One of the unexpected consequences of COVID-19 in my life is that I’ve turned into a snuggle-on-the-couch with-a-blanket kind of person, when before I was always a sit-upright-on-floor-pillows kind of person.

I guess it’s a comfort thing, but it makes it harder to go to bed in good time. If I can no longer sit upright on the floor, that usually means I’m tired enough to go to bed. But the couch? I just stay on the couch. And I watch Deep Space Nine.

One day, almost a month ago, I went onto the Target website to place a pick-up order, something I did with some frequency even before the pandemic, thanks to shopping anxiety.

Even before outright mentions of COVID-19 had been added to the site, it said everything about the transitions people were making to self-isolation.

Deals on board games.

Deals on home fitness equipment.

Deals on lounge wear for the whole family.

Sometimes during these early spring days, in this little not-quite-idyllic, rural New England town where I live, I go out walking and a brilliant, sunny daffodil snaps into my line of sight from across the street, and I think, “Pandemic. Pandemic? Pandemic. What the fuck, what the fuck?”

The pandemic has meant that I finally started making homemade yogurt again. A local farm store is doing phone orders and pickups, so we have better access to quality milk than we do yogurt.

I worried that this batch wouldn’t come out because the milk felt hotter than normal, but in ten years of making yogurt, I’ve never had a batch fail “to yog,” as my partner puts it.

Thank You for Running on Dunkin

In these days of coronavirus isolation, I already miss my Thursday morning writing routine.

I stop at the Dunkin Donuts closest to work, and every week it’s the same order: large iced cold brew, three creams, less ice, and a power breakfast sandwich with added bacon. I’m not much for routines in general, but I’ve grown superstitious about this one: I haven’t changed my order in over a year, and I even have specific sections of my drive where I’m allowed to listen to writing podcasts, and others that are book mix CD only.

It’s the same table every week, and if those public works guys with the truck are there, it’s the adjacent table, and I give them the sidelong shifty-eye until they leave, and I swoop over in three trips with my computer and my numerous index cards.

I say “hi” to the some people and eavesdrop on others, and they’re the same people every week. I watch the same young cashier flirt with the same old women and thank them for running on Dunkin.

And then I stop noticing the other people so much as I finish my sandwich and get into a good flow. I always aim to finish a scene, and succeed often enough. On the way to work, I play “Outsiders” by Franz Ferdinand. It wasn’t on purpose, at first, but it comes after the most repeated song on the book mix, and it turned into a victory lap, if driving in a Corolla through four lighted intersections and then backing into a parking spot counts as a victory lap.

It meant more last year than it does now. With the kind of work schedules my partner had, some weeks it was my only time to work on Stars Fall Out. Still, it was one of my favorite parts of my week, and it felt like the bastion of my writing discipline.

These days, we all have things we’re going to miss or already miss. This is one of mine. A little, mundane piece of my week that I miss a great deal.

Now that everyone and their Uncle Bob has taken a sudden, pandemic-motivated interest in hiking, my hiking pole is also my social distancing pole.

Always remember that a social distancing pole is no substitute for choosing an unpopular trail with difficult parking and little to no markings either on the map or on the ground.

And no, I haven’t poked anyone with it–I would have to sanitize it.