I’ve expressed this here before: All things considered, I’m doing pretty well right now. Everyone in my family is healthy, all my friends are healthy, my wife’s working absurd hours but her job has generally been good to her, and my unemployment has afforded my kid the luxury of going through this lousy time with a fully engaged parent. The virus has killed more than 80,000 people in the U.S. and forced 38 million out of work, many of them presumably without a doctor wife as a contingency plan. Relatively speaking, I can’t complain.
But to hell with speaking relatively! This sucks, y’all. It’s so bad. I know I’m lucky to be able to be able to whine about boredom right now, and I don’t want to diminish the actual human suffering happening all around me. But even while I am able to see, objectively, how fortunate I am for my current circumstances, I still sometimes just want to wallow in how shitty they are.
My phone tracks all my movements and logs them on my Google Maps timeline. It’s invasive and terrifying, but also so often interesting and useful that I haven’t yet turned that function off.
During this shutdown, I keep thinking of things I always wanted to do but kept putting off, and kicking myself for not taking better advantage of the pre-COVID world. So today, to really beat myself up for it, I went back to look at my Google Maps timeline from the last week before New York City closed down.
On Thursday, March 5th, after my in-laws came to pick up the boy, I took the ferry to Wall St./Pier 11 and spent two hours writing in a coffee shop I like in the Financial District. I came back home in the afternoon, then went to the Upright Citizens’ Brigade theater, where I participated in a baseball-themed Adult Spelling Bee and lost to Mets gameday host Mike Janela in a tiebreaker round. Our son spent the night with his grandparents, so my wife and I went to a nearby Thai place for dinner after the event.
On Friday, March 6th, I drove to D.C., stopping at Chaps Pit Beef in Baltimore for lunch along the way. Driving instead of taking the Amtrak was an early concession I made to the coronavirus at my wife’s behest, but it allowed me to eat a delicious sandwich. I got to D.C. in the early afternoon, dropped my stuff off at a hotel, then gave myself a mini-monument tour on one of that city’s many shared electric scooters. Then I met up with my buddies from college and went out to dinner.
On Saturday, March 7th, I went out for waffles, got a drink at a pub near Capital One Arena, watched Georgetown lose a basketball game in frustrating fashion, then went out for wings, then to another bar, and back to the hotel. The next day I hung out for a while at friend’s house in D.C., then drove home in the afternoon.
On Monday, March 9th, I took my kid to his music class in Columbus Circle, then walked through Central Park back to my apartment. On Tuesday the 10th, we went to the zoo. In the evening, I took the subway downtown to the Woolworth Building for a continuing-studies creative-writing workshop I took through NYU, then stopped at a bodega and took the ferry home.
On Wednesday the 11th, I took the boy to a make-up music class, then back through Central Park via a playground, then to another playground after his nap. On Thursday the 12th, I again took the ferry to that same downtown coffee shop to write, then took a Citi Bike up to my doctor’s office on the west side, then back home.
On Friday the 13th, I went nowhere.
It turns out I used to do stuff. I totally did stuff! It wasn’t that I didn’t take advantage of the pre-COVID world, it was that I took it for granted. Well, virus, I’ve learned my lesson, so you can stop now.