Pandemic Prose

How Are You…Really?


Dear Reader:

How are you? Somewhere along the way, we all learned the appropriate response to that question: fine. It’s the quick, polite, automatic, go-to answer that we use in day-to-day conversation.

I use it myself, with one variation. When I raise my eyebrows, let out a quiet sigh and say
“fine, fine,” its a big clue that I’m not fine. The “double fine” is shorthand for “I’ve been better, but let’s not dwell upon it.”

My favorite people in the world are the people who ask me how I am and wait for the answer. These people really want the truth. I can dish out the good, the bad and the ugly and they’ll stick around and listen!

The thing is, most of the time, I am fine. I have my ups and downs just like anybody, but I’m living a very good life. “Fine” was a perfectly fine answer until it wasn’t.

In March, I felt determined to meet the challenges of life in a pandemic. I was busy stocking my pantry, happy to eat bowls of pasta and cereal and riveted to the news.

By April, I’d gained three pounds, stopped sleeping through the night and learned how to set up a Zoom call. I was tired, anxious and depressed.

May brought with it the realization that I wasn’t going to be going back to the gym anytime soon. We turned the garage into a gym and I started virtual training sessions. I was sore and tired and still consuming large quantities of carbs and news.

June was hot and so is July. My backyard is my oasis. When I recline on the lounge chairs or float in the pool, I forget who the president is or how many people have died from Covid 19. I am eating more green food and watching less news, but I am tired all the time.

How are you? I really want to know.

If there is something good to have come from the pandemic, I feel this may be it: people are reaching out to each other to tell them exactly how they feel. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t receive a communication from a friend. Usually, I talk to multiple friends in one day. There are cards in the mail, notes on the porch, messages on Instagram, emails, phone calls and texts.

Seems we’re really not fine and, for now, we want to talk about it. I’m here to listen.