The Quarantimes Week 10: It’s Not Time Yet

May 19th, 2020


Yesterday, Jon took the training wheels off the girls bikes. At five, they are good to go.

I was not the natural athlete my kids are. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until much later, and only under duress, and with lots of tears. I remember deciding that I would run away after a particularly fraught teaching session with my mom. I made it a half mile down the road to the old Civil War graveyard before she picked me up with a peace offering of going swimming. This was a precursor to when she taught me to drive a stick many years later. The drama.

While we’re rapidly unschooling ourselves here in rural Vermont, the girls have learned so much. They’re riding bikes; they’re starting to read; they’re grasping the basics of math. They know how to fry an egg, handle simple household chores, and feed pollywogs. They have their own little gardens in our bigger garden. It’s a rich time for them.

Vermont has done an incredible job at social distancing, and because of that we have the slowest growth rate in the nation. But it’s finally spring, and people basically can’t take it anymore. They’re opening back up the parks and recreation areas to both residents and non-residents. Read: people from neighboring states who want a slice of Vermont May verdancy.

I can’t take it anymore either, but do I want to start hanging out at crowded public parks and recreation areas with a bunch of people from New York, Massachusetts, and Maine? The former have been two of the hardest hit in the nation by far, and the latter is the state with the fastest growth rate right now.

Uh, how about those of you that think this is all a big media conspiracy go check it out for me and report back in a few weeks. Fair deal?


Listen, this shit is confusing and I am hating the lockdown as much as the next guy. Despite the rich experience the girls are getting, it’s not a sustainable situation for our family at all. We are extremely lucky that Jon has a full-time job and I still have work as a freelance writer. And I have always worked remotely, so that’s not a huge shift. The shift is that, without school, I can’t find the time to do the work. My mom, part of our small isolation pod, has been incredible as usual, watching the girls for three days a week. But it’s not enough.

Nothing is enough. There is not enough time. There is not enough money. There are not enough resources. There certainly isn’t enough internet bandwidth. The only thing we seem to have enough of? Toilet paper and canned beans.

So let’s talk about herd immunity. Herd immunity essentially means that enough people have had COVID-19 that the majority of people are “immune” and the virus stops circulating. (This article by Johns Hopkins posits that “Depending how contagious an infection is, usually 70% to 90% of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity.”) Of course, this only works if having COVID-19 renders you immune forevermore, which is not necessarily turning out to be the case. But even if it were, it would still require the majority of us to get it. (Or the vaccine thing, which seems dubious, although there is hope.)

Guys, it’s ugly. While I know that eventually I will probably become infected, as will everyone in my family, I truly dread it. The people I know who have been sick have been very, very sick for a long, long time. They thought they might die. And these are the people who got better. 

Personally, I’m not there yet with going back to normal.

I am slowly venturing out to my co-working space — but only when I can be there alone, with the windows open. I’m okay with hiking trails, but not playground equipment. The other day, two of our beloved teachers came by to say hello — for a few minutes, in the driveway. It was thrilling!

I miss people. I miss you. But I’m not ready to say fuck it yet.  I care too deeply about this one life.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading:

On Harvard Business Review, “The Pandemic Has Exposed the Fallacy of the “Ideal Worker”. We’ve all been taught that 40 hours a week, plus, of diligent productivity is the end-all be-all of being a good worker bee. And as someone who gets paid hourly and definitely subscribes to that notion, I have always aimed for a 40+-hour work week myself. But in these quarantimes, is it realistic? (The answer is no. No it is not.)

Also, James and the Giant Peach to my kids at night! These are the days, truly.


What I’m listening to:

Slowly adding to this Quarantimes playlist on Spotify.

What I’m eating:

Oh all sorts of springtime concoctions made by little hands.


What I’m working on:

Eventbrite: How Manny’s Moved Its People-Powered Meeting Place Online — This was a fun piece to write, about how a San Francisco community event space transitioned to a TED Talk-like format overnight. Eventbrite has been one of my longtime favorite clients. Sadly, due to this shit show, they just laid off half their staff, including the people I worked with closely, and my freelance work for them has pretty much dried up, too. Change is inevitable, but I feel sad about this particular one. A great company that I hope can resurrect itself.

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