April 23rd, 2020
Our governor gave another press conference today. My hands were shaking before it started. He announced that our state will not be reopening yet. He’s extending the Stay At Home order for another week. Just a week. Our numbers are still climbing.
I’m relieved, but I can’t help but feel like this isn’t enough. When the state reopens, and salons are given the go ahead to continue business, I have to go back to work. I don’t know how I’ll be able to work after this whole experience.
I’ve never felt so bitter towards the general public as I do now. The protests to reopen states even though they’re far beyond ready, the selfishness of demanding to get your hair cut or eat out at a restaurant despite knowing you could kill the person providing you with a service. I hate it.
I know if I go back to work, my clients will rant about how wrong the governor was to dare steal away their rights to contract a highly contagious virus because they wanted to eat inside an Olive Garden. They’ll tell me about all the petitions they signed, how they blew up the guy’s social media with threats. They’ll expect me to stand and listen and smile and laugh and nod along. I can’t. I know I’d break and I’d tell them they’re pathetic and selfish and disgusting. I’d probably be out of a job, to be honest.
The governor said we can’t stay inside forever. That we have to get back out there and try to return to normal. I know that’s true. But I’m still scared. I know people who’ve lost family to this virus. I have family I could lose to this virus, if they were exposed. I’m terrified of killing them.
I can’t even imagine what life will be like after this. I’m so anxious and exhausted and so very cautious of other people now. You can’t be like that in my line of work. You have to touch people without fear. I’ve dealt with clients who had lice and didn’t even pause to tell them with a long-suffering smile that I didn’t really feel. I handled it with grace, and only freaked out after they were gone. Could I handle a situation in which someone coughed on me the same way?
Would I kindly tell them, “Since you have symptoms of illness, I have to ask you to leave, I’m sorry.” Or would I freak out immediately? Just the thought of it… I can’t imagine myself being gracious or kind. How funny and strange that a cough scares me more than literal bugs I’ve had nightmares about.
I know I’m living through a chapter in a history book. It’s strange, but I can almost disconnect myself from this reality when I think of it like that.
“This isn’t going to be real for someone. This will be a paragraph in a book, a question on a test that someone is anxious about. This will be 20 different movies, all with the same plot that kids roll their eyes at, dozens of books about finding love in quarantine. This won’t be real someday.”
And for just a few moments, it isn’t real.
God, I wish this wasn’t real.