It's funny--those of you who have met me--a large, squishy woman who doesn't walk very fast and looks like she eats Oreos for breakfast and double cheeseburgers for lunch (in my youth, but, seriously, not for quite some time) is probably the last candidate anyone would have for needing that walk in the park.
And I didn't realize how much I needed it until I drove the dogs to the park--Mate next to me, because he's used to working out three days a week and his muscles get sore too--and the gate was closed.
"Well, yeah," he said. "I've been anticipating this." (Married people will know the special kind of exasperation that comes with statements like these.)
"Playground equipment," I said numbly. "Like petri dishes." But inside, I'm hitting the wall.
The "It's okay, it's okay, everything is fine," wall.
Everything is not fine. I haven't been able to buy toilet paper for a week (and lucky me, I generally have plenty because it's a tick of mine--one that's not likely to get better) and my daughter's birthday is probably going to be us, ordering pizza (maybe!) and singing Happy Birthday to her with her grandparents on Skype.
My eyes burned, and I actively had to pull my shit together. This, in the grand scheme of things, is no big deal.
We stop by the grocery store to see if they have toilet paper (that's a negatory on toilet paper--negative on the TP) and while we're there, I take the dogs out to see if they want to take their crap on the tiny spot of lawn down at the end of the parking lot. (They did not. In fact, I think it hurt their perception of my sanity.)
That's when Mate and I see--hello!-- Squish's soccer coach, Coach Dave. Coach Dave is an officer in our local police force--head of S.W.A.T.--and he was parked two spots away, doing his paperwork. We chatted, and I told him about the park and he was frustrated too.
"What? Are people like going around licking park benches or something? Because those people deserve what they get!"
We laughed and I said something about little kids and playgrounds and he grimaced. I said, "Yeah, I bet you've been seeing plenty of people who've had enough of each other, right?"
Oh yeah. That was the biggest item on his roster.
And then he offered to drive through our neighborhood if we were ever feeling unsafe, because he knew it was scary out there.
And I don't think we'll ever take him up on it, but I am reminded that it's not all bad. No, the grocery story did NOT have TP--I am told it will be there Saturday and everybody gets ONLY ONE PACKAGE-- but as we drove home along a different route we came to... wait for it...
A walking park. This one didn't have a parking lot--it's used a lot by residents in the nearby houses, and you can park on the street, and, well, walk through.
Perfect place to walk your dogs. And even if you pass somebody on the path, it's easy to maintain a six to ten foot distance.
We took the kids today because we don't want them to become solids and I was remembering something I'd heard about Amish children, about how they didn't need super special things--for them, a walk with their family was a nice treat. Yes, there was a lot of the "silkworm dance"--as i the kids go, "OH MY GOD IT'S A SILKWORM GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF!" complete with shimmying and batting at their hair and threatening to strip off all their clothing in the chilly morning, but the dogs got walked and the people stretched their legs and we passed one person--ONE PERSON-- total on the mile long walk. We saw others in the distance--but hey, it was a lot better than taking them walking in our own neighborhood, where people have more guns than goddamned common sense.
And Mom got her small sliver of normal. The thing that helped her make lunch and then dinner and wash dishes and now, stay up to write to deadline, because life goes on.
Mate and I plan to go tomorrow.
I'm good with that.
A walk in the park--sometimes dealing with life really is that easy.
(For those interested, this is a section of the local press release telling us that yes, we can go outside. Honestly? I'm going to refer to it often.)
The order allows people to leave their house to go for walks, exercise, and do go to open businesses, including grocery stores, banks, laundromats, hardware stores, health care facilities, pharmacies, pet food stores, and a few other businesses that are essential to basic household functioning.
In public, though, the order is for people to remain six feet apart. Grocery stores have been given the OK to limit the number of people in the store at one time to assure that people in the store can remain six feet apart, including in the checkout line.