Just another day in quarantine


I am happy to stay at home and do my part to stop the spread of that nasty coronavirus. But have you noticed how the days seem to blend together?

I occasionally find myself stopping to ask, “What day is it anyway?”

When you work for a newspaper, you can’t afford to lose track of days. Sometimes, when I worked at a daily newspaper, I would be working ahead a day or two and I’d get confused by that. But losing track of all days – I never would have dreamed it possible. 

Is this a normal side effect of being largely locked up in the house for seven weeks, or a warning sign that I’m losing all sense of time? I would be really worried, but I keep hearing others tell the same tale.

Most experts blame this on losing your daily anchors, like dropping the children at school, heading out to work daily, and attending recurring events. That makes sense to me.

Here’s an example of a recent day. I started the day with a Zoom meeting. I thought the day would continue with some phone calls, a whole lot of emails, connecting with a source for an interview, and then some writing. I’d eat lunch around noon and, perhaps, get in a quick walk.

What really happened? The Zoom meeting and a whole lot of emails. Yes, there were phone calls, but none of the ones I’d expected. And interspersed were text messages about an ongoing family challenge, and then a quick unscheduled trip to the outdoor mailbox at our local post office, and on and on – basically, another anchorless day in self-isolation. It’s no wonder that I have to stop and figure out which day is which.

Fortunately, I’ve always been a list-maker, and I’m a big advocate of writing everything on a calendar. So I have not missed any meetings or phone calls. Yet. Desk alerts and notifications help bring me back to reality if I stray a bit.

Experts recommend that you look to routines to anchor your day – but I’m not so sure that works for all of us.

Here are some things I’ve learned during these seemingly endless days at home:

• I’m not a “routine” kind of person. I thought I was. I generally get up at the same time each day … until I don’t. My body tells me when it’s lunchtime and dinnertime. Until I get involved in a project and miss a meal entirely. Experts say routine during times like these can help you stay engaged and keep your mood up. It just makes me feel caged.

• Exercise to jumpstart my day doesn’t work; it doesn’t work to end my day either. Sometimes it helps in the middle of the day, though.

I sometimes go for a 6-feet-apart walk with my neighbor. That kind of works. I’m trying online exercise classes, including the great lineup from J-Fitness. But again, routine has not been my friend.

• Charlotte, our cat, is not an effective or helpful co-worker. As you can see from the photo, she’d much rather nap on the job.

• There can be too much togetherness. My husband and I are both still working more than full time. Luckily, he can go to his office, which is nearby and empty at the moment, lending one aspect of normalcy to our lives. Since he is on the phone or leading webinars all day, and I have frequent interviews and conference calls, both of us working from home might have been too much.

• I am grateful to be able to work at home to protect my health. As corny and oft-repeated as it is, it’s still true that most Americans have much to be thankful for in the midst of so much suffering around the world.

I hope that our newspaper and newsletter brings a little of our community back to your homebound lives. Those of us who contribute to putting out this paper are as busy as ever, it’s just in a slightly different way. Emails still come from the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island because we are all connected by the internet. Phone calls now come from personal phone numbers, but they still come.  

Advertising sales are down, but we hope our loyal advertisers will return when they can. Please remember them if you need goods and services. They help sustain your newspaper.

And we need your help, too. Our Patron Campaign continues. I know everyone is watching their pennies during these unsettled times, but if you enjoy having a local Jewish newspaper, please consider making a contribution before the end of June. I guarantee you won’t be sorry.

And to you, our loyal readers, stay safe and enjoy the furry friends in this issue!

editor, Ostendorf, COVID-19