It’s always amazed me how quickly the unthinkable becomes banal. One minute you’re going wherever you want, never giving a thought to whether you’re bringing germs home in your hair; the next you’ve got a crude decontamination airlock in the entryway of your apartment.
As the virus caught hold in NYC and the news got scarier by the day, we devised our own routines to try to stay safe. First and foremost, of course, was DON’T GO OUT. Chad was already working from home; now I would work from home too.
We were used to going to the grocery store almost daily. Now we started drawing up meal plans in two-week blocks so we could shop way ahead. I hate making meal plans. How do I know what I’m going to want for dinner the Thursday after next? But we had to cut back on grocery trips, so we did.
Now when we come home, we take off our clothes and leave them in a little heap in the front hall. Then we take a hot shower and put on clean clothes. I used to wipe my phone down with hand sanitizer too but I’m pretty sure I killed the screen that way, so now I just wipe the case.
Our beloved super had just given us some lovely tall white bookcases that a tenant left when moving out of the building. We had set them up in the living room but hadn’t yet figured out what to do with the old shelves. Instead of putting them on Freecycle, we pressed them into service in our decontamination center. Mail goes there and sits for three days before being opened. So do non-perishable groceries. Masks and little bottles of hand sanitizer also stay there, so we can grab them on our way out.
Chad’s incredibly skilled aunt made us some beautiful masks that we’ve relied on this whole time. Mine have kitties on them.
In April the little wine bar around the corner from our place morphed into a food co-op. Now we have a regular Sunday morning slot to get fruits, vegetables, wine and beer, pasta and other staples, so we’ve stopped doing meal plans.
You get a 15-minute timeslot to do your co-op shopping, and you have to wear a mask and wash your hands first thing upon entering. You are the only shopper in the store, so it feels much safer than trying to dodge one’s fellow shoppers in narrow Manhattan supermarket aisles. Owners Will and Sarah have managed to supply us with, among other things, ramps, fiddlehead ferns and tart cherries, so we’re not only eating more safely, we’re eating well!