4/18/2020 – 37 days in lockdown
I live in Jersey City, I can see the Hudson and downtown NYC from the two windows in my apartment. I’ve lived here since 2015. I’ve seen a few blizzards and bitter windchill days. I used to run up and down the waterfront, around the parks and over bridges. I have more friends here than where I grew up, this is home.
Now we’re on pause. Everything came to a grinding halt almost 5 weeks ago. Running hasn’t been paused, but my desire to do so has been.
The fallout has hit everyone differently and my motivation to do much took a huge hit. I mourned our old way of life, seeing friends, getting to interact with others, summer, and travel. I spend a lot of time reading the news but also others’ reaction to it, looking for any sort of certainty about what’s next.
For a while I woke up everyday dreading what would be taken away from us next. In New Jersey all parks were closed and now guarded by police for anyone daring to get a little exercise, sunshine and trying to forget how bleak of situation we’re in. We’ve gotten to a point where there’s not much more freedom that can restricted. It’s hard to go from going anywhere, anytime for any reason to being asked to not leave your apartment unless you’re getting food.
Two months ago I was visiting my parents in Texas and the primaries and life events dominated our conversations. I remember joking that my mom had coronavirus because she had been sick with a cold just prior to my visit (it might have been and hopefully was because she’s completely fine now), my dad put a post-it note on an old dirty toothbrush of mine that said possible coronavirus, I joked that I’d find it impossible to quarantine myself if I had it and I’d at least need to go for a jog.
On the plane ride back to NYC, I made through security in less than 5 minutes, the airport was quiet and the plane had seats open. I didn’t think too much of it and I certainly never would have imagined that I’d been quarantining myself 9 days later.
Today is day 37 of this new reality. I haven’t seen anyone I don’t live with (aka Joe) in 37 days aside from the animal control officer who dropped off a foster kitty a week in and picked him up a week ago for his forever home.
I haven’t acquired a new skill. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around focusing on much more than getting what I need to get done at work. That, too, has been hard. My brain is feeling about as restless as I am.
It’s hard to conceptualize this disease even now. I know at least 200 people in the city and Joe knows even more but we don’t know anyone who has had it, definitively. Maybe we’ve both been asymptomatic carriers. I’m the furthest you can get from being a germaphobe and I used to ride mass transit every day, eat lunch out every day and use public restrooms while on the run; I can’t say I used to wash my hands nearly enough and I’m constantly touching my face.
The point of all this is to memorialize this period in time. Hopefully shed light on how people felt, and how we could do better in the future. In the span of 9 days we went from coronavirus jokes, still thinking it was a cold and flying across the country to locking things down.
37 days in: governors are thinking of ways to reopen their respective states. In the US epicenter, I’ve noticed my friends are a little less scared of the disease but I think we’ve also just started to accept it as reality for now. We’ve debated whether we need to wear face masks while running and when, we try to stay connected with video chats and talk to each other throughout the day on messenger. The idea of a large group gathering, feels really irresponsible, though seeing one or two friends is fine. I see a need for a balance between total and complete lockdown and partying like we’re on spring break. That feels like a reasonable balance between the need to social interaction but also slowing the spread.