Living in Isolation

I just got a text from close friend in Seattle. Her husband, one of my very close friends, is in full remission from leukemia—and as a result of timing, his transplanted cells have not recovered adequate immunity. She and her sisters are considering moving him to a condo that they own in Tacoma—“he can have the entire place to himself.”

My friend is a writer—a talented and devoted one with a work schedule that he just got back into after months of debilitating treatment and illness. Packing him up may be a hassle—computer (he’s not a laptop guy) and all peripherals, research materials, and other sundries related to his work. I also can envision his dissatisfaction with this scheme. However he can’t argue with his wife for long. She’s a nurse practitioner at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, so she has a pretty good idea about his vulnerability to the novel corona virus that causes Covid-19.

Here in Albany, Oregon, we’re in a bubble—or it seems like it. There are cases in Oregon; after all we’re sandwiched between the two “hot spots” of Washington and California, and Oregon is following the Washington playbook—closing schools, canceling large gatherings, asking for six-foot separation, 20-second handwashing with soap and water, and self-isolation if symptoms.

We’ve got plenty of toilet paper, because we shop at Costco.

My husband and I enjoy self-isolation, being antisocial in a selective way. On a walk around my neighborhood, things looked normal for a Saturday. The high school parking lot was empty, although I saw a father bringing his two sons to the softball field for batting practice.

Easy for us, maybe, but not so easy for my Seattle friend. Not easy for families with kids. Not easy for the elderly whose lifelines—family members, visiting aides—may not be able to check in on them.

It’s hard to get my mind around what is happening. I’ve stayed off the radio all day, except to listen to the guests on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” playing to only their production team. When I heard Disneyland was going to close, I knew this was real.

I think people are pretty smart. No one wants to die, and no one wants to be the cause of someone else’s death. At least mostly no one. State Health departments have picked up the heavy load, filling the ragged gaps left by funding cuts to the NIH and the CDC.

Gloria Gaynor’s video of herself singing “I Will Survive” while she washes her hands for 20 seconds is the best. Gloria Gaynor Washes Her Hands. If you don’t know the song, I wonder what planet you have been living on. (Although whenever I hear that song, the image of Terence Stamp in drag comes to mind)

Hey, smart people, let’s keep our planet as safe as we can, and the people on it.

Today’s blog movie, “The Blob”, 1958. If you haven’t seen it or heard of it, then I am wondering about your home planet again. So, to minimize a spoiler, I’ll only say that the final line is “As long as it stays cold.” Steve McQueen is talking about the Arctic. Should we worry that the blob may be back?

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About Jill Zeller

The author of numerous short stories and novels, Jill Zeller lives near Seattle, Washington, with her patient and adoring husband, two English mastiffs, and one self-centered tuxedo cat. Her works explore the boundaries of reality. Some may call it fantasy, but there are rarely swords and never elves. More to the point, she prefers to write as if myth, imagination and hallucination were as real as the chair she is sitting on as she writes this. Maybe it is because she was raised as a Christian Scientist. Jill Zeller also writes under the pseudonym Hunter Morrison

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