First, I am grateful because all of my friends and family are in good health, and so far they are financially secure. And I am thankful to all the people who are putting themselves in harm’s way to keep things working as much as possible – not only those people in the medical field, but also grocery store workers, restaurant owners and workers, and all of the unsung heroes out there.
I am 80 years YOUNG and cringe every time that I hear or read, “the frail and elderly.” I definitely am not frail and hadn’t felt elderly until the coronavirus hit. This is a picture of me celebrating my 80th birthday in Italy last year.
All of a sudden, I went from having a full calendar to having an empty one. So far a dental appointment has been cancelled as has one with the dermatologist. The course I was supposed to teach for OLLI was cancelled as were those courses I was supposed to take. The Met in HD simulcasts have been cancelled as has Tampa Opera’s season, for which I have tickets. I no longer can go to restaurants to meet with friends to catch up. I live alone and have been pretty much following the “stay safe at home” rules. So how do I pass the days?
Most mornings I take a brisk 45-minute walk around the neighborhood. It helps to move and breathe the fresh air. The last two weeks I have tried going to the supermarket during the special hour for “the frail and elderly.” The problem is that the shelves are still empty first thing in the morning! I spend time in my garden, cleaning the beds, watering and seeing what new blooms are coming out. I read, watch TV and check my email. I tried streaming. The Metropolitan Opera has a free streaming opera each evening. Unfortunately, my internet is not up to streaming, so that’s out.
Friday I washed my car!
Last week I spent an inordinate amount of time on Zoom learning how to use it. I now have hosted my monthly Italian Get-Together on that medium. It went well. We got to see each other and return to something, if only semi-normal. I’ve also agreed to teach my OLLI course via Zoom. Once a week my son comes for dinner and an Italian lesson.
To sum it up: I am not bored – I’m keeping busy and trying to be useful. I wish everyone would stay safe at home as much as possible, so that we can beat this thing and get on with life!
Catherine Mitchell holds a master’s in Italian from Middlebury College and lived in Italy for ten years. She has taught English at European language schools and Italian in the United States. Look for her on online Italian course this summer. She submitted this article back in March, but we weren’t able to fit it in before our April focus on National Poetry Month.