A Family of Adults Join with Neighbors to Survive Alone, Together.

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Category: Resident Editorials
Published on Friday, 26 June 2020 10:57
Written by Gavin Glynn
JuneGavin2webPandemically speaking, my household of four adults and four fur babies are learning how to get to know each other all over again.

Three of my adult children, who are currently living at home, are finally behaving the way I wanted them to behave as teenagers - clearly communicating their feelings, respecting other's opinions, helping out when they see something which needs to be done...without having to be asked.

But the first week was rough. We were all so anxious we isolated ourselves even further in our own rooms with our weapons of brain mass destruction:  a smart tv, laptop and cellphones.  We would only see each other either virtually on Zoom or at the dinner hour.  Almost every utterance began with “What do you think is gonna happen when….”

I tried to find the colloidal silver lining within the Mayor's  “secure in place” ordinance by finally catching up on my household chores, paying lingering bills and writing the great American novel...by Thursday.  I jumped into both ortho boots and mowed the lawn, changed every burned out bulb with a clean & green bulb provided by the overpriced DWP, washed the doggy beds and floor rugs for fleas, hung up clocks and mirrors sitting just 5 feet below where they were to be hung one day.  However, I could not muster up one word for a novel much less a slant on the novel corona virus.

Just for laughs I googled “what do writers do in a writer’s slump” and lo' and behold there were hundreds of hits.  I clicked on novelist Henry Miller’s writing routine…a specific schedule every day of breakfast, painting, writing for two hours no matter what and then go outdoors.  I whipped up gourmet breakfasts followed by architectural coloring books, then took the fur babies out for long over extended walks, with a mask.

But still,  ideas weren’t happening anywhere in my life.  I checked-in with my local editor (or my local water boarding torturer for high journalistic standards) of this very news magazine and she made the point that being still puts us through the typical stripping away layers of distracting mundane-ness and deeply embedded anxieties, but by week three my fingers would be raging across my keyboard. Week three arrived just like the #33 bus, right on time and fresh ideas began to ferment, foment and fragment into other ideas.

I replaced coloring with baking which I'd always hated. I don't like baby sitting the oven because something could burn in as little as 30 seconds. But I followed the directions of long held recipes I'd found during the my stay-at-home purging of shelves and drawers. I stuck to the drill and followed each volume to exactness and set the timer on the commercial oven and walked away with confidence.  I realize now, I was Covid baking.  Keeping anxiety at bay by following the rules closely for desired results…like living longer.

I gave my confections  away  to my neighbors, using sterilized  containers from recently excavated hoardings of Pyrex.  I was grateful (so were my kids) to have something to do, to give away and to get rid of the Pyrex hoards. My neighbors unfortunately returned all my containers empty but with lovely "so tasty" on thank you post-its.  Then I started to receive porch pastries, cakes, and pies over the next few weeks and I of course returned the flavors, in my containers. What an antithesis to the West Adams porch package pirates!

Then at exactly 8 pm we all join on our front porches with pots and pans to bang out a "joyful noise" for our essential workers and frontliners…eight weeks non-stop thus far.  Memorial day weekend we hosted our own driveway BBQs for our households.  The block chair hosted a DJ on the corner with the Hot Box food truck for burgers fake and real.  The cook/truck driver squawked out our house addresses for solitary pick-ups. A local caterer heard about our doings and she baked up cookies in  loot bags and laid them at our front stoops.

We also had a competition of yard decorations and the neighbors went cray-cray so much that our Senior Lead Officer drove down 7th Avenue honking her horn to send her praises for community involvement.  There were Tiki totem poles, crepe paper bushes, red & blue balloons along with silver stars, miniature flags, a wading pool, wine picnics and at our home we decorated out ginormous pine tree with 72 white lights one for each of the nurses who died in the first wave of the pandemic.  The U.S. Surgeon General says to go outside and see each other and wave to each other because we need to see we are surviving the storm, get some vitamin D sunshine for pulmonary strength and not die from isolation but thrive from it unlike many elderly in long term care.

In our dinner table heart to hearts, my family all agreed it is likely we will eventually get the Covid 2019 virus. Hopefully, when it is reduced to a weaker flu strain ten years from now.  The Hong Kong Flu of 1968 is now the common strain, Influenza A, still hanging around, four decades later.
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