My Pandemic Diary, Entry #31

My Pandemic Diary, Entry #31

Hello Fellow City Cooks,

It’s a chilly Thursday. My weather app says that it’s currently snowing but all I see is a gray day. The app also says that it’s 74° and sunny on this April day in Paris.

Like this gray New York day, I’m also a bit dreary today. When we've never needed it more to be otherwise, Washington is like a stumbling rugby scrum, with heads down and butting one another while getting nowhere. What a tragic mess with deadly consequences. The global headlines have spots of light, as the news that in the U.K., clinical trials are starting for a vaccine. Unlike in the U.S., where the chief scientist charged with leading our efforts for a vaccine was removed from his job for politics. As I said, it’s a tragic mess.  

Here at home, my home, in an apartment that has become both a universe and captivity, it’s going to be a day like most others with some writing, housekeeping, cooking and bits of other work. I should also organize the blizzard of little pieces of paper on my desk, each one a catalogue of something: freezer contents, meals already made, meals yet to come, my next grocery list in formation, the problems I’m having with my computer so to be ready for another mammoth call with Apple tomorrow, tasks to do today, tasks to do when we get sprung, friends to call, French podcasts, notes about Jeremy Denk’s amazing live-streamed Bach lectures at The Greene Space, and ideas for a new resumé because I’m thinking that if we survive this journey, I might want to try and again work out in the world because I’m anticipating that what used to be a chosen luxury – to work from home – may be the last thing I’ll want to do if I have the option to do otherwise.

I’ve always been a list-maker. When I put things on a list it gives me the illusion of being in control and then there’s the satisfaction of crossing things off when you’re done which lets me go to sleep feeling accomplished, even if all I’ve done is a cursory open-and-close-the-door inventory of the freezer. Sometimes I even put insignificant things on a list just to be able to cross them off, making me content but in fact, a productivity phony.

When this journey began, I resolved to get through this pandemic with some degree of mental health by taking it day-to-day, even days like today when I am restless and distracted and when my carefully crafted combo of writing, cooking, French, exercise, connecting with friends, and taking care of my home and my dear husband are not going to be enough to make me feel safe and calm. Usually when I feel like this, I'd go to the gym but absent that, the cure is to turn my attention away from my own problems by reading. So after picking up the apartment, defrosting some chicken thighs, and putting up a pot of soup, I’ll get back to my book and salvage this day.

Stay safe and have a nice dinner.

Kate McDonough




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