Day 1: Sunday, March 15, 2020
Friday evening, I headed to the grocery store. For a majority of last week, I thought people were taking this way too seriously. We come into contact with germs all the time, every single day and no one has ever freaked out. Why was this different?
But, around the middle of the week, pictures of empty grocery store shelves started swirling the Internet. I didn’t want to stockpile (I still didn’t see a need for it), but what if there was no food left?
By Thursday, I knew I had to go to the store, but I was scared. If I saw empty shelves, it would set my anxiety on fire. I made a list of things I hoped they would have, but also listed ideas for things to eat in case there was barely anything left.
I went to Sprouts around 6:30 and I was shocked when I saw there was hardly anyone there. And, there was also plenty of food left. Things like lemons and onions had been ransacked, but I was able to get almost everything on my list. I got enough food for about two weeks — some fresh items along with boxed pasta, soup and frozen meals.
Saturday, I went to a dance class around lunch and, by the time I got home, I decided I wasn’t going to leave. I got online and ordered coffee, cheese crackers, popcorn, granola, hand soap, hand sanitizer, and medicine cabinet supplies. I also ordered a stack of books to read from two local shops (one in Austin, one in Georgia).
Late tonight, my hair stylist texted me saying Ulta would be closing, so my hair appointment on Wednesday would be canceled.
Day 2: Monday, March 16, 2020
First working day while in self-quarantine. I have been taking my temperature daily after I heard there were allegedly two people in Travis County with Coronavirus. I have developed a cough, which is typical for my seasonal allergies, but I’m super paranoid. I also ordered a ton of vitamins online.
I have been watching the news and social media almost constantly. I am supposed to leave for Iceland in a week. Last Wednesday night, Trump put a travel ban on those coming into the US, and other countries are starting to follow… including the EU.
By Monday afternoon, Trump has announced US citizens should avoid discretionary travel and there are rumors that countries included in the Schengen area — such as Iceland — are closing their borders tomorrow.
Just before evening, my friend and I know we have to cancel or move our trip. We rebook flights to go in October and some of our planned activities. I feel awful — I know we both needed a vacation — but I know it’s impossible for us to go. Iceland is closing its borders tomorrow at noon.
Day 3: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
I felt like Monday was a wash. Since we already know we’re not traveling next week, there’s not a real need to watch the news (at least not so much) and I know I need to limit all of the intake… it’s a lot.
I dumped snacks I packed for Iceland — protein bars, brownies and fig bars — into a basket in my pantry and started putting away the things in my suitcase.
I still have regular work, which is plenty to keep me busy, so in general, the idea of staying inside doesn’t freak me out. But it’s obvious a lot of people are freaking out — everyone is scheduling virtual meetings that could have been phone calls or emails, and there’s much more chatter before the meeting begins. Many people are asking how to cope with working from home.
It’s been a few days now without yoga. I miss class, but I know it’s likely not a safe place right now. However, the studio did close and it looks like they’ll be online soon. Restaurants are now take-out only and bars have been closed; Sixth Street is completely boarded up.
Day 4: Wednesday, March 18, 2020
I’m wrapping up a pretty massive project today, and I’m starting to think ahead. I am still clearing my schedule next week even though I’m not going to Iceland. I haven’t taken a true day off since my trip to London last March. Although I traveled other times since then, I worked during those trips.
I also find it difficult to focus on much else but just dealing with whatever is happening. Although this is not a natural disaster, there are some parts of it that bring back memories of hurricane season in Louisiana. I made it through a few rough ones, and they really take a toll on your mental health. It’s isolating, and I remember driving through Baton Rouge after a storm to go to work… and just sobbing at how different everything looked.
The good thing about this is… there’s power so we can cook, watch TV and use the Internet. But, the bad part about this is… you can’t see it. The virus could be anywhere — even already in your bloodstream — and you might not know it.
I’ve been wanting to support a local restaurant (while I still can/before they are forced to close) so I ordered an afternoon tea spread to-go (crustless cucumber sandwiches, lemon cake and an apricot scone) along with frozen cookie dough and scones for later.
Day 5: Thursday, March 19, 2020
I signed up for my first yoga class via Zoom at 7 am. It wasn’t the same as being in the studio, of course — my room doesn’t leave much space for some of the poses and Blanche kept trying to lay on my mat — but it was nice to see some familiar faces and focus on something else for an hour.
Although I have been limiting my news intake, I still feel anxiety. I have only left the one time to get my tea sandwiches, but even then, it seemed like lots of people were still out and about, like normal. It’s weird that so many people are choosing to self-quarantine, while many others are determined to live life like normal until the government shuts everything down.
My pet-sitter that was going to look after Blanche during my Iceland trip, still agreed to swing by and meet Blanche so the next time I travel — whenever that will be — she’ll know what to do. She works at a restaurant (which closed) and is in college (that’s going online for the rest of the semester), and she was worried about a study abroad program in South Korea in late June.
I have a trip planned in late May that I’m worried about… and even concerts in June and July that I feel like won’t happen. When will things ever go back to how they were? How would we make it without travel, events, concerts…?
I’m hearing more and more about this lasting much longer than two weeks, or even eight weeks. An entertainment radio show I listen to every day said they didn’t think big events (such as Coachella) would happen at all this year. Not fact, just their opinions, but it does seem like times have changed so much already.
I saw a Tweet that said 41 people in Travis County have tested positive for Coronavirus.
Day 6: Friday, March 20, 2020
I realize that leaving my house and having someone come over isn’t a total quarantine. I’m trying to find a way to stay safe, but also do things I need to do. I’m still taking my temperature daily, taking extra vitamins, and thoroughly washing my hands. Staying inside has become an act of solidarity. I am helping those with compromised immune systems and doing my small part to not crowd the hospital by staying inside as much as possible.
I signed up for two yoga classes today and several to take over the weekend. Today, I have to stock up on cat food for Blanche. Several cities across the country have gone on lock-down, so I want to make sure that if that happens over the weekend, I am prepared. I have enough food for myself for 2-3 weeks, so I just need cat food and am going to get some cash. I also need Kleenex and Cherry Coke Zero (not my normal drink, but I’m going to treat myself in quarantine).
I write a list of everything I need and leave the house with a bottle of hand sanitizer. I’m scared to touch anything, and every time I get back into my car, I put on hand sanitizer. I bought enough cat food for two months (whoops), got cash, picked up prescriptions and went to Walgreen’s for Kleenex, Coke, candy and magazines. The line to checkout was sectioned off so everyone was standing about four feet apart.
The Hallmark channel brought back 24/7 Christmas movies since we’re all at home, likely falling into depression. I watched a few movies, ordered lots of candles from my favorite woman-owned shop in Indiana that likely won’t be able to stay open much longer, and cooked some cheesy pasta to have for lunch over the next few days.
I ended the day with a glass of wine, and soaked in the tub while watching old Lil Wayne music videos on my phone. I have a feeling these random moments are going to weave their way into quarantine more frequently.
More Quarantine Diaries to come soon. Please note that I am not a doctor, health expert, or experienced in quarantine or self-isolation in any way. I am only reporting my daily experience while living during a public health crisis.