Updated: Apr 30, 2020
By David Sherman
Yeah, my partner closed her restaurant today. Don’t know for how long. Starbucks closed. Library closed. Local café closed. The coffee and food was lousy but it was a place to meet the neighbours, toxic as they may be. Being old and urged to isolate lest I end up being abandoned to die in a hospital corridor, not worth saving, for sustenance rather than a stroll, I have to sprint through the supermarket, dodging floating, dive-bombing virus. Nights, there is no hockey to get aggravated about; no baseball to persevere until October; no flying giant NBA players to marvel.
I’m afraid to rub my eyes, though the cat leaves her hair gliding through the air to torture me. I’m dying to pick my nose. I greeted the handyman today wth an elbow bump but he’s so short I broke his nose. I have to plan 10 meals ahead to limit my exposure to shoppers and cashiers and bag boys. My fridge only holds five meals. So I have filled Styrofoam coolers with vegetables and fruit and meats and melting ice.
I’ve put my back out schlepping bags of ice cubes from the local store’s ice machine, after Lysoling the machine and the bags, to the car, up the stairs to the house. I slipped on the ice on the stairs carrying the ice. My neck will eventually heal, the doctor assured me through her mask, though I might’ve caught the virus from three snorfing, hacking people in her waiting room.
I wrenched my shoulders and strained my arms carrying bags of crushed stone to put on the stairs and driveway so I wouldn’t fall on the ice again, though that’s moot since, if my age doesn’t intimidate me, I’m now too battered to go out anyways. The cable company, to show their civic mindedness and fearing people will start cancelling since no one’s working and everyone’s broke, gave me free news channels. I spend my days on a heating pad and hot water bottle switching from one channel to another with my teeth cause I can’t lift my arms, and watch commercials. I learn from never-ending ads about dire side effects of medications, the use of which is obscured by warnings about their use. I did learn they can make me suffer in a curious variety of excruciating ways or kill me. When there is a few seconds of news, it is really olds. On most channels, there’s a virus that is out of control. We’re all going to die. On other channels, there is a flu that is under control. Relax, go have a drink, everything is perfect. I chose the latter. The bars are closed but the booze stores are open, though they no longer offer free tastings. From the front door of the store, to the shelf, to the cash, to the car, I hold my breath. I have home-made hand sanitizer — two-thirds 70-per-cent alcohol — one third aloe vera — in the car ashtray in a tiny round jar, made to look like an apple. I pop the top, poke a few fingers in and slather it over my hands. Take a Lysol wipe from a freezer bag in the glove box and run it over the steering wheel and door locks and careen home, windows closed lest someone sneeze at a traffic light with her window open and contaminate my car.
I slip the old Chev into its space, navigate the driveway’s path of crushed stone and salt, climb the stairs, one hand clutching the bottle, the other the bannister, eyes alert for ice, slip inside the house, lock and chain the door, head to the kitchen and, after I sing a 20-second ditty to ensure I’ve spent the mandatory time detoxifying my hands in soap and water, find a glass.
I sterilize the bottle with a Lysol wipe and then, with appropriate flourish, I pour. Cheers