It won't mean much to me, I thought, being quarantined at home. I'm old, I'm retired and I don't have the responsibilities or obligations of younger adults.
Many of my closest friends live far away so I am long accustomed to regular, lengthy telephone or Skype/Zoom calls. No big sacrifice with this quarantine, thought I. Little will change for me.
What I hadn't considered are the meetings and lunches and other social get-togethers with local friends that have stopped. Suddenly, I have a lot more free time than before quarantine. Enough for it to be abundantly noticeable now. Plenty of time now to think about things in a leisurely manner.
I picked up some more time for myself last week when I stopped watching the daily Trump team television show. There is never any trustworthy news and when there is anything worth knowing, it is widely reported elsewhere. So I don't subject myself to his petty self-aggrandizement anymore.
In one of last week's Trump TV shows, even Dr. Deborah Birx brought shame down on herself by elaborately kissing the presidential posterior in praise of his scientific acumen. So much for anything she says from now on.
On the other hand, there is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily report. The contrast to the president is stunning, leaving me to lament every day that Cuomo is not running the entire U.S. COVID-19 response. There are other governors and mayors, too, doing important work in their communities even while taking threats from the president.
Weeping comes easily to me now. I tear up reading stories about the shortages of protective gear for medical professionals who nevertheless keep risking their own lives going to work, doing everything possible to help the afflicted. Just a photo of an empty big-city street can set me off on a weeping binge.
Dreams have never stayed with me beyond wispy snapshots for a few seconds when I first awaken. During the past week or so, those wisps have been of me alone on a rainy, dark street, accompanied by an overwhelming sense of being alone.
I use up some of my new-found time wondering if others in lockdown are having similar dreams, and there is more of the time now to get back to reading books which I had recently neglected.
Oh, do I wish I had something more profound to tell you. Since my imagination is lacking in that regard, here are some small but not unimportant things related to the pandemic I think might be useful for you to know:
VIRUS-RELATED SOCIAL SECURITY SCAM
Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for Social Security, is warning “about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19.”
”Social Security will not suspend or discontinue benefits because their offices are closed,” reports IG Ennis.
“...Social Security beneficiaries have received letters through the U.S. Mail stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number referenced in the letter.
“Scammers may then mislead beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments during this period of COVID-19 office closures.”
Although Social Security offices are closed, employees are working and no beneficiary will lose benefits, have them decreased or suspended due to the virus. Any communication that says so is a scam.
SPECIAL SUPERMARKET HOURS FOR ELDERS
Supermarket chains and some other retailers have created special hours for elders to shop. Some designate these hours every day, others offer it for one or two days a week. What many have in common is that the hours are early in the morning - 7AM to 9AM or 8AM to 9AM, for example.
Some stores in my area are doing this but I wonder who decided that elders do not need fresh produce, fresh meat or cooked chicken which are not on shelves yet at that early hour.
Plus, my pharmacy is in my grocery story but does not open until 9AM making it difficult to do food and drug shopping in one go. Personally, I'm ignoring "senior hours" on my once-weekly trek away from home.
But if it works for you, AARP has done your homework for you with a long list of chain stores that are doing this and their hours. You will find that list here.
Be sure to check if your store participates.
YOUR EMAILS AND INTERESTING STUFF SUGGESTIONS
I always appreciate your emails with ideas for stories or Interesting Stuff items and rely on them for a lot of what you eventually see in these pages. But apparently now, I am not the only one with extra time on his or her hands.
Your missives have been arriving in great bundles into in my inbox, sometimes four or five or more emails in a day from the same person. Multiply that many videos and article suggestions (often several in one email) from two or three dozen of you can imagine that I can feel defeated at trying to get through them all.
So if you wouldn't mind, please try to edit yourselves. And please forgive me if I do not reply to your email - sometimes I'm just too worn out to do that.
And how is the quarantine going at your place?