a mask on my neck and only pull it up if I need to. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Two apartments on our floor have emptied in the last two month because leases were up and people didn’t want to renew. Obviously they could have been going to another apartment, but in my head, they feel the way I do and are done living in the city, especially through a pandemic.
My office has advised me that we will not fully be back in the office until 2021. There will be phases of people returning slowly. Masks will be worn, temperatures will be taken. There will be no food services. There will be people working from home permanently, as they now see we can do that successfully.
How does this make me feel? Fine. I feel truly neutral about it. I have no interest in taking public transportation right now to cross state lines. I feel lucky it didn’t ignite deeper anxiety in me. So I guess I feel good and happy that my office is being smarter than the average republican state in America.
What is bothering me right now is lack of summer. Look, like I said, I am fully onboard will slow reopening and extra precautions. But it doesn’t mean I’m not human. I’m annoyed that I’m basically missing my golden birthday (26 on the 26th of June). I mean I obviously will still celebrate with Dave. But I had imagined a rooftop party with friends and a gold dress. I’m annoyed we won’t be able to go to the beach (easily at least).
These are just all the thoughts I am having while we’re entering month three of quarantine I guess. If it was up to me, I would rent a house down the beach and work there until I had to go back to work. I am craving no longer to be in a concrete jungle, but somewhere I find peaceful and calming instead of anxiety inducing.