Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hadn't Expected THIS at All!

These flamingos are not social distancing!

Right? No one here did. After we got back to the States we were going to spend a few days in southern Florida before returning to Cinderella. I suspected, rightly, that those days were going to be my last feeling of normalcy for, how long?

There were a few days in a grimy hotel outside of Fort Lauderdale where we did our income tax paperwork and took cellphone photos of the resulting documents to email to our accountant. Dinner at a Thai restaurant with recently-engaged friends Phil and Kay. Overpriced pizza and nice microbrewed beer. A much nicer hotel, this time with a bar where the bartender poured extremely stiff rum drinks, and after we'd had our limit a stereotypical big spender who had done well in Vegas bought another round. A visit to our dermatologist. Then, because the boat was completely empty, a big stock-up shopping trip to Trader Joe's.

Back in St Augustine, we early-voted, bought more groceries, wine, dropped our things off at our storage unit ... and dropped off the planet, it seemed, into total isolation as the scale of the crisis became apparent. We were just slightly ahead of the curve; as events started being cancelled and pubs shut down the following week. The weather was beautiful, we had a rental car, but couldn't go anywhere, do anything, or visit anyone!

In a sense, the isolation is no different than a long sea passage. As long term liveaboards and cruisers, we're better prepared for it than most. We've had lots of experience entertaining ourselves and keeping our relationship harmonious, just the two of us in our tiny fiberglass bubble on the big empty ocean. We started discussing how to get some purpose to our days, otherwise we'd end the isolation as experts in nothing but playing computer games, overweight and alcoholic. The original plan was to commit to one hour each day doing: something practical, something physical, something educational, something creative. We deep cleaned the boat, went for isolated walks, sorted photos and music. Dan studied sign language and Jaye studied meteorology. We spent a lot of time reading the news and social-media-ing with friends. We read a lot, and went for drives to nowhere in our little rented Spark.

For me the most surreal was a comment my friend H made on Facebook. She was watching a movie and a character came into a crowded party and hugged another character. "Only a week ago," my friend mused, "this seemed normal; now it's impossibly quaint."

Our friends and neighbors have been awesome, buying our groceries and running errands and other favors to keep Dan's contact with the outside world as minimal as possible while his lungs continue to heal from the diving accident. And I'm enjoying the quiet, unpressured and unstructured time. I don't know how long this will continue, but we'll get through it, together -- separately.

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