Just you and me, baby.
As the Covid-19 reins tighten on social distancing, not only is our calendar devoid of events, but our circle of personal contacts has squeezed down to two. Rich and I better be nice to one another. We’re all we’ve got.
I have no illusions that this will last a couple of weeks or so. I’ve read enough to know it’s going to take months for us to flatten out the curve of infection. I’m mentally preparing for the long haul.
We’ve already been practicing the sheltering concept for over a week, so I have a taste of this new normal. This uber-togetherness thing. And I realize we have an advantage. It’s called retirement.
I think back on those early days when we first left our jobs. When we no longer spent all day at work and inflicted our personalities on our coworkers. Suddenly we were at home full-time, playing in the same sandbox. We had to learn to jockey around one another. How to balance time doing things together and time doing our own thing. I couldn’t help but feel like Rich was looking over my shoulder at times, judging how I spent my time. It reminded me of when my dad retired. Mom said the house was never so clean – she was afraid to sit down and look idle. I admit to my own sideways glances when Rich lounged on the couch. If nothing else, we learned to hold our tongues. To loosen up.
Eventually we worked our way into a routine. We figured out how to co-exist in the same space, all day long, day in, day out. Thankfully, we also developed our own distinct retirement hobbies – photography and writing. Pursuits that keep us out of one another’s hair. Now that we’re confined to the house, I feel grateful that we have that figured out. But there’s still a hitch.
Our pattern is to exit the house by day, and reunite over dinner. Rich roams the woods in search of birds to photograph, and I park myself at Amity Coffee pecking away at my keyboard, inching my book along. While Rich’s outdoor wanderings are currently still a viable option, my daily perch and latte are now off-limits. The solitude I seek among the cacophony of the busy espresso bar is no more.
Enter the home coffee shop. With a card table installed in the Bunk Room, I can make my own coffee, pick up my laptop and “go to the coffee shop.” I close the door and I’m off-site, in my own world, sequestered until I choose to re-emerge. I think of it as working remotely in reverse. And it works.
The final piece in our retirement puzzle is a commitment to getting outside for fresh air and exercise – each at our own time and pace, of course. Rich calls me “obsessed.” I don’t argue the fact. But we’re both out there doing it. Staying healthy and in shape.
We’re grateful that the powers that be recognize the importance of this. We’re still out there running, biking and walking in the woods to lose the threat that looms over us, if only temporarily. It’s enough to keep us sane. It’s how we will cope in the weeks and months to come. Just the two of us.