Life in the Pandemic

Somehow my husband and I picked the perfect place to sit out a pandemic. We live in a suburban neighborhood in a rented house. Our small development backs up to a county park. We try and do two loops through the park and neighborhood, which is two miles, for our daily walk, weather permitting. We do not wear masks, which so many of my friends find questionable, but we do not come close to anybody in this low-density area.

During the day my husband and I retreat to our separate home offices. He to the basement to fulfill his job with the county as an IT contractor and me to my office on the second floor. My list of work items is always full. I am working through settling my father’s estate. Dad passes away in February right before the pandemic. I host three video support groups weekly for men who were or are married or involved with women, who now identify as gay or bi. I oversee my parent’s house that was for sale but now is going to be rented. And, I blog regularly and have been writing a memoir.

I do not know if my story would interest anybody but my filmmaker son and filmmaker sister both have encouraged me to write and tell my story. So much of my story is about me wrestling with my attraction to men, and for too long, trying to change from homosexuality. I go through days of great energy in writing and days where I find my own story boring and focus on dad’s estate or the tasks required to get my parent’s house ready to rent.

The days do flow into one another and Zoom is not a good replacement for physical contact. I am grateful to be sheltered with my newly minted husband. He and I have been together for almost five and a half years and were married in April in a virtual ceremony after our long-planned wedding was canceled.

I do not try to fight things that I can not change, so the cancelation of the physical wedding was tolerable, but I missed the physical contact and experience of the event that was to be. Getting married in your home, by yourself, surrounded by two webcams and webcam lights, talking to the camera, is just not the same thing as being married in front of a hundred people. When the virtual wedding was over, we were glad to be able to move on with our lives.

My husband and I do not sleep in the same bed. I snore and move around at night and he goes to bed about two hours later than I do. We both agreed a long time ago that we slept better alone. But one in a while there are nights when I am scared about what is happening to our world and our country. At 16 years of age I welcomed the civil unrest of the 1970s and the gas shortage was simply an inconvenience. At 62 I worry about what I see happening in the news. I can no longer watch too much of the news and even my newspaper reading has declined. It is simply too hard.

I have never been someone with a large circle of friends so I am content to be with my husband day in and day out. We get along great and try and be gentle with each other. Our daily hugs and kisses are grounding and healing. We tend to touch and hug each time we end up in the kitchen together.

There is something existential about this period of our history. I know it will pass and the world will heal but that does not make this moment any easier. I am saddened by what I see as the decline of America and fear for what will come. The fights about masks and stay at home orders seem silly and fake. I am over sixty with some chronic diseases, so I am doing everything I can to keep myself safe, and at the same time trying not to be scared when I leave the house.

I read that the COVID-19 tests have about ⅓ false-negative and was shocked. It means the tests have little value for really knowing who has the virus and who doesn’t. And with seasonal allergies in full swing, it is hard to know what is what. So life goes on.

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