By Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab
We were walking around our neighborhood a few days ago, when shelter-in-place restrictions were beginning to be eased and we passed, as we usually do in our local walks, a number of seemingly clueless people. No masks, no social distancing, walking right down the middle of the sidewalk, forcing us into the roadway.
After the third encounter, Julie said, “OK so we’re toast,” and went into a rant about people on the beach and in bars not wearing masks and sitting shoulder to shoulder. (We know this from watching the news). And then there are the people who insist the shelter-in-place is a plot or against their first or second or third amendment rights.
Some reasonable thoughts
Just to be fair some people—even friends of ours who have been very adamant about observing the restrictions— are saying they are making some moves back to what might be a more normal life. One friend, who has been strict about contact with others, said she’d had a picnic with friends recently.
How close to normal was it? Not much. They sat six feet or more apart. They didn’t share food or anything else. Well, they did share social interaction and maybe that’s more important than the trimmings.
One friend said “I think we have to start taking baby steps out of our sequestered lives. Let’s be smart about it…see what works and what doesn’t work…I don’t want to end my life as an old lady on top of a hill afraid to participate in life.”
It’s not over
There is a point to that. But there is also the point that the pandemic isn’t over. There are new cases and more deaths. Experts are still predicting a possible surge in the fall, coupled with the regular influenza season, that could overwhelm the health care system.
We both feel that based on the scientific information we’ve been reading (we are not medical professionals and know only what we read and we haven’t read exhaustively at that) that there’s a good chance someone we know, someone among our circle of friends, maybe even we ourselves, will get sick and possibly die in the next six to 12 months.
The fact is, at our age, maybe that will happen anyway. Julie’s mother died of leukemia in 1953; she was 47. Julie’s college roommate Marsha died at age 26 of a liver disease. Fran, Julie’s long-time friend, died a few years ago of ALS. And our friend Carol died on a hiking trip.
A bucket list – for right now
So one issue we considered is, if one of us or both of us were to die soon, what would we like to do now? Sort of a bucket list to be implemented quickly. From the ridiculous to the sublime. And what are our parameters? Given that we aren’t planning to get on a plane anytime soon and have serious misgivings about things like dining in a restaurant or even getting a haircut. Should we change our parameters?
First to some simple things. From the ridiculous to the sublime. Julie wants sushi. She wanted a latte and she got one for Mother’s Day. She’s not planning to wait for another occasion for sushi, especially since there is a grab-and-go place nearby where she often bought sushi before the lockdown. So that is doable. Another immediate thing on her list is popcorn. She loves popcorn and hasn’t made any recently. No reason.
We both agree we could do a lot more TV watching and binging. Why limit ourselves to one episode of the Good Wife when we could watch two or three. It appears that there are seven seasons of the show and each season has more than an dozen programs. And that’s to say nothing of the other recommendations we’ve gotten.
On Rudi’s bucket list is going to a restaurant (one with a full bar). Not that he doesn’t have anything to eat or drink at home. He misses the social aspect of sitting at the bar, chatting with bartender and the wait staff at our favorite restaurant.
He also misses taking the Jeep on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Costco, having a hot dog and buying paper towels and toilet paper. Not that we need any but just because.
Oh, yes, we almost forgot: On our immediate bucket list items are paying our taxes and tips for the three workers who transformed our brownfield from a weed-infested meadow into a wonderful garden with rocks, little trees and many plants. And best of all the watering happens automatically.
What’s on your list?
Rudi Raab and Julie Freestone always had a vague idea that some day they would publish the novel they worked on for 25 years. They did. Julie always wanted to go to Nova Scotia. She had that plan in 1971 and it took her 40 years to get there. They don’t plan to wait that long for anything they might be wishing for now.