Keep Your ?#@*&%! Distance!

My eyes are drilling into a Walgreens cashier as she chats up a small boy with his family. I look to the other person in line with me who I have put more distance between than I normally would. She and I communicated without a word. So much so that minutes later she said, “We read each other’s minds.”

The message was simply this: “Hey Miss Happy Chirpy Pants, none of us are supposed to be lingering so please check us out…..quickly?…..please.”

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It is Corona time here, and if only that meant Happy Hour. I have an overwhelming desire to go stand in a community steam room and fast track myself to get the virus. Die or not die, recover or not, I’d be done with it. The very idea that not only will I have zero music gigs for the imminent future nor will I have ANY auditions is so financially scary, you can’t wrap your head around it.

I was up for a few jobs before this hit and It would have gotten me closer to keeping my health insurance from the actor’s union. Now I know that won’t be happening. Hollywood has hung up the “Out to Lunch” sign for the foreseeable future. The fear of financial hardship hits those in the arts hard so there are many of us in that same boat. In my schooner the head has very little toilet paper, and if you see me come ashore to drag my tush across your lawn you should have thought twice before you filled your SUV with a dozen 24-roll packs. Who knew if you grind up TP and put it in a suspension of any canned soup it can wipe out COVID 19?

Social Distance Line
People line up outside an alcohol store in Kerala, India. (Photo: Twitter/@ShivAroor)

The woman in front of me asked for cigarettes. And the cashier said rather gleefully: “Oh yeah! You might not be able to get cigarettes soon!” Simultaneously I’m thinking: “Respiratory hell is breaking out and it might be a good time to quit the death sticks,” and “Oh, you simple sadist please don’t make her more anxious—just take her money.” When it was my turn, I stood far to the right of the card swiping machine and my “hush you” ooze was so on point she dared not engage me.

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What I find more upsetting than being in lockdown with my mom in her condo, and having to sleep on her living room futon (the fast track to needing back surgery), is how there is a bizarre portion of the population that seems to revel in the spreading of panic. I thought it was perhaps only an online phenomenon, but the cashier’s smiling face as the tobacco addict was getting her smokes was proof that it exists everywhere.

There are two problems with my virus immersion plan: 1) no one can say for absolute certain if you recover you won’t get it again, and 2) I must care for mom while she is recovering from a surgery and she is in that compromised demographic. So, hunkering down and obsessive hand washing it is. I’m taking bets on how long till I snap. I know some of you are thinking “too late.”

This horrible pandemic has taught me some things about myself that I am not proud of. I have a problem with touching my face. Specifically, my nose. I am a nose diddler. It’s like I have a set of balls attached to my nose. This behavior is not so much nose picker but there is a nose picking component. I have allergies, horrible allergies, that make my nose itch and also the need to clear my throat. Both of which make me appear like a carrier, maybe I can turn up the volume on these activities to keep people away. Social distancing is really my default lifestyle, so I am better prepared than some. If I am not working in a bar you would be really hard pressed to find me lingering in one.

I am trying to figure out if I can sell my humor and vocals with people via Skype session or phone. I can provide a snarky commentary on anything irritating you. Think of it as a type of therapy, I promise it will be cheaper and, of course, confidential. It has to be, because the stuff I might say about the people you are irritated with could get us both in trouble. I will be sequestered with my mom so there is nothing about anyone that you could say that would make me blink.

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I guarantee you will hang up feeling lighter and I’ll throw a song in at the end of my choosing, because quarantine or no quarantine…..requests are not encouraged.

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