Michiana Chronicles: COVID Changes

May 28, 2020

“Once you’ve bought a novel in your pajamas, there’s no turning back.” So says a character in the novel “The Overstory,” as he drives a forklift in a fulfillment center. Well, in this time of social distancing, that ship sailed weeks ago. Sadly, sitting on the couch, in front of the television, sometimes, well often, in my pajamas, things have been ordered that amaze me.

After years – decades actually – of avoiding AARP, my spouse and I now are members, and the proud owners of an insulated trunk organizer, as well as getting the 2 for 1 membership and the magazine. Also, novels have appeared at our door. In the spirit of thinking that I might one day get out of the house again, skin-care products have been delivered as well as a blouse and pair of crops. AND, as they say on TV, “But wait, there’s more.” As we speak, the spurtle set is in transit. Stop the madness!

Another discovery, besides that of noting how lacking my life has been possession-wise, is to note how seldom one needs to do laundry. About a hundred years ago, an old lady of my acquaintance (Who probably was younger then than I now am.) said, and I’m pretty sure that I’m quoting, “The washing machine was the worst thing ever invented. It makes people just wash their clothes when they’re not really dirty and wear them out sooner.” You probably, like me at the time—and still really—found this to be a startling statement. Well, Covid 19, has brought that to a halt. Wearing the same things for several days running, sometimes both night and day, cuts way down on needlessly using the washing machine. Those clothes are gonna’ live forever!

During these weeks of home incarceration, the odometer told me that it was only about 100 miles until time to have the car serviced. However, since using the car for only about 10 miles per week, I didn’t think that I should wait for 10 more weeks before having it serviced: a dilemma. But, since grocery-procurement is an acceptable outing, even for the “vulnerable elderly,” I combined having the car serviced with a trip to a next-door food source. No need to go into the service department waiting area and sit on/touch the furnishings.

The other thing about the car and social distancing has been the price of gas. There you are, driving along and you note how insanely inexpensive it has been at times. And there you are not needing any because where are you driving?! Besides being a big, poster-child illustration for the law of supply and demand, it’s heartbreaking because you don’t have a need. Driving 10 miles per week doesn’t drain the tank in a heartbeat.

Back in the old days, when we used our vehicle in a more profligate way for things like road trips, I, who am blessed with the ability to read in the car without feeling queasy, would thumb through magazines and tear out recipes that I thought that we might like to cook and eat. At home, they dutifully were organized, put into a file, and then just sat there, ignored. Not anymore! We’ve been cooking them. They turned out to be the recipe equivalent of money in the bank. And mostly, we were correct, they are things that we have enjoyed. Some of them we even have cooked more than once over the last months. All very gratifying, but I MISS RESTAURANTS! Restaurants think up things to cook, gather the supplies, prepare things to perfection without panic, and do the clean-up. What a deal!

Larry Taylor models the mask made by his wife, Jeanette.
Credit Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

Reading always has been high on my list: too bad that concentration and motivation seem to be such a challenge. However, even though I haven’t made great strides through the un-read books pile, but I did make masks and use a larger piece of unsewn fabric. Coveting a skirt from one of my favorite catalogues, Poetry, (British: the be-all-and-end-all) I had a moment of just not ordering, pajamas or no. I dug through patterns, found one close enough that was do-able with easy modification and, for the first time in several years, made a garment. Love my new skirt, which having been worn on grocery store outings, now is in the hamper waiting to begin being worn out by going through the wash. Maybe next I’ll make new pajamas.

Music: Hugh Laurie - Saint James Infirmary (Let Them Talk, A Celebration of New Orleans Blues)