(March 30, 2020 / JNS) I open the storm door (it’s still March, after all,) and catch a whiff of air. What kind of outside experience am I going to have this morning?
We’re all thinking that.
On the few excursions out now, the occasional passerby will tend to either nod or say hello, or shrink back, lest I present a danger.
I have yet to wear a face mask, though I have one—two, actually. They’re mint-green in color, and the elastic is all stretched out. We discovered them when looking for Purim costumes earlier this month (was that just a few weeks ago?). They are relics from my hospital days: four babies, four C-sections, four complete doctor sets for my husband. It’s a quick fix for the holiday when he can’t come up with something else.
Instead, I don a white winter cap when I go out. I don’t know why; it’s not protective in any way. But it stands out—that and semi-cat-eye pink plastic sunglasses. They might offer some protection, at least from the UV rays. Plus, they’re cute.
Most of my “valuables” are pink. I learned early on that a house full of men tends to avoid objects in that color. They glimpse such goods and walk by—pink laptop, pink phone cover, pink charging cord, pink ear buds (still working just on the one side, by the way, but waiting to win a bid on eBay for the exact same pair).
But let’s face it. If they were all gray, black or white, they’d be swiped in an instant. You know, in a nice children’s “I’ll give them back” way, of course. (They don’t.)
So I dutifully head out with my reusable shopping bag. It’s Monday, and I need a few essentials. I walk down the street and straight across the road.
That’s right! Straight across without fear that any cars will take me down (it’s happened before, but that’s another story). It’s a ghost town out there.
In fact, it’s a little like Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. On that one day of the year, you can literally lay down flat on the street—and people do, both adults and kids. No cars. Just pedestrians and the seriousness of atonement.
So across the road and to the store for fruits and veggies, and maybe hand sanitizer and wipes, if the cleaning-aisle shelves aren’t bare.
On my way back home, an older woman walking a dog on the other side of the street smiles, giving me a knowing look.
I think she likes the glasses.
Carin M. Smilk is the managing editor of JNS.
This Reporter’s Notebook will appear starting on March 16 until the end of the month (or when schools reopen).
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