Every single day for the past almost five months I wake with the sun, feed the animals, walk the dog, exercise, then school work, emails, emails, emails, house chores, yard work, lunch. Then, more school work, house chores, dinner, a bit of the evening news with Dan, and early to bed. I hold onto routine like a lifeline so that I don’t hold onto the ever-encroaching despair brought on by this pandemic.
I’m having difficulty writing, difficulty focusing, and I typically have to look at my watch to know what day it is. Dan and I have always been creatures of habit, deeply ensconced in our routines. Routines built around my teaching schedule, around his yoga teaching schedule, what days we eat certain meals (Sunday morning…my break from intermittent fasting to enjoy Dan’s wonderful blueberry pancakes), around holidays and anniversaries. Routine has always been there for us, and now it is a sort of glue holding our sanity together, giving us some sense of normalcy in what feels like utter and complete chaos all around us.
It honestly feels like I have multiple personalities after the effects of COVID on our lives; the plucky and positive Denise is there, alongside the worrier, the Southern woman-who-never-lost-her-temper-but-who-now-loses-her-temper, the germophobe who pounces on Dan with sanitizing hand wipes as soon as we get into the car (he calls me Nurse Rached). The musician desperately missing teaching and performing. The comedienne who will do anything to laugh to escape the sadness. Thankfully, my husband will do anything to make me laugh when I fall into the pit of despair. And that’s a good thing; Mom always told me it was better to laugh than to cry.
To that end, I’m learning that if I am going to survive the madness of our new day-to-day existence, I have to find laughter in each day. Dan’s inner child is alive and well, and we have our running jokes and gags that leave me breathless with laughter. A couple of days ago we decided to have Indian for lunch at our friend’s restaurant, Taj India. Strict safety protocols were in place, and only one other customer was in the restaurant. We felt safe and relaxed and excited to have wonderfully spicy Indian food after months of missing it.
As we waited for our food, the Indian music being played changed to a new piece. I listened, suddenly getting the giggles. I swear to God there was a repetitive motive on an instrument that sounded exactly like the sound we made as kids of underarm fart noises. I looked at Dan- he’d heard it, too, and put his hand under his armpit to mimic the sound. That was all it took; after these months of stress and worry, I lost it, laughing until the tears ran down my face, getting under control long enough for our waiter to bring our food, and then falling yet again into uncontrollable laughter. If I have to live through a pandemic, at least I’m doing it with my best friend and soulmate who has my same wacky sense of humor.
It’s difficult for all of us to find the good right now there is so much craziness, so much sadness. I’m going to try to focus more on my little world; Dan, our animals and home, our dear friends and family. I’m also going to allow myself to be silly and laugh at Dan when he starts dancing or juggling in the grocery store (he really does that). Laughter is a path through the sadness. Laughter and hope- yes, sprinkled with a few tears, too. We’ll make it. I hope you find some laughter today that makes the tears run down your face. The good tears.
Stay safe and be well.