GROundeD

[3-min read] Remind me not to move again during a pandemic. I’ve been entertaining myself by looking at my appointment book for this-time-last-year events. March 4, 2020, says “plants,” when a friend loaded all my green babies into her car because they wouldn’t have survived a cross-country drive followed by a two-month stint in a storage shed. It was tough to let them go. March 7 says “Popejoy,” where my husband and I sat with several hundred other people mesmerized by the dance performance of Pilobolus. We were nervous, but not stay-at-home nervous. We went to Target for supplies on March 8, but shelves were already devoid of TP. March 13 has “COVID Shutdown” but after calling to confirm, I kept my massage appointment. March 15 says “Lynn’s” because she was hosting our going-away party. We agreed to cancel it after hearing of 1,000+ Italians dying of COVID-19 in a single day. I decided to keep my haircut appointment on the 17th, and we closed on the sale of our house the next day.

White-out streaks across that month of March. Various appointments were all moved up and otherwise, we didn’t stay a few nights with friends before we didn’t fly to Phoenix for Spring Training baseball. I still marvel that as originally scheduled, we left New Mexico headed for Minneapolis on March 26. We didn’t get a box for the road from Whoo’s Donuts. We did accept a few rolls of toilet paper from the housekeeper employed by friends who briefly rented us their Santa Fe casita. He had a jump on compassion and empathy.

In contrast to March, with business scheduled nearly every day before we departed, April 2020 says “Beer!” on the 17th with an arrow indicating it was moved to the 18th. There is an asterisk by Earth Day on the 22nd. In May, we closed on the purchase of our condo and in August, we nervously booked a long weekend at a small lake resort up north because a neighbor told us we wouldn’t mentally survive our first Minnesota winter otherwise.

One of the greatest challenges of the move has been loneliness compounded by pandemic isolation. I haven’t been able to make new friends. At first everything else was novel, so it didn’t bother me. Now I recognize I am among the living and not in a ghost condo only when I hear neighbors walking above me, laughing next door, or leaving through the garage below me. In lieu of chatty co-workers, I have noisy baseboard heating. As I tap my keyboard wishing lines indicative of evolution of the soul would manifest, I am intermittently stunned by a lengthy and rolling, boisterous sound of… flatulence. Imagine it. (I have backed into a far corner covering the pinhole of my phone while on a call with an acquaintance, praying she won’t hear and attribute the offense to me.) A shoddy substitute for companionship, I think.

Optimistically, I bought a 2021 appointment calendar. I use it to mark when my credit card bill is due. (My new hobby is purchasing cool merch like Outdoor Afro hiking socks and a Refugee Designs hip pack to support inspiring movements and businesses.) I note the monthly Farmer’s Market and whatever I don’t want to miss on TV. On March 29, my one-year anniversary in Minneapolis, I’ve written “JURY DUTY.” I’ve been summoned.

I do not yearn for times when something was planned most days. But it’s strange to have lived here nearly a year and have only a vague sense of my new city. I accept I may never fully know Minneapolis as it was pre-pandemic. I do look forward to the day when I can start trying.

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