A Covid Lockdown Timeline: From Earth Mother to Drag Queen (and everything in-between)

Around the beginning of January 2020, my better half started talking about a virus popping up in China. I’d heard about other respiratory syndromes in the past and seen the pictures come out of Asia of people wearing masks on the street but never really thought of something like that happening here.

As one does, I treated him like he was a bit of a nutcase when hand sanitizer, medical masks, cold supplies, tissue and toilet paper started showing up at the house. I didn’t hear anything alarming in the news, so what was his problem?

The end of January brought the very first Covid case to Washington State. The Snohomish County man had recently traveled to Wuhan and eventually recovered from the virus.

February rolled around, and the news came in that the Fire Training Academy was being considered as a possible quarantine facility if the State of Washington had any Coronavirus cases. I went to the news conference, seems really odd now to remember being in a room full of people, and came away feeling as though it was a good place for that purpose but that likely it wouldn’t be needed.

The end of February saw the first death from Coronavirus and the unfortunate situation at Life Care Center in Kirkland. After that, things started happening very quickly. On March 11th, a worldwide pandemic was declared, schools were closed statewide on the 13th, and the Governor on March 23rd gave a “Shelter in Place” order.

Today, 295 days later, we are still locked down.

Looking back, it seems to me that we all went through different Stages of Lockdown. I feel like I had some that were wholly my own, but some seemed to be a community-wide stage where we all, in some odd hive mind way, did the same thing collectively.

Stage One: Earth Mother/Organizer Extraordinaire

The first thing I did after the shelter in place was declared was bake bread. No, really, like that very day. I looked back at my Facebook messages and asked my friend Jaynie (an exceptional chef and owner of the coming soon restaurant The Well and Table) for pointers on March 22nd.

It seems like the rest of our corner of the world was doing the very same thing. Flour and dry activated yeast were selling out everywhere, frustrating the actual bakers among us. I made one attempt that was SO dense it was declared “Good! Kind of like a bread brownie” before giving that one up. I decided with all this time I had on my hands; I would make and freeze meals ahead of time. Wouldn’t that be SO industrious of me?

I painted my pantry and scrubbed the moss off my patio furniture. I went through Mr.’s entire wardrobe and made him make decisions about every single piece of clothing. INCLUDING a pair of ladies tiger-striped acid washed high waisted jeans from the ’80s. “WHO wore these? And WHY do you still have them?” I had 10 boxes of clothes to donate for months!

I washed the windows. I cleaned out my kitchen drawers, where I found tools I did not recall and wasn’t even sure what they were used for. I organized all my recipes, repotted plants, swept, mopped, and then the next stage of my lockdown kicked in about May.

Stage Two: The lethargic slug with questionable grooming stage

You know that lie you tell yourself? The one where you claim if you ONLY had more time at home, you could get SO much more done. While I did get a lot done, at first, my resolve devolved when I couldn’t take those donations somewhere, and no one was coming over to admire my sparkling clean house.

It started creeping in about mid-April when I was constantly on the phone with Washington State’s Unemployment office. I’d get up, start trying to dial in, and end up sitting around all day in my sweats, unwashed with no makeup.

Neither one of us had had a haircut since the beginning of the year and I was beginning to resemble an aging Little Mermaid. The question of “Can I pull off really long hair at my age?” Was answered with a resounding, NO!

Shortly before we both finally visited the hair salon, he, with his luxurious mane of salt and pepper, visited the CHOP zone out of curiosity and was followed around by a slightly off-kilter woman who decided he resembled Benjamin Franklin and told him about it at every turn.

I was so happy for us to be back in the groomed world in early June I would have likely worn a hefty bag to the appointment if I had been asked to.

Stage Three: Masks and Paranoia

In addition to better grooming, June also brought the mask mandate. I started my quest for the perfect mask. I wear glasses for distance, and face fog was a real problem. I started off with a basic black mask but then decided I wanted a designer mask and went on an ill-advised spending spree.

 I tried Alice + Olivia and gave them away to friends. My face is too long. Dolan’s masks seemed too flimsy. I tucked them in a drawer somewhere to be found during the next purge. I bought a cool neck gaiter, but I then read they are the least effective, so I sold it on Poshmark. I tried Etsy, and it’s not bad if I could remember to wash it. I went nutso on Eshakti because they are GORGEOUS but again, my horse face dun me wrong. I wear disposable masks, not maybe the most earth-friendly thing, but they fit and aren’t too hot.

Now I feel naked without one. Standing in line at Ace, I had a strap break, and I felt like my pants fell down. I find it takes so much longer to get in and out of the car. More than once, I’ve had someone honk while I located my mask, hand sanitizer and stumbled out of the car, leaving my glasses behind because I can’t see through the fog anyway.

I didn’t realize how difficult it is to open a plastic produce bag with dry fingers! Towards the beginning of the pandemic, I absent-mindedly licked a finger to open a bag and, in a panic, squirted my hand and lip with sanitizer to ward off the dreaded Covid. That stings!

The paranoia is real too. More than once, I’ve had days where I haven’t felt my best and am left to wonder, is it because I’m fat, old, or is it covid?

Stage Four: You Tube, Drag Queens and online shopping

My final form watches way too many Youtube videos by Drag Queens, giving makeup tips meant for 24-year-olds. She knows Kim Chi, Kimora Black, Willam, Trixie Mattel, Raja and Raven. She’s bought the makeup tried all the tips because why not? It’s a lockdown, after all; there are no rules.

Well, except don’t go out, don’t get within six feet of anyone and cover your nose and mouth. I’m descending into frippery and frankly enjoying it. Don’t judge.

What have your stages of Covid been like? Hopefully, you’ve written a great American Novel or cured Cancer because I sure haven’t. Let me know in the comments below!

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