Life In The Time Of Pandemic

A historian at one of the nearby universities wrote an article this week suggesting that we all keep diaries of this unprecedented time.

Write it all down.

Life In The Time Of Pandemic, I guess.

Where has he been? Pandemic 2020 is going to be the most documented event in the history of mankind. (Peoplekind.)

Where were you when the wash-your-hands edict came? When the don’t-touch-your-face came? When the toilet-paper-hysteria came? When the ban on gatherings of 1,000 … 500 … 50 … 10 came? When today came? I know. Twitter and Facebook and Instagram told me.

There seems to be an ever-increasing number of cat photos on my feeds. Just to break up the latest round of bad news, I guess. So, doing my part, here’s Zuzu …

(I am not gloating because extroverts are freaking out about this stay-at-home thing. But, I admit, there is a smug-but-not-gloating satisfaction. Now you know how it is for an introvert like me when I’m feeling pressured to go to one of your big parties. Different thing. Same gnawing discomfort.)

“Hey! What’s Going On? Where’d Everybody Go?”

I had a dream last night that I went online and this site was gone. WordPress was gone. The Baseball Bloggess was gone.

Just like baseball. Gone.

A week ago, that would have been just a weird dream. Last night it woke me up. Week ago, weird dream. Last night, nightmare.

A Week Ago, This Was My Happy Place.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Central Virginia – sunshine’y, in the 60s. We should have been at the University of Virginia baseball game. Instead, I was learning how to order “to-go” groceries – including a lifetime supply of jalapeño peppers – from an app.

Lifetime supply? Is that a pandemic’s lifetime? Or, a real lifetime? Or, is that now the same thing?

The woman who brought the groceries to our car – keeping an appropriate distance – told us that a couple drove down from Baltimore because they heard that our grocery store – 125 miles away – had toilet paper. By the time they arrived, it was gone.

A five-hour round trip for … nothing.

We unloaded our groceries, including the lifetime supply of jalapeños, on the porch and disinfected things with a wipe before we brought them into the house.

Because that’s what we have been told to do.

(Do you think those people from Baltimore stopped at the Rest Area on I-66 and emptied all the toilet paper dispensers as they drove back home? Or, do you think someone else got there first?)

Even This Little Tree That’s Blooming Along Our Pasture Fence Line Looks Sad And Alone. 

Mark Shields and David Brooks were on PBS NewsHour last Friday discussing leadership in the time of crisis. It’s worth a watch, although much has changed since then. Every day feels like a month … a year.


Here’s the thing that stayed with me …

David Brooks said he tried to find out more about how people coped with the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, but very little was available:

“It left no trace on the national culture.”

He determined that little is available because people didn’t document it.

Because they were ashamed of how they behaved. Especially once the fear set in.

Leaving no trace is not an option today. We’re writing it all down. We’re filming it. We’re documenting every single second of it.

A hundred years from now, what are people going to think of us?

10 thoughts on “Life In The Time Of Pandemic

  1. I actually started a journal the beginning of March. Not because of the virus but for other reasons. So I’m documenting my boring life and it’s pretty much the same with or without the virus. 🤷🏻‍♀️I’ve been staring at Dave lying on the couch for a couple of years now. He does tweet although he got locked out of his account last week. Kinda funny to watch his head spin🤣 Think of it as a staycation. You and Randy can reconnect and get funky. 😳 We tried that once and that was enough! Stay positive and healthy.

  2. I haven’t started keeping a diary, but I have decided to practice social distancing. My book club has put off our regular meeting as most of the members are in the vulnerable age group. I will miss seeing those friends, but we can still share phone conversations and laugh about our idiosyncrasies. And the cat is happy that her humans are home now and offering more lap time. Be well and keep smiling, Bloggess.

    • I am doing virtual Yoga classes now … with some new software. Audio coming soon, maybe even video. At least I can keep the Peaceful Hands “family” unrolling their mats. Take good care, Gloria … and let me know if you need anything! :)

  3. I’m with you Jackie, staying home is……… delightful! Doing my thing, no interference by having to go somewhere or answer the door. Enjoying the quiet solitude of birds in the backyard, spring coming on, a sweet spouse happening by, and kitties galore!

  4. Hey, Jackie…

    As to whether or not the 1918-1920 flu left any cultural remnants…

    1) There are photos of people wearing masks and what not from that period. I know – not a diary, per se, but a visual memory. Some local historical societies must have diaries or the letters of famous locals from that period. Where I live isn’t all that new, but I am tempted to check it out now… (If the library is even open.)

    2) If you go to a good local cemetery that is at least 100+ years old, you’ll see the cultural remnants – so many people with 1918 or 1919 as the death date on the tombstone. An acquaintance of mine went looking for the grave site of an old ball player and remarked that he never really noticed all of those dated grave stones until now.

    3) My understanding is that in recorded history (Cain killing Abel notwithstanding) that this era is the only one where the population of the country (and the world) actually dropped.

    Love your writing!

    Paul Proia (

    • Hi Paul … Awww, thank you for your kind words! The one especially concerning thing the 1918 pandemic left behind … particularly as we navigate this current one … is that how it came in three waves: Spring 1918, Fall 1918 (which led to the greatest number of deaths), and then a third especially virulent wave in the Winter/Spring 1919, that didn’t subside until the summer of 1919.

      Yes, you’re right there are a lot of remnants of that pandemic — tombstones and photos and statistics. But, I do wonder how people coped. Or, IF they coped. Or, how much they knew about a) what was happening beyond their neighborhoods, or b) HOW to cope. There was no internet to give them countless how-to’s about making masks or washing hands. Did they run out of toilet paper, too? What was their frenzy?

      Now, you’ve made me even more curious. And, since there is no baseball to watch, I might as well snoop around.

      Take good care, Paul!

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