Day 20. Practically Normal.

Of course it’s not. I’m trying to convince myself!

A wonderful writer and blogger, Chuck Wendig, has always made me snort out loud and has upped his game for this insane time. He gets that normalcy is neither necessary nor sufficient as a response to this gigantic abnormality we’re living in. Check out his blog today, where he captured it in few words: It’s like being told to paint a masterpiece while on a turbulent flight. It’s just not the time.

Photo by Alice Dietrich on Unsplash

So how am I making it through today? I did an aerobics and stretching workout and used a lot of music I really like and that makes me dance – like this mix I made on YouTube. I also highly recommend Extreme Hip Hop with Phil, for which I am secretly happy I don’t have an Aerobics Step at home because it would be toooooo hard.

Music makes any exercise a thousand times better.

Body Balance classes online are great – a combination of Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga. These classes come from an Australian firm called Les Mills, and seem to be the “soccer”* of fitness classes: they are wildly popular around Europe but gyms in the U.S. don’t seem to have picked up on it yet. (Classes are on YouTube for free, and new ones appear every month, but sound and video and teaching quality vary – pick ones you like in your language!)

The day’s excitement

After working out, Ramon and I were going to walk to the bakery, about a mile away. We are almost out of baguettes, which is two of Ramon’s four food groups. But by the time I was ready to go, Ramon had had a work emergency and couldn’t leave.**

I dressed to go on my own – mask, sunglasses, money, keys, bag of kitty kibble, carrier bags, earphones to listen to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, the one pair of shoes I wear outside… when Ramon reiterated how sorry he was to have to abandon our plan to go together. I had been standing in the middle of the room wondering what I was forgetting (did you guess? It’s hand sanitizer.) Anyway, I burst out crying.

Turns out I am really strong and proactive in facing What’s Out There with Ramon walking next to me. On my own, it just seemed overwhelming.

Now, I am not a person who’s always been in a relationship. In fact, I’ve spent loads of my life NOT with someone, and loved it. ALONE TIME is still a priority for me, in all capital letters, and Ramon has (cleverly) learned to interpret that particular glint in my eye.

What are you scared of, Keri?***

However. I prefer facing the current risks together. What risks, you ask, when I’m trussed up with all that gear? Fair question. Twice I’ve had people take umbrage at my mask – once because my interlocutor didn’t have one, and once because a fellow was really sure he knew mask science better than me (and he may have been right, I dunno). But I don’t have ready French phrases for:

  • Back the Fuck Off
  • I’m Not Breaking Confinement Rules, I Need Essential Baguettes
  • You Breathe Your Way, I’ll Breathe Mine, Thanks

It’s also waaaaay easier and more common for some men to hassle a woman walking alone, than to hassle a couple. Shamefully, this is still true in 2020.**** I’ve been on the receiving end of even non-sexual hassles that would never be directed at a man, because a man would be a threat.***** With the heightened sensitivity/anxiety/reactivity I feel these days, I prefer Ramon’s company. Also, he tells entertaining stories and his accent is adorable.

Giving suggestions

Out of the blue, completely unsolicited, I’m including three (no – four!) links for organizations I think are worth helping in the DC area and across the country and hemisphere:

I’m grateful for others’ suggestions of where and how to help. It’s overwhelming because it’s so big, but that means that wherever we help, is where it’s needed.

Edible happiness

We made an amazing dinner last night – artichokes and cherry tomatoes confit in the oven with garlic and home-grown basil, tossed over pasta with grand padano and lemon zest. All credit to the brilliant Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – which has become a good friend this past month. I didn’t quite understand just how many of those leaves had to be torn off, but look at it this way – it’s like free flossing.

Tonight we used the leftovers, and added spinach and mozzarella to stretch it out. Really, really good.

There was also a completely unattractive box cake with abundant lemon icing (that Ramon promptly scraped off). Little pleasures. See you tomorrow.

***Footnotes***

*Speaking of soccer, this video is a scream:

** Ramon’s work emergencies are insane. It’s like the Marx Brothers‘ Sanity Clause up in there: “The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part… If any of the parties participating in this contract shall be shown not to be in their right mind, this contract is null and void.”

*** As you’ve seen in this blog, nearly everything.

**** But I do see you going down, Harvey Weinstein you disgusting piece of filth. B’Bye! Hope you rot! Also Larry Nasser from USA Gymnastics – suck it scumbag!!! All y’all can go Straight. To. Hell. I’m including Brett Kavanaugh too since we all know that asshat is as guilty as sin!

***** I want to learn how to become more of a threat. When I next get to DC I’m going to take a class with Lauren at Defend Yourself. It’s been ages since I did a self-defense class but they’re so valuable! Not because of breaking handholds or kicking gonads but because they remind you how thoroughly your body is YOURS and what to do when that’s not duly recognized!

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