PV Headshot Jean Shriver.JPG

Jean Shriver

Ewww, no, I thought, waking up to another day of lockdown.

I was missing my friends, missing my activities and missing walking through the grocery store and picking up whatever caught my eye that day. My family jailers will buy me whatever is on my list, but what about the things I don't know I want until I see them? And I gotta say I find Zoom a poor substitute for my flesh and blood workshops.

So I got my cranky self out of bed and saw that sunlight was streaming through the French doors of my bedroom. A noisy peacock was screeching in the distance, while a rose-breasted house finch twittered on the balcony rail just outside those French doors. Another gorgeous day in Palos Verdes.

And after appreciation, came shame.

The truth is I am sitting in the catbird seat these days. I live on a courtyard right next door to three grandchildren, a son and a daughter-in-law. While we don't get too close, we can talk across the courtyard or out in the garden without endangering our health. They have gone to the grocery store and the drugstore for me a number of times and faithfully returned with the items on my list.

I have given them money for these purchases which I realize puts me way ahead of many people in the country today. Not having to worry about where your next meal is coming from is a big luxury today.

Having money in the bank is is true for most of the people I know, but not for vast numbers of hardworking people who have lost their jobs.

There are people lining up for food donations who say they have never in their lives needed that kind of help before. They are embarrassed, but too desperate not to take the food.

Sometimes in the evening, my house seems empty.

There's just me rattling around in the big rooms, watching TV and reading a book. And that in itself is a luxury in this time of pandemic.

What if I lived with a bus driver or a worker at Trader Joe's? Those people return home, maybe to a family, after a day of being close to strangers who might be carrying an infection.

And then there's all the heroic people working in hospitals who are taking their lives in their hands whenever they go to work. Let's all pause for a moment to give them our appreciation.

There's a good side to my empty house.

Many people have to live in crowded apartments where there's no escaping closeness to another person. It's not random that rates of infection go up in city precincts where people lived crammed together. Both rich and poor have died from this virus, but the numbers for poor people are far higher.

I live in a sparsely populated part of Palos Verdes which means I can walk on the road that leads to my house without encountering anyone.

I have a garden, in full bloom right now, that gives me the safest of spaces to wander around. I'm only sorry that I can't share the flowers and birds with more people.

By the time I've showered and dressed, I am fully appreciating all the perks of my situation. I go down to the kitchen and find that I'm all out of cereal and only have two pieces of bread left for toast.

And ... oh no, the coffee is almost out.

I hope I can cajole someone in the family to go to the market for me today.

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