Living in the Time of Plague.

In late February, I went to Florida on a packed plane that included several babies, including one who screamed the whole time and I wanted to punch the mother for bringing an infant with ear problems ON A PLANE.

Four days later I came back from Florida on a plane that was 3/4 full and the only baby was waaaaay in the back.

The next week, I went to Los Angeles on a plane that was half empty and had NO BABIES and I gave the guy sitting next to me a hand sanitizer wipe and we became such good friends (who didn’t talk to one another the whole 6 hours YAY) that he offered me the Ghiradelli chocolate that came with our lunch. Five days later, I came home from Los Angeles with Top Cat on a plane that was 3/4 empty, had no babies or old people on it, and everyone was keeping themselves to themselves and maintaining their distance even during the scrum to de-plane.

I’ll say one thing about this plague. It’s given me some outstandingly pleasant travel experiences.

Last week I had every intention to blog about my LA trip and show you what I had for lunch in Koreatown:

When the waitress set the table I had to google “Why did I get scissors with my spicy noodles in a Korean restaurant?”

I also had a story about an epic instance of mansplaining during an Uber ride, and how it poured rain for four of the five days I was there prompting me to spend an entire day in our rental apartment doing nothing but watching 4th-century BC costume drama porn a Chinese historical drama on my iPad not talking to anyone and no one talking to me IT WAS HEAVEN, and etc.

But now that things have got bad, it seems poor taste to make light of the hardships that our hard-working fellow citizens and our nation are going through. . .

. . . so let’s dive right in:
























My gym is closed so I’m improvising daily workouts here at home but lordy, I miss my gym buddies who are always there to recommend ways to fine-tune my weight-lifting program and to tell me that I have such pretty hair. My Korean lessons have shifted from our weekly get-togethers on 32nd Street to on-line streaming and I miss the jokes that are only funny when you’re in a classroom with 10 other people who get it when someone mutters, “Oh, right, the Joseon dynasty.” I can’t play with my BFF because she has lung cancer and has to avoid people even more than she usually does so, when it comes to day-drinking and thinking up ways to not act my age, I’m on my own now.

French Quarter Fest has been cancelled, so there goes the annual trip to New Orleans that Top Cat and I take every April.

I’m pretty sure that BTS is going to have to cancel their American tour (April 25 – June 6), for which I have tickets for both nights when they are at Giants Stadium May 23 and 24. Getting those tickets through Ticketmaster via a special platform open only to pre-registered ARMY (BTS fans) (to avoid scalpers) was an ordeal that one of my fellow ARMYs likened to “The Hunger Games”. In 1974 I once stood on line for five hours to get tickets to see Elton John at the Philadelphia Spectrum; getting BTS tickets was far worse. I’m really upset about this.

The upside is that, so far, the neighborhood has been very village-y, like the time Super Storm Sandy came to town and knocked out power for six days. People are actually out on the back streets, taking walks, TOGETHER. Even through social distancing, people say Hi when you pass, because we know that we are all in this together. I was in the parking lot of our local Total Wine store, loading the car with eight bottles of vodka and a case of pino grigio, I made eye contact with the woman doing the same in the SUV parked next to me and she smiled and said, “Well, at least we got the important stuff done!”

This morning I made an early morning run to the grocery store to stock up on junk food — on my previous visits I had been too focused on getting a supply of ground turkey, canned beans, rice, and tabasco sauce — and I tipped the cashier $10 and thanked her for being there.


During this time of sheltering in place, I have hours of Chinese and Korean TV to watch, I have a foreign language to learn, I have sooooo many emails to return, and sooooo much Twitter to catch up on every day. All I have to do to be an adult these days is stay home and not talk to anyone, ever. I think I can be really good at this.If not for the fact that this pandemic will be economically catastrophic to so many people and institutions, and profoundly alter our society in ways we can’t even anticipate yet, this could be the happiest time of my life.


Or, if you have a dog:


And if being cooped up with your family starts to fray your nerves, here’s some advise:



Have a great weekend, everyone. I’ll be back next week for sure, now that certain functions of my computer are operating again and I can’t stand the guilt when I don’t show up for our regularly-scheduled chats.

And, oh yeah, Fuck Trump.








8 Comments, RSS

  1. Well, I’m glad to hear you’re back in blogland and back in your small town, armed with vodka. We are in surreal times, for sure. Sorry about BTS. That IS a drag after all that effort.

  2. Barbara Marie Lee

    If I get quarantined with my husband for two weeks and he dies, I assure you that it won’t be the virus that kills him.

  3. Alex

    OMG the monkey at Noah’s Ark! Thank you for giving me something to laugh about here in Ground Washington State Zero.

    Washington State, btw, is now closed. Please try back in eight weeks.

    Pretty crazy here, though before the crisis, I was an antisocial, introverted, germaphobic retired person whose hobbies include reading, writing, drawing, piano playing, birding, and walking my dogs. After the crisis, I am an antisocial, introverted, germaphobic retired person who does the same things only with twice as much sanitizing. I do miss baseball, though.

    Hang in there!

  4. Casey

    Thanks for this, I needed a few good laughs. And yes, I also googled about the scissors with the Korean spicy noodles and yes, you are right, things are just a tiny bit weirder in Korea.

    And thank you for the tip about tipping the grocery store workers. It’s an unglamorous job and I am very thankful that they are still showing up for work. Bless them all and YES I will tip the next time I go to the store.

    They say alcohol is a disinfectant so I’ll join you in a medicinal V&T.

  5. I get it. Boy, the travel…. I know it’s bad to have half empty planes. For the planes. But for me? Heaven.

    Glad you are home and hope you are and stay well. I am in shelter at home mode, which I love. After a short visit to Canada (just made it home before the border closed) this lung-diseased, immune suppressed introvert is laying low. I see Rick daily but at a good six feet distance because he was a tad less spatially distant from our wonderful grocery store manager, so I was told by my doc not to fully trust him! He didn’t put it in those words but I could tell. I did my last shop on Tuesday and now Rick is, which means no more junk food or diet pop.

    I took chocolates to the doctor’s office yesterday and great idea on tipping my store workers. They are the heroes of this and doing a darned good job of keeping the place stocked. At least I won’t run out of wine.

    Stay well and god bless Anthony Fauci.

  6. barbara

    So excited to see your blog that I jumped up and made myself a Manhattan with 2 Cherries (!) to celebrate before I sat down to read it. What is with the run on toilet paper…I ran to Total Beverage and hit the wine aisles. Now I’m prepared for anything.

    Thank you Thank you for your words and outlook on what is now our daily lives during The Time of The Great Confinement. Could you maybe post 2x a week? We are in dire need here.

    And your suggestion to tip at grocery store is terrific. They also are on the front lines for us.

  7. Marg-o

    I read this last night, but I’m commenting this morning because I had the same reaction as Barbara when I checked in and you were there. I sat down with my Saturday cocktail and we “visited”, and it made my Vodka tonic taste even better. Thanks for being here and yes, I promise to tip my grocery store clerks too. I’m sure they would want to be home but they are doing important work.

    I loved the cross stitch motto, about yelling I Love You in German. By the way, it’s “ich liebe dich, bitch.”

    Ah, German. The language of fear and loathing.

  8. Kirra

    Thank so much for posting Vivian! I really needed a laugh today. Teachers in Australia are mostly still working (in our state we are) and I am busy being ANGRY most of the time about how we have been treated. It’s really pathetic. I try and stay at home like we’ve been told to, but then every day I go to school with hundreds of students and at least 30 other staff. We are getting less students in the classes but we still have to be there. Also extra cleaning of my classroom and hand washing etc is wearing me out. So thanks again for the laughs and I will definitely check in on time tomorrow. Stay safe with the vodka and p-g!

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