Get Up, Make Your Bed, Write

During this odd time of isolation, I see people’s posts on social media perhaps more than I ordinarily would. A great many of them talk about spending all day in pajamas, being paralyzed, eating too much, binge watching shows I have never heard of.

And not that I haven’t done all of those things; a little. I think, unfortunately, we are in this for the long haul despite what the talking heads are currently saying. I think normal is behind us and a new normal has to happen, and will whether we like it or not.

And taking the long view, pajamas really won’t cut it, binge tv is fine in the evening and eating all the time will only result in high blood sugar and blubber. So what to do?

Since retiring I can’t say I get up early. One of the great joys of retirement is going to sleep when I’m sleepy and waking up when I’m not, although I try to go to sleep at a reasonable hour just to keep my rhythms intact. But once up I am establishing a routine. I make my bed. A small thing I know but it makes me feel as if I am actually up like a real person with things to do. I exercise as best I can, I am not a super motivated exerciser but I am doing it despite myself – not enough – but doing it. I get dressed in outside world clothes. Yes, it has been a good while since I put on makeup or jewelry and I definitely need a haircut, but I am dressed.

Of course the first weeks of this experience was taken up with arranging bills, finances, long long phone holds with various companies and agencies. Frustrating but necessary. Then there was getting my son and his fiancee home; his job ended. It was complicated and full of drama but it is done.

Then there was tending my plants and my tiny garden. There will be tomatoes! It is pretty exciting. There will be cucumbers. This is all assuming the snails don’t get them, or the squirrels, etc. But all my plants are very happy as the normal benign neglect has ended and they are tended daily.

Then there was cooking. Oh yes, made bread, apple galette, and all manner of other things. Now mostly cooking healthy food for myself, not so creative but less blubber making.

And there is banging out songs on the piano. And there are all those myriad of household chore/projects that I have procrastinated for years. I am slowly but surely getting rid of paper. I am going through clothes. I am sorting through old cooking magazines that I just don’t need. I am catching up on my New Yorker reading, as well as chewing through every unread book in my house. The problem, of course, with reading is that I end up sitting all day and that is not healthy for me. So I try to confine my reading to the later part of the day, I do not easily relinquish a book once I sit down with it.

We have organized the garage, cleaned the lanai, scrub our bathrooms regularly, vacuum, dust, trim the hedges, go for walks. All to fill the days that used to be filled with social activities – teaching, meeting, rehearsing, lunches, dinners, friends.

And of course there is writing, the thing I now have time for and don’t do enough. Sitting still is hard, unhealthy, so this is the hardest of all. Nevertheless – Get up, make your bed, get dressed, do something productive and do something that makes you happy. Don’t sit too still.

Eating

 

I sat down to a meal of fried chicken in a soul food restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama. Despite the stares of other patrons I was totally ready to tuck into mac and cheese, collards and pecan pie along with that beautiful chicken.

I picked it up in my fingers and, in that moment, it struck me how lovely it is to eat with your hands.

On any given Friday night we tear a challah with our fingers and disregarding germs pass the pieces from hand to hand, sharing the taste of Shabbat and each others’ fingers.

I recently ate a bowl of steamed mussels, aromatic with tomato, garlic and sherry. With it some toasted crunchy French bread. I tried to start with a fork, hoping to appear more ladylike, but no. They deserved to be eaten with fingers, crunchy bread soaking up the “soup” in the dish. And then you have to lick your fingers, all pretense of ladylike abandoned in the moment.

There is a sensuality to food eaten mindfully, savored. It is even better with good conversation or music, eaten slowly between paragraphs. But it is most viscerally sensual when eaten with your fingers, no intervening metal. And if you… Click To Tweet

There is a sensuality to food eaten mindfully, savored. It is even better with good conversation or music, eaten slowly between paragraphs. But it is most viscerally sensual when eaten with your fingers, no intervening metal. And if you can, get someone else to lick your fingers.