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So far Ronda Spinak has created 98 blog entries.
Jack and Jill met on J-Date two weeks and a day before the city was shut down because of the Coronavirus. They emailed every day or so and finally decided to meet at a coffee shop halfway between. Both were mostly fair representations of their photographs. Jill didn’t wear glasses in the photo and it had been taken about five years before. Jack looked a bit paunchier and was likely a few years older than his photo.
More concerning to Jill was the fact that when she waved at Jack from the table where she was sitting, he didn’t respond. She got up and approached him at the ordering counter.
He smiled, but didn’t seem to recognize her. “Yes.
“I didn’t recognize you.”
“I would have taken off my glasses but I wouldn’t have been able to see you. Ever since Oprah started wearing her 500 different pairs, glasses have become chic.”
They sat together in front of a fake fireplace.
“I had no idea,” Jack said. He took a pair of reading glasses out of his pocket and put them on. “That’s better. You’ve already clarified my life.”
“Hope that’s a good thing.”
“When you changed our meeting date, I thought you were blowing me off.”
“The weather in February is so unpredictable in Chicago, I didn’t want to have to drive in 6 inches of snow.”
She sipped her coffee.
“And it never did snow. Not even a dusting.”
“I was surprised when you said you belonged to my synagogue,” he said.
“I just joined at the High Holidays.”
“That explains it, I guess. I go out of town.”
They talked another hour or so and shook hands before going to their cars.
The next day the governor of the state announced a “stay at home” order.
Jill’s email: I guess we can’t meet for a while.
Jack’s email: We can email. That will take care of the waiting period.
Jill’s email: Not necessarily. Emails are not dates.
Jack’s email: Our first fight. I can’t wait to make up.
Jill’s email: Time will tell.
Thank you Gayle, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series:
Strolling at a brisk rate, it took me 13 minutes to walk the interior parameter of an empty playground – empty, that is, with the exception of two 12 year old boys inhabiting a bench that is usually occupied by tired mothers and over-stuffed diaper bags. “What are those boys thinking?” I wondered on my eighteenth rotation. Suddenly, the pre-teens disappeared as quietly as the City has become in a matter of days.
My FitBit beeped: 2,700 steps to reach your goal. “My goal?” I thought. Oh, my goals have changed drastically in the past 96 hours! And while it’s alarming that my cupboards are stuffed with enough carbs to raise my cholesterol 100 points, and it’s disappointing to have three productions canceled, I’m overwhelmed by the fact that I will be unable to see my grandchildren for, what? Two weeks? Forty-five days?
I face-timed with my older granddaughter, Tallulah, as she finished her lunch. “What are you up to, Lulu?” I asked. “Me and mom were playing hairdresser in the bathroom.” “That sounds like fun,” I said. Tallulah paused for a moment. “Too pensive,” I thought. I flipped my removable denture out of my mouth – something that always makes her laugh. Tallulah giggled and said, “Grandma, when I come for my next sleepover, we can play hairdresser, too. You can share my barrettes!” I nodded agreeably.
Since Tallulah was born, I’ve spent 20-40 hours a week playing babysitter. After her sister arrived last year, I’ve been visiting my charges four days a week and sharing childcare responsibilities with my daughter, who works from home. “What is Lulu thinking about my absence?” I keep wondering.
Yes, children are resilient. Tomorrow, Lulu and I will face-time again and, as promised, play a new game I purchased – an afterthought as I paid for water, canned turkey chili, wipes, TP, and coffee. Maybe I can hold her attention for a while longer. If not, I’ll just remove my bottom denture to hear my granddaughter laugh.
When our phone call ended, I wept as silently as the empty City before turning on the news.
Thank you Bara, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series:
Actually, my personal experience is a moving message that a friend found in the text of Moses’ healing prayer for his sister, Miriam (El na refa na lah – Oh G-d, please heal her)
Corona is embedded in the text. Oh my.
Thank you Aviva, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series:
I went out to get the mail this afternoon and my neighbor Herc was getting into his car with a
friend. I hadn’t spoken to him in a month.
“How are you holding up?” he asked. I knew what he meant.
“It’s hardly affected me. I never go out except to the bodega. I’m a hermit. But I wonder how it’s influencing the economy…bars and restaurants are closing unless they seat fewer than 25, people aren’t traveling, and they don’t want to go to movies, concerts, or the theatre.”
“It’s gonna be the best thing that ever happened to our economy,” Herc answered. “I’m a
Herc isn’t into buying and spending and all the claptrap of a capitalist society. He shrugged. So we chatted for a minute about the debate between Biden and Sanders last night. He’d missed it but heard a report from a friend.
“I’d be happy with either of them,” I said.
“They’re both creeps,” he replied. “And I’m a real Socialist. I don’t like anyone who was in the running.”
“You know,” I said, returning to the previous conversation, “Kids are pretty safe. If they get the coronavirus it’s more like a bad cold, nothing serious.”
“I know,” he nodded. “And I’m in my 60s, but I’m not worried. I’m not that old.”
I smiled at him. Just then his friend leaned out of the car and waved down a woman who was
walking by with a big shopping bag.
“Where’d you get the toiler paper?” he asked her.
“Little shop down the street.” She kept walking. I suddenly found myself wondering if I had a good supply of toilet paper myself. But it seemed likely I did.
“You know,” I said to Herc, “more people die from the flu than from this.”
Since I don’t see him often I like being cheerful around him. I said goodbye and turned away as he and his friend got ready to drive off.
But when I went back into my apartment after opening my mailbox that the postman had
touched, I washed my hands. You don’t want to argue with good health.
Thank you Martha, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series:
I slip into the jacuzzi tub
As it fills with warm water.
I breathe deeply
My eyes close
As it bubbles around me
And my hair lifts and floats
Like a mermaid
Swimming free in the ocean.
A soothing caress
On my shoulders, arms, legs, feet.
I slide to a good spot
The jet of water
Between my open legs
Gentle as a kitten
Lapping milk from a saucer
Dreaming of you.
I move closer to the jet
Both hands grasp the faucet behind me
Pretending it is you
Holding my wrists
Flying with you
Into the galaxy
To what we share
To you on top of me
Your arms around me
Your lips on mine
Me wrapped around you
This is love in the time of Coronavirus
Thank you for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series:
All right. I don’t lie. Shit is jacked. I’m writing to you from America in the year 2020, which you actually have to write out fully on every document placed before you because apparently some genius was all “They could fill out whatever year they want to after the ’20,’” which makes zero fucking sense because we could have done that through all of ’19 as well and no one blinked. That is the kind of dumb-ass mentation we are forced deal with now.
For the record, I would rather go through this fuckery with ANY SPECIES ON THE PLANET OTHER THAN HUMAN BEINGS. I would deal with pigs, dogs, birds (who are bona fide assholes) and even horses – who personally scare the shit out of me and require too much upkeep for the kind of lip they give.
If I had my druthers, my personal preference of animal to weather this storm with would be raccoons. I have very valid and rational reasons for wanting to ride and die with them, but that can wait for a future debate. I seriously doubt anyone has given more thought to their apocalypse-sidekick animal than I have. Raccoon. Every Fucking Day Of The Week.
But let’s move on to our new reality, shall we? My mamas, my papas – we are on our own here in limbo land. I don’t know what that means other than if you get too close to me at the grocery store, I’m gonna elbow you in the tit… but I will also give you half of my toilet paper if you need it. We gotta take care of each other. We are all freaked out (or should be) and we can eat each other later if it gets to that. For now, let’s just be kind?
My dog is apparently fully attuned and adjusting to this new reality. Nine confirmed kills over the last two weeks. Dog knows when he needs to step his game up to prove his value to the fam, yo. He just dumped, yet another gopher (which looks like a russet potato that grew disturbingly large teeth) in the house. But it’s him, picking up on the vibes in the ether, doing his part to let us know there are means, there is sharing, and if we take care of each other we can make it through this.
Let’s hope the day never comes when I’m sending you the recipe for gopher pie. But if I do, you better damn well believe it’s gonna be delicious. Stay safe. Imagine me dry hugging (TM) the shit out of you.
(See aforementioned killer below. You’re welcome.)
Thank you Suzanne, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series:
The squirrels are partying under my orange tree eating more citrus than I can possibly pick. The green onions are taking over my yard bouncing white blossoms in the breeze. Arrogant arugula ignores the rocks between my manicured beds, spreading, heading for my neighbor’s yard. Nature knows no boundaries, no borders between yards, nations, families or faiths. She is an equal opportunity benefactor, empowering babies as well as bacteria.
Nature’s been trying to get our attention for a long time and now she’s got it. We’ve been fighting her all our lives, and now we must humbly admit her powers are uncontestable. But in return, the air is clearer of pollutants as our driving and producing and consuming slacken. We are forced into stillness and valuing simpler things. We are again reminded that the survival of man and womankind has always been and always will be miraculous. I ache for the folks fighting for their livelihoods and lives while I add wild greens in citrus sauce to my salad.