Nummer Drei

It is best to erase all personal history because that makes us free from the encumbering thoughts of other people.  I have, little by little, created a fog around me and my life.  And now nobody knows for sure who I am or what I do.  Not even I.  How can I know who I am, when I am all this?” ~ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan

Day 3.  I felt grateful today to be at home.  My stomach had been bothering me all morning, such that I had to run to the bathroom a few times.  It was a good day to be grateful for what I have.  I live in a beautiful pre-war apartment in New York City and with the freedom to empty my insides and clean up myself afterwards.  I thought of all the poor and homeless people who don’t have such luxuries that I do, and I immediately felt ashamed for my attitude the last two days.  Hopefully I’ll remember this at day 27 or even at day 192.  I mean who knows how long this health crisis will last, right?  I just have to keep reminding myself that I am truly one of the lucky ones, and that boredom really is the problem of the privileged.

I had another busy work day today.  I sat down to work at 8:30 a.m. and didn’t stop working until 11:00 p.m. (except for a few bathroom breaks and a quick 15 minute break to eat dinner).  After work, I forced myself to do some leg exercises.

For those of you who have been reading me from the beginning (2003!), you might have noticed that I’ve deleted (hidden) my prior posts.  Before I started this home quarantine, I archived all my old posts, which totaled nearly five hundred.  It was an emotional roller coaster reading through them.  Some posts made me cringe, some made me laugh, and a few more made me cry.  My only wish after having read them is that I should have written more.  There was a stretch of a few years when I wrote nothing.   Not one word.  I remember what I was doing during those years, but I cannot say for certain how I was doing.  Feelings fade and memories are fickle.  I wish I had my own words to give an accurate portrayal of those lost years.

I hid my past posts because I wanted to start a new chapter of my life.  A clean sheet.  A fresh start.

Little did I know that life truly would be forever different.  Welcome to the black plague of the modern world.

Numero Dos

“Reality continues to ruin my life.” ~ Bill Watterson, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes 

Today was slightly better than yesterday.  I actually left the apartment and went downstairs to the mail area.  My shipment of canned goods had arrived as well as G’s bags of hot cheetos.

It’s a sad state of affairs when that becomes the highlight of your day.

The mayor announced that a “shelter in place” order may be put into effect.  That would mean that movement would be limited to people with essential jobs like police officers, firefighters, and health care workers.  It would require people to largely stay at home except for essential activities and it would forbid people who do not live in the same house from gathering anywhere.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking about Anne Frank a lot lately.  I keep thinking about how she and her family were holed up in the secret annex.  She was in hiding for 761 days.  She had written about how she considered Sunday the most miserable day of the week.

“I wander from one room to the next, down the stairs and back up again and feel like a songbird that has had its wings torn off and flies against the bars of its cage in total darkness.”

Meanwhile, I’m only at day 2 and I feel as if I am crawling out of my skin.

To keep my mental health in check, I decided to focus more on my physical health.   Yesterday, I exercised my arms, and today, I exercised my core.

My goal is to come out of this isolation with a ripped body.

Day 1 of What Feels Like Forever

“Everybody is waiting for the end to come, but what if it already passed us by? What if the final joke of Judgment Day was that it had already come and gone and we were none the wiser? Apocalypse arrives quietly; the chosen are herded off to heaven, and the rest of us, the ones who failed the test, just keep on going, oblivious. Dead already, wandering around long after the gods have stopped keeping score, still optimistic about the future.” ~ Jonathan Nolan, Memento Mori

Today (now yesterday) was day 1 of isolation in New York City.  Schools are closed until April 20.  Offices have imposed mandatory work-from-home policies.  Restaurants are open only for delivery or take-out.  People have panicked and have emptied store shelves of basic necessary items such as toilet paper, canned goods, and frozen vegetables.

Words like social-distancing and self-quarantine are the most used terms in recent weeks.  Travel to nearly every point on this planet is banned.

Life as we knew it came to a screeching halt.

We didn’t step out of the apartment today.  I woke up early and made my bed.  I showered and went straight to work in my living room.  I spent nearly ten hours straight working on my computer, stopping only for a few minutes for bathroom breaks, and to quickly boil some pasta and whip up some sauce.  We’ll probably eat that all week.  The television stayed off all day.  I heard the kids in nearby apartments playing video games.  Another kid was practicing piano, playing the same Christmas tune over and over and over again as though he or she did not know any other songs to play.  My upstairs neighbors, who I hear on a daily basis, were also home all day too, their heavy footsteps seemingly becoming louder and louder as the day progressed.

At 10:30 p.m., I finally got up and did a few arm exercises with my kettle bell and hand weights.  I turned on Pretty in Pink and watched some of that.

Has it really only been one day of isolation?


“Every period of human development has had its own particular type of human conflict—its own variety of problem that, apparently, could be settled only by force.  And each time, frustratingly enough, force never really settled the problem.  Instead, it persisted through a series of conflicts, then vanished of itself—what’s the expression—ah, yes, ‘not with a bang, but a whimper,’ as the economic and social environment changed.  And then, new problems, and a new series of wars.” ~ Isaac Asimov, I, Robot

I had high hopes for the start of this new decade.  This past decade, while better than the one before that, was still a period of my life that I was ready to leave behind.  It was a decade marred by loss and misplaced expectations, broken hearts and shattered dreams.  But, by the end of the decade, I grieved over everything I had endured and lost, took all my baggage, turned it over, and dumped it all out.  I was ready to start fresh this year, this decade, and then..

… the coronavirus hit.

Life has changed dramatically all throughout the globe.  The world is at war, but the enemy cannot be seen.  Biological warfare.  The virus is silent and deadly, and as of now, there is no known cure.  

Entire nations have instituted lockdowns.  Sporting events have all been cancelled.  Broadway has gone dark.  Schools and colleges have closed campuses.  Stores and malls have been shut.  Many offices have instituted remote work from home.

We had planned to visit the Philippines for Easter and to visit my aging parents.  Yesterday, the Philippine president issued a lockdown in Manila.  I may enter the country, but then I’ll be quarantined in Manila for two weeks.

This morning, I went to the market to do my normal weekly food shopping.  The shelves were nearly empty as panic-buying apparently started two days ago.  The streets were nearly empty though, as many people are fearful to step outside their homes.

Anger and hatred towards Asians increased exponentially, especially here in New York City.  Earlier this week, I was on the subway platform waiting for my train to go to work.  A man screamed in my face as I walked down the platform, “It’s your people’s fault!”  I was fortunate that I was only verbally assaulted.  Some have not been as fortunate.  A twenty-three year old Chinese woman was walking near the Empire State Building when another woman punched her in her face simply for being Chinese, and earlier in the month, a Chinese man was pushed and sprayed with lysol while being berated for being Chinese.

It has been such a dark and tumultuous start to the new decade.  The decade is already looking so bleak.