Imagine people in face masks shuffling and reshuffling their positions in a laundry room that serves a twenty-one story apartment building, everyone endeavoring to maintain six feet of social distance. You'd be surprised at how unrecognizable your neighbors are when their faces are covered, and how hot those face coverings are. And since washer-dryer repair isn’t an essential service, seven weeks into New York City’s quarantine, a third of the washing machines and a third of the dryers aren't working, and no one has been called to fix them.
Eventually we might be washing our clothes in the sinks and tubs of our apartments, and feeling lucky that we have soap and running water to do so. Till then, people wait around for other people's wash cycles to finish, counting down the minutes, and then wait for their neighbors to show up and remove their clothes, and it feels as if we're living in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, when just going outside your front door means risking your life, except it really does mean that. The minute you step outside your door, you're less safe from covid than you were before.
Each morning when I open my eyes, the first thing I do is survey myself for symptoms. I say a prayer of thanks when I find that I feel completely normal, that the sore throat I thought was coming on the night before has not in fact manifested itself.
My son tested negative for the antibodies. "It's weird to be disappointed you don't have them," he said. "Still, it means the protective measures we take are working." He said he didn't know when next he would see us. "It might not be till the fall," he said. "It might not be till next year." At least he is healthy. Tomorrow is my birthday. The only gift I want is for all of us to be healthy. Amen.