What Quarantine Shows Us


Rob jokes that we’ve been in quarantine since 1985, when we both started working full-time as writers, without part-time employment as a teacher or a journalist. But since we never have been strictly under a nationwide lockdown – unable to run to the grocery store the hardware store, etc., – the joke isn’t quite accurate.

Yes, writers do most of their work alone, but most writers I know also have outside interests. They get out of the house, out of their work areas, out of their heads. They make time for other people, for social connections, for doing things they enjoy. So in that sense, the quarantine, lock down, partial lock down, whatever you choose to call it, has been different.

Our gym, of course, has been closed. The yoga studio where Rob taught is closed. The mall is closed. The dog park is closed. We haven’t seen our daughter since mid-March, the longest period in many years. Even for Nigel, our Golden Retriever, life has been vastly different.

Until WHO declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic, we were doing doggie day care so Nigel would have other dogs with whom he could interact. We also boarded other dogs. Some of them he liked and played with, some he ignored, but at least there were dogs. Before the pandemic, we had Nika, our daughter’s dog, here for a month. Before the pandemic, he went to the dog park every afternoon and wore himself out chasing balls and Frisbees, and sniffing butts, as dogs do. Now, there’s no dog companionship. He’s lonely. He gets along well with the cats and vice-versa, but cats aren’t dogs.

When the dog park closed, we took him to our neighborhood park, riding down there on our bikes, Nigel racing alongside us. Then that park closed so we found a vacant lot where he could run. Now that park is open, so off we go on our bikes every afternoon. But no other dogs go there. A couple times a week, I take him over to a friend’s house. Arlene lives on two acres, has two dogs, and the squirrels on her property are plentiful and he loves chasing them and visiting with her dogs.

But. It’s not normal life. For any of us – humans, dogs, cats. Sometimes late at night, the repercussions of this pandemic, the economic meltdown, the entire mess, washes through me. I think about the people who have lost loved ones who might have lived if our country’s response has been quicker, more focused, and if trump hadn’t dismissed it early on as “a hoax.” I think about how my daughter’s future will be vastly changed, diminished, more restrictive. I think about the countries I’ll never see, the cultures I’ll never get to experience. I think about our mortality.

But tonight, as I listen to the wind outside, as Nigel and the cats and Rob sleep, I also think about how this country could emerge as a better, more egalitarian place. The age of Aquarius and all that.

In December, both Jupiter and Saturn enter Aquarius, the sign of the visionary, the rebel, the sign of revolution. Perhaps the 99 percent will find their collective voice and rise up against the one percent and demand a decent minimum wage, universal health care, and a real say in the system their taxes fund.

Perhaps the republican party as it exists now will be swallowed up by its own greed and corruption and the democrats will really stand up for what they profess to represent: the people. Perhaps the anachronistic electoral college will become as extinct as the 467 species that have vanished in the last decade and our presidents will be chosen by popular vote, not the parties, not the delegates. Maybe we’ll finally wake up to the threat of climate change and realize that COVID-19 may be one way the planet is fighting for its own survival.

And so are we.  I mean, c’mon, we’re reduced to THIS?

If nothing else this, pandemic has revealed just how democracy has failed, where the constitution is weak, and where the inequalities lie. It has laid bare the simple fact that we haven’t had  federal guidance, a federal plan, and that trump really is the manifestation of America’s dark underbelly. He’s the emperor without clothes, the little man behind the curtain in Oz, and he has served his purpose. It’s time we find and shout our collective  voice.

So please, can we now move on?

IP.S. It’s now May 19. Florida opened up yesterday. The dog park is open. There’s toilet paper on the shelves, paper towels, flour. We saw our daughter this past weekend. We can go out to eat in restaurants, go to the gym, have our nails done. We can now move about as though the old normal is back and better than ever.Except: yesterday, Florida had nearly 900 new cases. More than 91,000 people in the U.S. have died. And although the curve seems to be flattening in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, it’s spiking in the rest of the country.  It seems we’re still transitioning from the “old” normal to the “new” normal.


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10 Responses to What Quarantine Shows Us

  1. Jennifer A. Piche says:

    Trish and Rob,
    Hello from Colorado!
    Great post – and for the record, I won’t be changing my protocol much either! No trips to the nail salon or massage therapist or the gym for a long time! 🙁
    For me – I’ve never been a fan of crowds so perhaps it’s not hitting me as hard as others who enjoy sporting events and sports bars and such things that have always repelled me.
    But I sure do miss my volunteer dogwalking shifts at the Denver Dumb Friends League where the paid staff and leadership is being extremely cautious about letting any of the volunteers back (especially us older folks over 60). One of our volunteers passed away from COVID-19 in March.
    I agree with your observation – COVID-19 may be one way the planet is fighting for its own survival.

    • Trish and Rob says:

      Jen, great to see you!

      • Trish and Rob says:

        Your comment went up twice, so I deleted one of them. I’m betting the dogs you walked are missing you!

        • Jennifer Piche says:

          I’m feeling so proud of myself – now that I have all of this time off (and thankfully still being paid!), I finally am getting into reading your fabulous synchronicity blog and I even made my first comment! Love you and miss you!

  2. lauren raine says:

    Well said…….may a visionary time and revolutionary time come, may new leadership arise from this. I hope so, truly, and I think they are there now.

    Equally, I cannot believe daily the cruel insanity of the trump regime. Arizona also has “opened”, and people are running around acting as if it was all over, no masks, etc. I recently read about the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 – it actually began in 1917, and lasted until the summer of 1919, with three waves – almost two years. We have better technology than we did then, but no leadership. I am not going to change my protocol, not for a long time.


    • Trish and Rob says:

      There are astrological parallels between this pandemic and the pandemic in 1918-1919. The numbers in this country keep going up. Why is everything open? We won’t be altering our protocol too much, either.

  3. Iysa says:

    Needed to be said, all of it. Amen.

  4. Nancy says:

    Your comment that the emperor has no clothes was the exact thought I had about trump this week.

    I think we are going to have to learn how to live with this virus. Each individual will have to decide the risks they are willing to take. With the lack of any clear plan or leadership, we are truly on our own. Of course this creates division as trump intended, politicizing our grief. Not only are we facing a pandemic, but we cannot rely on those we love the most to see the world in the same way. This, I think, is the greatest tragedy. He has successfully divided this nation.

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