Quarantine Day 18 : Joy Postponed, & 85 T-Shirts

Last day at work on Friday with the regular crew. One of the providers bought an ice cream cake for all of us. The MA who picked it up had them write “Corona” on it, with a virus symbol over it, because healthcare people are a little morbid but also very good at keeping up the humor in times of crisis. There was something bittersweet about the whole day. Many of us will not see each other for at least the next two months.

My apologies to the Zoom planner that night for my absence. I wasn’t up to socializing (wide-eyed gasp). The combination of work, saying goodbye to coworkers, and listening to the news left me in tears, making a choice between Klonopin and alcohol to make the pain in my chest go away. I was nobody’s good company. Spoiler: alcohol won.

And, to that end, I want everyone to know that it’s perfectly acceptable to sit and cry for hours once in a while. It’s going to be necessary to avoid the panic that inevitably creeps in with too much information.

Rainy day again today. Sabra gets another reprieve from a home-spa day and my other plan to bring back joy will have to wait one more day. I plan to post video, when Joy is released. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile back in our basement… Todd brought home a pinball machine from a friend who was moving and I scored 198,000+ in my first game. I smell a tournament coming. Me, Todd, and Opac.

To the above – Todd takes this all very seriously. The pickup was done with all the precautions of a medical protocol. He had to stop at Wawa for gas along the way (gloves and sanitizer and wipes all involved), and told me with a furrowed brow that dozens of people were getting gas and coming in and out of Wawa ignoring social distancing and behaving as if life was business as usual. I’d not seen Todd alarmed yet, until then.

Opac shared with me a conversation he had with a friend last night who was asking him to go fishing with him and another friend, and insisted they were all fine and would be since it was just their group hanging out and… ya’ll sitting down? There’s a vaccine coming in a couple months and once they all get it everything will be fine. Holy sweet Mary Jesus and Joseph! Thank God my kid finally gets it and he was absolutely incredulous that this friend was so naïve, although he might have used a different word to describe him.

Todd and I opened a bottle of 2016 Graffigna Pinot Grigio while cooking last night. It’s Argentinian but reminded me of Italian food and I highly recommend it. We made lasagna and it was killer. Also highly recommend.

I have been thinking about cleaning out my closet again – this next sweep being virtually everything I never wear, which is ….everything but my uniform. Too rash? Todd said he wanted to do the same, and said he can just wear a t-shirt to work in the basement every day. Great idea! I said. And then told him he can wear every one of his 85 t-shirts and that I want to see a different one every day for the next 85 days. This is going to be fun.


Today’s stats:

Mental Health: 7

Physical Health: 8 (-1 for waking up at 3 am with my trigger finger curled and locked, and -1 for lower back pain/radiating leg pain)

Paper Supplies: 8 (TP = adequate, paper towels = improving if Todd uses a plate for his toast instead of a paper towel, tissue situation = vastly improved by two boxes thanks to a kind neighbor)

Alcohol: 5

TV series completed: 1 (Gossip Girl)

Books read: 1 (The Beautiful Ones)

Today’s T-shirt: Dark Gray Mustang (emblem) T-shirt


With no further explanation I offer these random tidbits:

Moire is made of ribbed silk or satin, with a subtle wavelike pattern similar to wood grain. It’s very “dressy” and usually found in formal dining rooms.

Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza a day ( *note: BC = Before Coronavirus)

The Library of Congress was founded in 1800 and contains more than 39 million books in 470 languages. In 1815, it purchased Thomas Jefferson’s personal library of 6,487 books for $23, 950.

Crater Lake is the 9th deepest lake in the world at 1,943 feet deep. There’s only one place where it is safe to swim and that only opens for a short time in mid-to-late June.

The Empire State Building has its own zip code, 10118.





Quarantine: Day 15

All you ladies out there worried about your roots – there’s plenty of boxed hair color out there, AND it’s on sale this week!

We have ants in our house. It’s the usual Spring exodus, but they’re in my walk-in closet! I bent over to pick up a pair of shoes and they scattered. I just turned off the light and walked out. Like really, what am I going to do about it right now?

You know what? As long as he’s still tanning his face, we can continue to believe it’s not that bad. If his face suddenly becomes white, we’ll know we’re all gonna die.

Probably not the best time to re-watch Wall-E.

My cuticles look like a shark has been chomping on them.

Speaking of which, Todd managed to impale his finger – I mean crush (I stand corrected) – between the transmission and the something-something (whatever it’s called) and it got infected so he is presently on antibiotics and can’t drink. After my second drink, I pretend I don’t notice him giving me the stink eye.

I chased a vulture off my roof this morning for doing Riverdance over my living room ceiling.

Communication signals continue to get crossed inside the house. It’s why I drink.

Work life will shift next week into two teams with steady hours, assured through the end of May. Finally, I’m on the A Team! Squeee!!

I’m currently doing 2 miles a day on the treadmill. Why not run outside, you ask? Because I haven’t done so in a couple of years due to knee troubles. That’s not to say I’m not gearing myself up for an attempt. You’re never too old to run a 5k, again.

It takes approximately 18 toilet paper squares for #1. No count yet on #2. (I’ll ask the men to weigh in on that one.)

My dad, Silverfox, called me while he was out cutting the hedges per my stepmom, and he warned her it was going to look like a cone. He says one looks like Bart Simpson. And he hasn’t even had his first beer of the day.

I’m glad we had a nice talk, even if he spent half of it in hypertensive tones, because it always ends with laughter.

Sorry-not-sorry current binge: Gossip Girl. I’m not ashamed. It’s ridiculous but I need to see it through to the end. Completely dumb reason I started this show? Penn Badgley and YOU. (Bonus: I now know who Blake Lively and Leighton Meester are.)

Last night Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo were on CNN and aside from updates and another appearance by Dr. Sanjay (really, does this man do anything else?), it was a heartwarming love fest between them where I could’ve sworn they said they loved each other. Might’ve been the wine. I’m not sure.

Todd bought me something extra special on Amazon. I can’t wait to get it! Stay tuned.


Dream from the Rabbit Hole: Gone to NYC with family friends to see Billy Joel. There are easily two dozen people in our group, including my dad. We get separated once on the walk to the venue from our bus, but since I know my way around I’m not worried. The streets are nearly empty. We finally get to the venue and our group is waiting outside and extremely confused about which entrance is the right one. I’m annoyed and impatient, but trying not to be rude to our friend who planned and paid for this whole thing.

We get inside finally and I find myself separated from the group. I stand in front of one section looking for any face I recognize. I decide to call my dad and ask him to stand up so I can find him, but my phone is at 3% and I can’t get a call to go through. I walk to the back of one section and drop my bag down on an empty seat, which happens to be right outside the restroom, to look for my charger. I start to cry because I can’t find it and I’ll never locate my group. Eventually someone from the group walks by, in a big fluffy white bathrobe, on her way to the restroom and sees me. I ask her to please wait for me because I don’t know where they are. I lose her inside the restroom and then I wake up.

Day 14: The Common Denominator

That’s apparently what I am, since Todd and O don’t go out, and V and her dad and stepmother don’t go out. I’m the only one working outside the house.

It was decided, based on a handful of discussions, that it was best for V to stay put with her dad and O to stay put with me for the foreseeable future. It’s the last thing I want, to be separated indefinitely from my daughter. Emotions are running high now. V seems okay with it, for now. O, by stark contrast, was not happy. This is so not a good place to be only 14 days in.

Shout out to my brother, who talked O down off the wall Monday night. I am so grateful for his voice and his relationship with his nephew. The young man who emerged from his bedroom after that phone call was the polar opposite of the one shouting into my phone two hours earlier.

Latest dream from the rabbit hole: the rear passenger side tire is flat on the convertible. I move the car and learn that the whole damn wheel is broken. Like – in HALF. Opac is there. He offers to help but I don’t think he knows how to use Todd’s compressor any more than I do. (What the hell are we going to fix with that?) I need a car. I’m going to miss work. There’s a theme developing here.

Todd “goes to work” in the office downstairs. I hand him his coffee and he kisses me goodbye. Gotta keep up routine. Yesterday he asked me, what should I wear? I suggested he wear a shirt and tie, and boxer shorts. Have to keep things spicy.

He’s still singing Kenny Rogers songs. And he’s growing that sexy gray beard again. A tribute to The Gambler?? I’m not sure how long it will last, so I’m not saying anything.

I took PPL yesterday and drove an hour north to meet V’s dad with insulin and pump supplies, in case for any reason we aren’t able to connect. This whole situation is what they’re calling “fluid” at work. Anything can change, at any given time. Todd asked me how V was, because he knows me so well. (She was there and I DID hug her, with a mask on, so sue me.)

I’ve spent roughly $120 on diabetes supplies in the past week, and $500 on groceries, which is ironic considering I can’t get meat or canned and paper goods. The good news is, there was some stock available in the store today, to ease my anxiety a bit.

Fergus hasn’t been back. Maybe I’ve scared him away. Maybe he’s self-quarantining.

My vodka is almost empty and I’ve gained 5 pounds. Mom says I better get to the liquor store before they close too. I have no interest in going anywhere I don’t have to, but the supply is dwindling.

Pennsylvania has closed their liquor stores. Maryland’s remain open. Makes one wonder why – when every business has been ordered to close – liquor stores remain “essential” businesses. Because if we’re all drunk, we’re easier to control? How’s that for a conspiracy theory?

I have noticed that I’m starting to reconsider how much TP I’m using. I wonder if Todd or O has thought of it. I bet not.

On that note, this morning I realized how lucky I am that I’m quarantined with two MEN. If this was a house full of females, we’d already have been out of toilet paper. My condolences to those with daughters at home.

I have grand ideas of the projects I’m going to get done, and every day they’re still on my to-do list. Maybe today I’ll get one of them started, maybe not. It’s anybody’s guess.

I have received the instructions and access for remote work. This appears to be rolling out next week. I don’t have all the details yet but I need to work on setting up my laptop today. Or tomorrow.

Sabra has not had her bath yet.

At some point we’ll all be too tired, won’t we? Tired of staying home, tired of wiping doorknobs and countertops, tired of wondering if the grocery store has restocked butter and milk, tired of reading, tired of Netflix, tired of watching loved ones eat and wanting to strangle them?

Tired of listening to Cheetolini (who, by the way, is still tanning his face in the middle of a PANDEMIC) feed the public all the bullshit and using his expertise about a new deadly virus and the promise to get life back to normal maybe as early as next week?

The next, obvious, and completely rhetorical question is, is he kidding?

Meanwhile, last Friday a coworker shared a video of Aunt Mary Pat singing a parody of Jolene and now my ear worm sings COVID, COVID, COVID nineteeeeene all day every day. It’s been six days since I first heard it and the one-billionth time I’ve replayed it in my head. If you don’t know who Aunt Mary Pat is, here it is.  *If you hate ear worms, DO NOT click on this link.*

Day 11

Random Notes:

Still have plenty of TP.

We’re all gaining weight, even the dog, who is getting more treats from everyone in the house than she’s ever had.

The drip in the kitchen faucet is diabolical.

Dropped a bar of soap in the shower and learned it’s just as loud as a shampoo bottle.

Star Wars marathon?

My plants, for the first time in like the history of EVER, are thriving. My liver, not so much.

The dreams are growing more bizarre with each night, while some remain seriously realistic – like my kids being late for school and I have to drive them but I haven’t showered yet or packed my lunch and the kitchen counter is covered with hoarded items and the bathroom where I need to shower looks like something straight out of a camper – showerhead extending out over the toilet and where’s the drain? I’m not even looking any of this shit up in my dream dictionary.

Who wants horoscopes??

I yelled at Todd for eating the peanuts and he yelled at me for feeding them to Fergus.

Who else out there thinks we’re all going to die, buried under a mountain of Pinterest crafts?

Considered two new additions to the compound. Also considered how much it will cost to feed and groom THREE dogs.

Speaking of grooming, Sabra was scheduled this week for her routine grooming. Obviously…. Todd and I are going to have to do it instead. This could get ugly. Stay tuned.

The paper goods aisle is empty. I guess they bought up the tissues and paper towels since they couldn’t get TP. That’s all fine and good, unless you have a septic system.

I suggested to O that we pull out Risk, and he said – and I quote – “that game takes forever, like days.” I said, “that’s all we have.” “Oh yeah.”

Later that day, “what if Yoda was the Sith they were looking for?” He also wondered what if the Jedi were on the dark side and Palpatine was the good guy? I suggested he write that version. He said he wouldn’t know what to write. I suggested he just start with concept, and revealed that I often don’t know what to write or which direction to take. It all starts with a laptop, a quiet room, and listening to yourself.

At the time of this posting, he has not cleaned his room.

Zoom meeting friends last night! We raised our glasses and wondered how long this would last. (The shut-in, not the meeting.) It was short –because it was 11 pm and we all needed to go to bed – but worth it. I see more of these in my future. We’ll call them, #ZoomandDrink.

Todd recited the April showers bring May flowers incorrectly as March showers bring April flowers and, when I corrected him, he insisted he was right. No, it’s APRIL showers bring May flowers.  That’s wrong, he said. I told him he was wrong. Then I remembered that saying, do you want to be right, or do you want to be married, and decided to shut up. It’s going to be a long quarantine, they say, and we can’t afford to be bickering amongst ourselves about stupid shit, right? There will be plenty of time for annoying each other.

He has also begun texting me when he thinks I’m not listening to him.

We have a leaky pipe he had to repair this morning, only to find there was more to it to fix.

Other things failing miserably: the aforementioned kitchen faucet, the refrigerator, my will-power.

Got into an “exchange of words” with a woman from a neighboring town who said people in my town (which she referred to as Mayberry) “still think it is 1920 not 2020 and cousins marry cousins there.” Given her grammar skills, I should’ve just let it go. But – the keyboard warrior in me just can’t stay retired. This is the shit that got me in trouble with my mom when I was young.

Started reading The Beautiful Ones. There’s a photo of him with a guitar sitting on a bed, barefoot. I never imagined that he had feet. I can’t stop looking at that foot. It’s got me so distracted. It’s been 3 hours and I’m still thinking about it.

I don’t think any of us will get out of this without really bad hair, clothes that no longer fit, and liver disease.

Quarantine – Day 10

Just rolled out of bed and have not had my coffee yet. Todd is singing “Lady” in the kitchen, loudly, and I’m trying to ignore him. Sensing this, he turns his attention to Sabra and sings to her – which of course she loves because – treats.

“…. Saaaabra, your love’s the only love I need…”

“And it’s the only love you’ll have if you don’t stop singing that song.”

It’s day 10 of “quarantine” and it’s overcast this morning at 8 a.m. and much cooler than yesterday’s 76 degrees. Kenny Rodgers has passed away, not from coronavirus (I don’t think), and the world has lost another legend.

The cesspool of misinformed idiots on Facebook making hoax claims and hysteria-mongering statements about the government wanting us locked down so they can control us for anything other than the spread of a deadly virus with no cure, has settled somewhat. Instead, the news feed has been flooded with pictures of empty store shelves and memes about toilet paper and homeschooling.

The empty store shelves initially have no effect on you, kind of like hearing about a little virus making thousands of people on the other side of the world sick. Can’t happen to us. Except yesterday. Opac and I went to the store to pick up some food/essentials, albeit at the absolute wrong time of day, and aisle after aisle we pushed our cart through was empty. I mean, EMPTY. NO frozen foods. NO meat. NO boxes of pasta. NO canned goods. AT ALL.

But plenty of chips left, which is where I ran into a friend and promptly burst into tears. It’s odd to stand so far away from a friend in conversation, crying, surrounded by salty snacks. She and her daughter stood next to each other, while O and I stood next to each other.

I went to work yesterday, because healthcare. Todd didn’t want me to go. I don’t really want to go either, but I have to admit it was comforting to be there, a stark change from last Friday –day 2 of quarantine – when it was all so fresh and scary and we knew less.

In the mornings, we see only children 18 months and younger who need to keep up with the immunization schedule because the CDC does not want to see a return of measles and pertussis in the middle of this. We see sick patients in the afternoon and I can count on one hand how many we saw yesterday. We don’t have much work to do. It’s boring as hell but we keep up the laughter and this little bit of normalcy going to work is what helps.

We have Town Halls every day during lunch, except yesterday’s had to be cancelled in media res because some asshole who conferenced in didn’t mute his/her phone and the speaker, after multiple requests for folks to mute their phones in a voice much kinder than I would’ve used, decided to end the meeting. Really. How many of these have we had now? It’s not rocket science.

Meanwhile, Veruca returned home on Wednesday (day 7). We ignored the 6-foot distance and hugged continuously until she’d had enough and disappeared into her room. Later, she asked to braid my hair and I acquiesced, knowing full well I was going to look hideous like the last time. She insisted I didn’t look ridiculous before cracking up.

I dragged out Opac’s old Legos – four large boxes – commencing to rebuild his old sets. Todd was all in. And then I started getting edgy because he stepped in on my cleanup of the VW van for a moment – and that’s when I realized how the funny memes about families being trapped together for days are going to be so not funny in a few weeks.

O and I were talking a mile a minute last night in the kitchen over dinner, and – because I don’t want ya’ll to think I’m not annoying too – Todd interrupted me and I knew without him saying anything more that I needed to stop shouting and slow down.

So. Day 10. It’s now 9 a.m. on a Saturday and Todd has already designed a $60k addition on the back of our house with two bowling lanes in it and I’ve nearly finished my pot of coffee. V is back at her dad’s house – both he and his wife are now home indefinitely with all the shut-downs – and I’m glad that he’s a certifiable germaphobe who will protect her like a warden. O is still sleeping. He’s now accepted his lockdown sentence and we will be finding activities to make it a little less miserable. Not the first of which will be a deep cleaning of his smelly bedroom.

I have a handful of nuts I’m hoping to befriend a squirrel with. He came visiting on Day 8 with a giant walnut in his mouth… right up to the sliding glass door on his hind legs looking in. I have every reason to believe this is the same squirrel who buried a whole peanut in my planter on the deck and forgot about it, the same squirrel who “buried” a nut inside on our grill, and the same squirrel who used to peer in at Oliver sunning himself on the opposite side. I wondered briefly if he was actually looking for him.

I put a peanut on the doormat and waited for him to come back and he did! Sat on hind legs and gobbled it up. I’ve named him Fergus.


Stay strong! Stay healthy! Be responsible!







Roxy and June Take Cafe Iguana

“I got a six-pack of tall-boys for me and three coolers for you.” Roxy breathlessly bursts into my apartment with a large paper bag. She’s ready for action in her Norma Kamali jacket and short black skirt and, judging by the way she’s swaying slightly in the doorway, I know she’s already had at least one on the walk over. I don’t think we’ve ever gone out sober together.

I twist the cap off my first cooler, taste the sweet tanginess of the bubbles on my tongue, and examine myself in the mirror. Tonight I opted for a black wraparound top and black miniskirt. Got my infamous “witches shoes” on, the little pumps with the four straps across the top and grommets pinning them all together.

“Can’t wait to meet some awesome guys tonight to sweep us off our feet!” She says enthusiastically, smiling broadly as she hikes up her skirt to adjust her tights. I’m not sure I need some stranger to sweep me off my feet, but I’ll settle for some attention in light of my recent breakup with Christian. I don’t mention him, because she’ll scold me for pining over him again.


“Ugh! The line is so long!” Roxy whines melodramatically, as though there were a hundred people in front of us. In fact, there’s all of ten people, mostly men, waiting outside Café Iguana.

We’re in less than ten minutes later. Even though I’ve been here a half-dozen times, it still inspires a little bit of awe upon first entering. It’s not a big place, but it’s always wall-to-wall people. As in, I don’t know what the fire code is, but they’re dangerously close to a violation.

The wide, L-shaped bar is already three deep with people, the dance floor full, and the path around it all is crowded with bodies. Looking up to the open second floor,  past the giant iguana wrapped in Christmas tree lights and suspended from the ceiling, I see people lining the railing, overlooking the dance floor, jamming to Everybody, Everybody.

The male to female ratio seems to be about eight to one, and Roxy and I are probably the youngest ones in there. Most of the men are older, still wearing the suits they wore to work today. Simply put, the place is a meat market, and she and I are passing inspection by dozens of shameless eyes. I don’t much care for the place but she talked me into it, promising a good time. Whatever. It’s always fun with Roxy. If nothing else, it’ll certainly be entertaining.

As I push my way straight ahead to a small clearing near the DJ, I feel a hand brush my ass. What the hell! It’s almost impossible to avoid contact in a bar this crowded, but I suppose if you don’t like it stay home. It’s also so crowded it’s not only difficult to know what was intentional and what was not, but who you made contact with. Roxy is giving someone the evil eye.

Once we get to the clearing I turn back to face the “dancefloor,” which is one step down from where I’m now standing and looks like a writhing, rhythmic movement of limbs and bodies. Everywhere, people are scoping people out. I scan the sea of faces and spot a cute one, at the moment his eyes rest on me. He’s smiling at me, but there are far too many people between us and the bouncer gives me a nudge.

“Keep it moving!” he bellows, his voice booming over the thrumming beat in my ears.

“Go to the bathroom!” Roxy shouts into the back of my hair. I can hear the irritation in her voice, and I know without looking she’s got the look that kills all over her face. But people are moving so damn slow, some not moving at all, that it’ll take us an hour to get where we’re going. Someone’s spiked heel sinks into my foot. Ow!

I wonder why people come here. Why am I here? Oh yeah – I wanted to have an evening no other bar could offer. I can’t explain why, except that the people who come here are a little wilder than what I’m used to. Café Iguana is not our “usual” bar scene.

Anyway, ten minutes and a few bruises later, we finally get into the bathroom. It’s always steamy and the hairspray has literally burnt a hole in the air supply. There are already five girls in here, one doubled over the attendant’s stool with her head between her knees. The stall directly in front of her is empty, with the door wide open. I hear faint moans coming from the one next to it, a pair of red shoes peeking out from under the door. The attendant looks frazzled and I feel sorry for her; this is a thankless job and tonight is no exception.

“He’s so awesome, you know? He said I have the most beautiful eyes he’s ever seen,” a short brunette in an orange bustier says to a taller version of herself, who is wearing a black cropped top that barely covers her breasts.

“It’s so hot in here,” Roxy says to me, patting the back of her neck with a paper towel. She bends over and flips her long hair to make it fuller. I pull out my lipstick and lean into the mirror. The two girls, leaning into each other giggling, open the door to go out.

“Guess who’s getting a ride home tonight?” I say sarcastically, watching them stumble out the door, the sudden splash of loud club music pouring in as the door slowly closes behind them.

Another girl in a spandex outfit, who has been primping herself at the mirror since we walked in added, “yeah, every guy in here is only after one thing.” Her eyes never leave the image in the mirror. She grabs one of the hairspray cans on the counter and sprays her six-inch blonde bangs, as if they would dare to move anyway.

“Yeah, just once I’d like to meet a nice guy in a bar… my knight in shining armor!” Roxy says flippantly, laughing at herself in the mirror.

“Oh yeah – tall, dark, handsome, rich, nice red Porsche…” the tall blonde adds with a thoughtless smile. I guess there’s no harm in dreaming. I don’t think I’ll meet Mr. Wonderful in Café Iguana, or any bar for that matter. Any relationship just seems, I don’t know, doomed that way.

Roxy and I head out to the bar – a formidable attempt to get a drink. She plows her way through the crowd of dancing drunks like a boss. Something cold and wet spills onto my arm, and I feel a tug on the back of my hair but I don’t turn around. Roxy’s going full speed ahead and I don’t want to lose her.

When she finally reaches the bar, she leans seductively over it, waves her AmEx card, and orders two Long Island Iced Teas. I stand behind her like a shadow, waiting for her to hand me my drink. She’s talking to some guy with a pony tail next to her so I survey the crowd, hoping to catch sight of my friend with the gorgeous smile.

As I mentioned, the men here are mostly mid-to-late twenties; some businessmen judging by the suits, some look like they could be models  – a veritable sea of dark-haired men (haven’t quite figured that one out yet). There are few standouts – meaning, they don’t fit the unspoken criteria for entry and yet here they are.

I accidentally catch the eye of this scary-looking, slightly balding older man. I quickly look away, but in this arena I already know it’s too late. I made eye contact. He empties his glass and slithers over to me. I try to engage Roxy in conversation, but she’s deeply engrossed in Pony Tail and she merely hands me my drink and turns back to him.

“Smile!” Baldy leans in and smiles at me. “Aren’t you having a good time?” He says something else but I don’t hear him over the noise.

“Observing. It’s what I do.” I don’t look at him, but continue searching the crowd for someone. Anyone.

“Well, I was watching you and you have the most gorgeous smile I’ve ever seen.” What a line of bullshit! I feel like saying something rude, but instead pretend I don’t hear him. Go away, go away, go away….

“What’s your name?” He’s not getting the hint. I’m getting annoyed. I take a long sip of my drink, and shut my eyes to savor the dizzying effects of the liquor. There’s really nowhere for me to go; I’m surrounded by people and I don’t want to lose Roxy.

“Hey!” Roxy yells into the back of my hair, slapping her hand down on my shoulder. I spin around, nearly spilling what’s left of my drink. She introduces me to Pony Tail, whose name is Damon. He is something to behold. He smiles a perfect smile, and his eyes linger briefly on my breasts. Jesus Christ. I turn around again, annoyed.

Baldy has disappeared, finally, so I resume my people-watching. Ice Ice Baby is rocking the entire bar and the dance floor is one big, cohesive seizure. Things are starting to get a little blurry.

The entertainment is now up on the bar, and all eyes are on the two lovelies who get up there every night and proceed to reveal their latest lingerie. Tonight it’s red lace panties under very short dresses. This is what attracts the sleazy assholes who hit on me. I wonder why I degrade myself by even coming here.

“There you are!” This man, dressed all in white with his shirt unbuttoned to the navel and a small gold medallion resting on a tuft of chest hair, says to me with a broad smile. I glance around me. He can’t be talking to me.

“Ven…..conmigo!” He grabs me by the arm, confirming my worst fears. He’s certainly very sure of himself, and I’m suddenly worried about what’s coming. Lambada is playing, of all things. For the love of God, why?

He pulls me tightly to him and begins to move. I’ve never been good at dancing with a partner. My body doesn’t understand someone else leading. It can’t get much worse.  We’re moving so fast it’s making me dizzy and I’m just too weak to get away. Now this is funny. I’m so drunk that I can’t help but laugh at this ridiculous predicament I’m in and that I look like a complete fool. I am laughing so hard I can’t even dance anymore, his body and his arms pulling me along like a giant rag doll. Might as well go with the flow, as Roxy always says. Am I really doing the Lambada?

He eventually gives up on me, bless his little Latin soul, because he thanks me and kisses my cheek like a true gentleman. Still, I try to lean away from his kiss, but I almost lose my balance. Someone’s hand presses against my back. Lambada King moves on to his next victim and I’m suddenly alone. With no drink. And no Roxy.

I start to make my way back to the bar to buy another Long Island Iced Tea. “Hey beautiful!” I hear someone say. I don’t bother to look. Besides, if I turn my head around too fast I’ll get dizzier and fall down. No, really, it’s happened before.

Dancing people are bumping into me but I’m numb and just allow myself to be propelled by the crowd. I wonder where the hell Roxy has gotten to. Probably in a dark corner upstairs with Pony Tail. I hope she doesn’t leave without me. Not that she’s ever done that, but alcohol can really mess with your sense of security in a public place surrounded by strangers when you can’t find your friends.

Fresh drink in hand, I’m about to start searching for the two of them when I see him again, the guy who smiled at me from the other side of the bar what seems like hours ago. He’s seen me too. He’s smiling shyly at me, so I smile back and take a long sip of my drink. It’s going down like water now. He makes his way over to me. God, he’s hot! I take a deep breath.

He’s from Brazil, and now living in New York. He’s asking me questions and suddenly leans into my neck. He says he likes my perfume and leans in again, this time brushing my neck with his lips. Holy wow! That was forward. My stomach flips over.

“So… are…?” What did he say? I can’t hear him over the music. I just smile and bask in the warmth of his proximity and attention.

And then all of sudden Roxy appears, screaming in my ear something about a song and, “we have to dance!” She pulls me along, shoving her way up onto a bench and dragging me with her. I try to protest, but there’s no stopping her and she can’t hear me anyway. I’ve never seen her dance this way before. I down what’s left of my drink that didn’t spill on the way to the bench and start dancing. I’m laughing but have no idea why or what’s so funny.

“What battery are you on?” I hear someone shout at us. Roxy is trying to tell me, as we’re dancing, how she kissed Pony Tail and he wanted to take her home but she wasn’t ready to leave yet so she gave him her number. I don’t know why they bother. They never call anyway.

I start to tell her about Marco when I realize he’s gone. I scan the crowd and see him standing nearby, talking to some girl with boobs spilling out over her top, and he’s leaning into her neck. I can’t believe it. What an ass!

Some guido grabs me by the waist and is dancing behind me. I make a drunken attempt to unwrench his hands from me but he seems determined to hold on. “Get your hands off me!” Works like magic.

Roxy has been seized by his friend and, laughing, she performs some bizarre dance on his leg. What the hell is she doing? The two guys offer us a ride home and Roxy starts to follow them but I say no. I may be drunk but I’m not stupid.

We grab a cab from the line of cabs waiting outside, and head home.


Creative writing. Original piece written in Spring 1992. Any similarity or resemblance to persons, real or imagined, is not intentional and solely for entertainment purposes.


Clubs Shatter Peace of Gramercy Park

Minute By Minute, Hour By Hour

While the world at large is fist-fighting over toilet paper and going to the store wearing garbage bags over their heads with the eyes cut out …

Veruca was pissed as all get-out that a) I wouldn’t let her go to bestie’s Quinciñera practice, and b) I kept her home from school on Friday.  The Quinciñera is a HUGE event with several costume changes and a choreographed dance with her friends that they are practicing weekly with a dance instructor. According to V, the girls will also have “outfits” they will wear for the routine itself. This is an event not unlike the planning of a wedding.

V insisted bestie will “cut” her from the dance. She would rather contract a deadly respiratory virus than not be able to dance at the Quinciñera. She doesn’t even care if it’s with half a lung.

Friday afternoon she made a rabid phone call to me over missing school and the handouts the teachers distributed for the weeks they’ll be out. I told her to email her teachers and remarked that I know she wasn’t the only one out of school today. She was, she hissed, since all of her friends went to school today and she missed her computer science test – a class, mind you, she dismissed just 3 days ago as one where they “do nothing every day.”

Her school announced Thursday night, shortly after I said she’s not attending Q practice, it was closing for two weeks as of Monday. So I decided she’s not going to school Friday. Softball practice has also been cancelled until April, which also pissed her off because it’s all just “stupid.”

Meanwhile back in college-land…Todd’s college closed Wednesday until the month’s end though he’s working from home every day and fielding apocalypse-type emails from faculty and staff… and Opac finally got the word around 9 pm Thursday night that students should pack up all their belongings and go home by Sunday. They will finish the semester online. He was packed up and home roughly 3 hours later.

O’s friends were “excited” that he was home and he wanted to have them over Friday night. I said to Todd in the morning before I left for work and I quote, “I cannot stress enough how important it is to limit face-to-face contact and/or have any unnecessary contact right now with anyone who doesn’t live in the same house.” Apparently there was a miscommunication and suddenly Opac had friends pulling into the driveway after we “thought” there would only be three coming over. He ended up rounding everyone up and they all left. Not exactly the outcome I wanted, but better than a bunch of young men shouting over the pool table all night and spreading disease on every surface in the basement.

I woke up Friday morning at 6, the warm knowledge that my kids and my husband were all home in their beds and the irony that it would be me who was going to the job in a healthcare facility, and me who has the best shot at bringing this virus home. I listened to CNN on my way to work, which I haven’t done for weeks for various reasons. And, as I parked my car, I knew why. My anxiety was climbing and I had a full day ahead to try to NOT focus on the elephant in the room. I’m not a particularly assertive person, but this virus has motivated the zero tolerance in me. “It’s just allergies” does not exempt you from wearing a mask. Sorry, not sorry. Seriously, why do people argue?

For what it’s worth, we are getting daily (at the very least) updates on COVID-19. Masks are being kept at the front desk and are handed out to patients/parents/guardians who have a cough. The days of dad wearing a mask in solidarity with his coughing child are currently over. No cough – no mask. We are getting calls daily about the virus, and parents who are beginning to cancel well visits. (V had one scheduled this week that I just cancelled.)

The hospital is limiting visitors to two healthy parents only (no family or siblings) and I believe that is to be the norm going forward in ambulatory settings as well. Except, how to explain to families that they cannot bring siblings to appointments? We are asking the respiratory and exposure questions on the phone now. However, please note that we know what you know. We do not have any inside knowledge.

Todd and I went grocery shopping Wednesday after V left for school – roughly 7:30 a.m. – and there were few people there. There was one multi-pack of disinfectant wipes and it landed in my cart, which I quickly covered with other items – hearing tales of fist fights over Chlorox wipes, I had no intention of getting a black eye for the sake of clean doorknobs. I also contributed to the Great Toilet Paper Famine of 2020 and picked up a 12-pack of Scott tissue. All the plusher TPs were already gone. And forget hand sanitizer.

We returned yesterday because our previous $300 shopping trip did not take into account O’s permanent return to the household. This woman, who already had 3 gallons of milk in her cart, kept backing up as she bent over to peer into the milk cases until she had completely cut Todd off.  And then had the audacity to be annoyed and snarky with him. Really?  REALLY?! I wanted to slap a bitch, but Todd steered me away and reminded me that people are under stress. A little common courtesy people! We’re all in this together – a smile and a little kindness goes a long way.

It’s Sunday. I’ve been writing this since Friday with numerous edits and interruptions. V is staying with her dad until Wednesday, while I work the next two days. She has calmed down since Friday, enjoying the peacefulness there without “O and his loud friends.” Todd has gotten a lot done, both with work and household/car stuff, and driving me nuts with frequent updates from the Johns Hopkins’ map of up-to-the-minute stats on coronavirus cases. He’s currently building Legos on the dining room table.

Neph was here yesterday and I can hardly believe the next part of this sentence…Opac helped him change the oil in his car. I made ham and cheese sliders and a double batch of cookies, dragged out the old Lego boxes, and drank tequila until I fell asleep. Opac took off with a friend later and didn’t come home until this morning and now I have to have another pain in the ass conversation with him about unnecessary social contact and the risks to the old folks and his Type 1 sister.

Stay safe ya’ll.