[See Original Post here]
While I was hoping the next report would be from the other side, alas, I’ve enjoyed eight full weeks of quarantine here in West Anchorage. This is largely due to my own sense of caution; the Municipality of Anchorage is well into Phase 2 of reopening.
On the first day that restaurants were open, I stepped out onto my front porch and into the brilliant sunshine. I took a tentative step forward, breathing in the fresh air. As detailed in Episode 1, my main source of entertainment over the last eight weeks has been my daily hour-long walk through my neighborhood; my cardio stints come from the quick weaves and dodges to avoid my neighbors.
But the day restaurants opened, well that porch stepping had the added significance of being the possible first move into the world beyond my neighborhood. I could actually go to some destination, should I so choose.
The man in the next driveway was climbing into his car, and I cheerily waved at him. While not one to normally greet anyone, least of all my neighbors, I was overflowing with the spirit of goodwill for my fellow man.
He waved back, and promptly coughed.
I dropped my hand, scandalized, and scuttled back into the dim recesses behind me.
Every day now, I peer eagerly out of my windows, awaiting news of either devastation or recovery.
Updates to key dramatic subplots are included below for your convenience:
- Workouts – I’ve joined three fitness challenges through work. I’ve got seven blisters and two biceps to show for it.
- Karate – Someone circulated a rumor that my karate sensei trained the Karate Kid. This story soon evolved into he trained the guy who trained the Karate Kid. Latest version is that he may have seen the Karate Kid once. Bottom line, the sensei’s life continues to remain shrouded in mystery.
- Speaking of karate – I am due to test for my “yellow-orange” belt at the end of the month. Logistics remain uncertain and I am not sure whether a virtual test will be easier or harder than an in-person test. Most students advance to black belt (i.e. master ten belts) in three years. At my rate, I can expect to become a black belt in twice that time. I advance through life at half the speed of a nine-year old.
- Television – I determined it was time to tackle a movie with slightly more gravitas than Alice and Wonderland (the last feature film I watched in quarantine). Netflix had The Shawshank Redemption on rotation. I’d never seen it, had no idea what the plot was, and sat down to watch it with no advance research. Upon viewing, I became unduly morose, and spent 48 hours worried about whether there was any reasonable likelihood I would one day have to stage a prison break through a hole in the sewage piping.
- After a few comforting episodes of Parks and Recreation, I started Hollywood on Netflix, thinking it would be a cheerful cartoonish reimagining of post-war California. It is not; I’d say the early tone of the show is cynical at best. I watched the central character’s employment struggles for about fifteen minutes, became unduly morose, and went back to Parks and Recreation.
- I thought a third venture was warranted, and went back to that tried and true genre of British period soap operas. Julian Fellows of Downtown Abbey fame debuted a new show over the Easter weekend and I tuned in. Sure enough, the first episode had a surprisingly affecting death scene, after which I became unduly morose and swore off new content for the foreseeable future.
Reports from the front lines both locally and nationally are promising, but with an added dose of whimsy. Women can return to beauty parlors, but cannot have their hair blown dry. Nail salons may take customers, but manicurists must wear the equivalent of a moon suit to protect themselves and their customers. Gyms can hold classes, but only outside.
In a nutshell: businesses may take customers, but customers should stay home.
Drawing courage from the relatively tame scene locally, I stepped onto my front porch for the second time a few weeks following my neighbor’s assault.
Again, I blinked my eyes against all that new bright May light, and glanced down at my phone.
Per the news, giant murder hornets have arrived in the United States.
I retreated again.
The Egyptians understood plagues, and darned if I wasn’t going to follow their hunker down example.
Sarah Brown delights in the outdoors. When she is not frolicking in nature, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @BrownsClose1. “Close” is a British term for alley or cul-de-sac.