There are things I knew I’d have to teach my future children, things I knew I’d have to say.
But I never thought I’d have to teach them how to wash their hands for 20 seconds. I never thought I’d have to sit down with the plastic gloves and the paint to show them how the soap is distributed.
I never thought I’d need to teach them how to eyeball six feet, or how to properly wear a mask, or how to apply hand sanitizer.
I never thought I’d have to explain why I have a second freezer full of vacuum-packed meat and veggies, or why I’m conserving just about anything I can get my hands on that can be conserved.
Never thought I’d have to explain the veritable mountain of toilet paper and canned food and sanitation wipes. Because I will stockpile.
As soon as I have the space for it, I will hoard just about anything that will last for a decade or more. Because I refuse to live with the insecurity of if I’ll have enough to eat, enough to wash myself with, enough to keep my home clean.
I never thought I’d have to explain behaviors I didn’t have before all of this.
I never thought I’d have to explain the exact spread of bacteria.
All before they’re five, seven, ten.
And if they’re anything like me. They will ask the question: “Why didn’t anyone do anything?” “Wasn’t there something that could be done?” “Why didn’t everyone do this?”
And I might stall that conversation. I might have to evade it. Because I don’t want to tell my five year old that large parts of the world failed us. I don’t want to make them sad, I don’t want…
I never thought I’d say these things, explain, show, gently, as gently as is possible, tell them that while people banded together and helped, and there are heroes in every corner… that those we are supposed to be able to trust did nothing.
They did nothing.
I used my long sleeves to touch public surfaces long before Corona.
But I didn’t freak out when a knuckle accidentally touched the shopping cart handle.
I didn’t use sanitation wipes on the self-scanner in the store, or on the cart handles and edges.
I didn’t use sanitation wipes to wipe down everything I bought that could be wiped down, every surface the bags had touched, the handles, the door handle, my keys.
I know the statistics, how many people wash their hands properly, how many different kinds of bacteria are on public surfaces.
I used to change my pants every time I came home long before this happened.
But I didn’t fold them and put them in a bag, I didn’t wash my hands afterwards, I didn’t…
There is so much I didn’t do.
So much I will do for the rest of my life.
I’m not scared for me. Not really. But I’m scared to be asymptomatic, accidentally spreading the virus to others, no matter who.
My touch couldn’t kill unless I was sick…
It can now.
There’s a very high chance that I’ve already had it. That week I was sick at the beginning of April or end of March. That sneezing and that cough were similar, yet different, from any cold or flu I’ve ever had. It was both milder and harsher at the same time.
It doesn’t matter anymore. I was isolated, I stayed isolated afterwards, I was more careful.
And even if I have antibodies now, which might not help anyways, it doesn’t matter. I could still carry the virus.
And that scares me.
I don’t want to have to explain that fear to someone who is old enough to ask, but young enough that they shouldn’t be afraid.
I don’t want my children to think there’s nothing good in the world, and yet, right now… I have a difficult time seeing the good.
Everything else is so much bigger. The rising numbers, the restrictions, the laws. Everything is changing, and I have no idea where it’s headed.
Things won’t be the same, for good or ill, things will change. I have no idea where I’ll end up after all of this is over, if it’ll ever even be over.
Mom said something along those lines, she said they’re speculating that this won’t end, that we will have to learn to live with it. I don’t know how true that is, and for my own sanity I refuse to watch the news.
I go in, sometimes, just to check the registered cases and the death toll.
Instead I trust that mom will relay the news when we speak, or someone else I trust will mention something. I’ll verify, but the new articles and videos and interviews?
They grate on me, I hear the artificially cheery yet serious voice of the news anchor and I want to fling the remote at the TV and scream. I can’t stand it, I can’t read it or hear it or see it.
I’m grateful every day for my loneliness now, for the isolation, because I don’t want my friends to see me like this, harried, questioning the world, absolutely losing it at random moments.
I’m the calm one, the sensible one.
It’s not so calm or sensible to be terrified of shattering that illusion. But I can’t let them see me now. So at least I can be alone, thinking about all of these things.
Will this ever end?
What will I have to tell my children?
Which loved one will die before it’s over?
Am I going to survive?
I don’t know. There’s so much I don’t know. And so much I don’t want to find out, because sometimes ignorance truly is bliss, and I’ll try to keep that for as long as I can.
I both hate and love that decision.
It’s getting worse by the day.