I haven’t been out in days. My husband has been the one to brave the grocery store and that is the only place anyone from our house has been for almost a week. I was sent home from school on Tuesday and haven’t been out since. My kids have gone as far as the driveway to play not-even-quarter-court basketball; me and the dog have only ventured to the backyard.
But today I was on a mission.
You see, I have a friend who lives in California. I am in New York. She is there, with her dogs and cats and turtles and god-knows-what-other creatures and I am here, closer to her parents who are currently living alone in a rural town 30 minutes away. She is there and I am here.
So today I was on a mission.
Before I left the house, I made sure I had my phone, my wallet, car keys and hand sanitizer. I don’t use hand sanitizer. Dries out my skin and kills the good bacteria. Handwashing is just as good. Unless you are in a car and in a store and back in a car and there are no sinks in a car. Then, you have to use the 65% alcohol “all natural” hand sanitizer because, well, no sinks in my car.
So I took the hand sanitizer on my mission.
I started to drive and couldn’t decide between NPR and the news (which I already had heard loop through several times) or music. Loud music. My music. Played loudly. I cranked it up, adjusted my sunglasses and placed my hand sanitizer in the cup holder.
I sat in the parking lot, watching through the big glass window. There were three customers in there. I saw one leave. The other two inched forward. I waited a bit longer, just waiting for another car to come into the lot and force my hand. Customer #2 was paying and I made my move. I rubbed in the hand sanitizer, grabbed the twenty dollar bill and adeptly got from my car and into the bakery without touching a single surface. Better than Tom Cruise.
Mission in progress…
Cherry pie. Sold out. I don’t eat cherry pie, so what’s the alternative? I can’t go back now. And there is another customer pulling into the small parking lot. I have to commit. Cherry turnovers? Solid backup. I watch the woman behind the counter carefully. She is fully gloved and removes them only after putting said turnovers into the box and closing it. But who else has touched the box? What about the counter? What didn’t I see? I hand her the twenty and give a hefty tip…partly because I know her job is precarious on so many levels and partly because I don’t want to take possession of any unknown variable. So I give a nice tip and retreat.
Mission almost accomplished.
Back in the car; more hand sanitizer. Music on. Sunglasses on. I drive, wondering what brings the few other cars out on a Sunday morning in the midst of a pandemic in a state that is, for all intents and purposes, locked down. What is their mission? I drive. I sing. I dance in a little in my seat. Google Maps signals destination on my right. Car in park, motor still running, I exit and walk the short distance to the woman standing at the open door. There are tears in her eyes.
Packaged delivered: a box of love from thousands of miles away.