Briefly Noted

 Today, the air is strikingly clean.The rays of the morning sun fall on the white blooms of the pear trees.Outside in my lawn, squirrels are hopping around on the grass.  l leaned closer to the windowsill to get a better view,-some are looking for food and the others just playing around.In every day of working life, I miss the opportunity to look at nature so frequently. Now I have plenty of time! 

 If I step in to the living room, the news channel that my husband loves watching, is now making me crazy. So I have decided to spend some time recounting the small stack of toilet paper in my bathroom closet. Last time, two weeks back I went to three of the local grocery stores, and all of them were completely out of toilet paper. In one of the stores, which I remember clearly carries its toilet paper and paper towels in aisle number 8. That day that isle was crowded and the shelves were empty.One couple with two small kids had one cart full of twenty four double count of scott toilet paper rolls and another family had six packs of Viva rolls. I stood at one corner of the isle and looked up and down for toilet paper and hoping to get at least one- any brand will work.The isle was crowded and noisy. A few other customers are complaining,arguing and asking not to hoard all but leave some toilet paper rolls for them. One of the angry customers, a tall man with a blue mask on his face, pointed his finger to make it clear and shouted, “It is called sharing!” Another lady pushed her eyeglass up on her nose, lifted her mask, and said, “ Hey,I understand that you have kids, but take three packs and leave a few for us.”  She paced back and forth with frustration and walked back towards the couple and stood in front of their shopping cart. She said, “You know perfectly well that the store may not stock them back for a while. Don’t you know? I need to have one pack.” The couple with the majority of toilet papers in their carts, waved their hand in the air in disagreement and left. Bitter argument, shouting are the last places one should be, so I turned around. I was mad too for not finding any toilet paper,and I picked up some unnecessary, unhealthy items like brownie mix, ingredients to make carrot cake but a few green vegetables to counterfeit the sweets that I will eat for several days of my quarantine. 

 I entered the house with the load of groceries in my hand. As I was washing them and cleaning with clorox wipes,I overheard my husband negotiating airline refund for our international flight to India. We had a plan to take two weeks off in Spring break and visit our families back in India. But now we have to plan for next year. Hopefully this virus will be long gone at that time. After ten minutes of all the cleaning and wiping, I decided to change my clothes and wash my hands for the tenth time. 

It is almost five o’ clock in the evening. I walked into the living room to relax on the couch. If you will look down,you will notice how the beautiful hardwood floor is now full with dog hair.My twelve years old dog Lucy is a mix of German shepherd and boxer and I know perfectly well that she sheds in every spring . But If you are home all the time,then you should clean it. Now that I have washed my hands, I don’t want to touch the vacuum cleaner. I saw that my husband had finished talking with the airline and jolted down something in his notepad. I cleared my throat. “Wow!” Didn’t I vacuum the hair yesterday!” I said. He lowers the volume of the television and stops writing.

 “Yes, what happened?” he asked. I pointed at all  the dog hairs on the floor. “ I vacuumed the floor yesterday!” He smiled calmly and reminded me that it is early Spring, then he said, “ You don’t have to vacuum everyday, and instead just use the broom.” 

“Isn’t it the same thing?” I looked at him to hear his reply, but he had already started typing in his laptop. After vacuuming the whole floor, I washed my hands and decided to take an evening walk. I venture out from isolation, alone for a peek around, filling the stillness with my own narrations on a city’s mood. “It is a beautiful spring day,” said one lady walking with her dog. 

“We’re just not able to really enjoy it.” I smiled, nodded my head as she passed me keeping her distance. After twenty minutes of walk, my eyes fell on the face of a woman in her sixties sitting on a wooden bench talking to her small dog sitting on her lap. She wore plastic gloves and had a scarf wrapped around her face. I stopped a few feet away from her and with a big smile said, “ Hello! You have such a cute dog! Hi!” I waved my have at both of them. She looked at me. “ I’ m so isolated now that I have started spending time talking to my dog.” She cleared her throat. “ Everybody is freaking out. It’s a completely different way of living.” she said.

“I understand, I was so suffocated at home that I decided to take a walk.” I said.

She leaned forward on the bench. “I clean my house, work on the yard, but I miss talking to my friends.” A small smile appeared on her face. “I don’t mind being to myself but mind being forced to be by myself.” She kissed her dog.

“ Do you talk to your friends on the phone?” I asked curiously.

She nodded. “I do, but it is not the same at all. I liked to eavesdrop on people in museums and go to the theatre with friends- and now all gone.”

Her sadness and loneliness touched me and I understood that completely. “ It will pass soon.” I told her in assurance. I waved my hand in the air to say bye and started my walk. As I was walking, the famous poem of Emily Dickinson started playing in my mind. 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers 

That perches in the soul 

And sings the tune without the words 

And never stops – at all ….”

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