I’m on Day 13 of my routine travel quarantine. Here are a few random thoughts:
The Canadian rules state that I must complete 14 days AND have negative results from a Day 10 test. I got up at 4:30 am on Day 10 to complete my tele-health-witnessed test. There were only 167 people ahead of me in line. I chose that time because it was a Saturday, and I wanted my test to get in the pipeline as soon as possible. At the end of the test, I was informed that there is no weekend pick up––it would not go out until Monday afternoon (Day 12), likely extending my quarantine by several days. I was already struggling with my confinement. That day I experienced some depression and disappeared into Netflix. (I’d recommend the Shtisel series, which follows an orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem as they experience both the comfort and confines of fundamentalism. A strangely familiar parallel to my own quarantine, lol.)
Going at a moderate pace, it is possible to complete 145 flights of basement stairs, for a total of 2430 steps, in 30 minutes. This is actually desirable when you have no other form of aerobic exercise available. Listening to news or music at the same time helps you stick to it. My thighs are fabulous.
It occurred to me that once I finished my quarantine and then spent a week with my daughter, I would be free to travel around Canada! I could go anywhere!! That excitement lasted for just a few seconds before I realized that the entire province is on lock-down. Police are even stopping vehicles to confirm that your travel is “essential.” Is it essential that I vacation in British Columbia?
I am supposed to have zero contact with others while in quarantine. I have no idea what my landlords even look like. My main outlets have been yelling conversations across the backyard with a stranger about her dogs, and a few visits from the cops––banging on the door at random times to make sure I’m actually in here. I’m Face-timing every day, although it can leave me a little distressed to see humans in their natural environment, free to go wherever they want. I had to quit looking at my friends vacation posts on Facebook. Watching a video of one of my dog friends getting a treat out of the good-girl cupboard brought tears to my eyes.
I have the teeniest taste of what it must like for people who are actually in jail. This is nothing like that. I can cook my own meals, use knives, sleep by myself, and I have an entire apartment to move around in. How do people in prison stay sane?? You’d have to either cut off whole parts of yourself or go deeper inside. I’m going to be shell-shocked when I’m released. I will not take my freedom for granted.
I assumed that these two weeks would be like the retreat I took last fall, where I came out with my life redesigned towards more spiritual connection. Not so. It’s very clear to me how important physical exercise and outdoor access are to that process.
I’ve been thinking of different ways to frame this experience. Incubation comes to mind. That’s a phase of its own, like cocooning. It’s a mini-version of what every person on the planet is doing right now during the pandemic. We have been forced out of our regular routines, away from each other and our usual supports, toward our own inward processes. We have the opportunity to be more creative (write books) or more destructive (eat a package of Oreos) (I’ve done both). We are living through a time of change.