We’ve Escaped

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View of the mountains/ocean from Chuckanut drive. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

My tightly-knit cocoon of a home—my oasis of creativity and comfort—is unraveling.  The cat and Zoom meetings have blown a big (metaphorical) hole through the middle of the house, and I feel like I’m falling through the floor while screaming desperately for a strong drink.  This all happened on Friday, which was maybe the 454th day of Mapril during the lockdown of 2020.

Typically, for four hours a day, I work online for an educational/publishing company that helps students find and fix problems with their essays. These hours are focused and intense because I have to try really hard to pretend that I am a professional adult.  This does not come naturally to me.  A quiet house helps, so I work my hours in the morning when the cat is still sleeping.

However, Nate and Alex are now both here at the same time because Nate is working from home and Alex’s school is still closed and probably will be until the end of the year.  Nate’s work prefers conference calls, while Alex’s teachers sometimes opt for Zoom meetings.  While Nate is on a conference call, Alex’s Zoom meeting experiences technical difficulties, so I need to leave my post and help him fiddle with his computer. When it looks like it’s working, I have nanoseconds to get the heck out of Alex’s room before his teacher and his entire class see a close-up of my ratty pajamas and naked face.  (So far, I think they’ve only seen me from behind, as I’m running away. Now that I think about it, I should really check out what the back of my pajamas looks like. If they’re anything like the sleeves, which are full of holes, I should be worried. Very worried.)

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Waterfall near Chuckanut Drive. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

Meanwhile, Nate’s phone calls can sometimes be loud, and the cat likes it when Nate is loud. He thinks it’s party time. He thinks, “Nate wants to play. I just know it.”  And, when the cat wants to play, he charges through the house like a freight train and crashes into walls and furniture.  Then, he does this yodeling thing to get our attention. It sounds like this: Yow! Yow! Yow! Except it sounds more like a question—there’s an inflection on the end, like this: Yow!? Yow!? Yow!?

So, between preventing the cat from attending Nate’s finance meetings and playing “dodge the camera” during Alex’s Zoom sessions, I seriously contemplate violating lockdown orders by flying to Florida, climbing the gates of the Magic Kingdom, and setting off all of the fireworks for the “Happily Ever After” show.

When five-o’-clock rolled around on Friday, I pulled out a bottle of rosé, unscrewed the top, took a swig and announced, “I think we should escape. We’ve got to go AWOL.”

Nate scratched his head and said, “Well, we could take a drive.”

“I’m in,” I said.

We didn’t actually take our drive until Sunday morning, but by Sunday morning, we were ready.  We flew down roads, past deserted malls and boarded up restaurants.  Earlier, I thought maybe we should wear scarves or bandanas around our mouths and noses, just in case—like a family of bandits cruising through apocalyptic landscapes. However, there was no time to raid the hanky drawer. The open road was calling. I pressed my face against the window of the car, shouting, “Wow! Wow!” every time we passed just about anything.

“It has only been three weeks,” Nate said.

“I know. It doesn’t take much for me to lose it,” I replied.

We were on our way to Chuckanut Drive. We were there last year, when we could get out of our car and go to the park near the beach. We saw the most magnificent purple starfish.  That wouldn’t happen this time. This time, we’d count ourselves lucky to catch a glimpse of the ocean from a turnout. We would get out of the car and breathe in deeply, which is something I also miss.  Lately, I’ve been holding my breath every time I go grocery shopping. I can’t wait until I can breathe and shop at the same time.

Just a few miles away from Chuckanut, I asked Nate and Alex what they missed most.

“Going to movies,” Nate said.

“Being able to touch things,” Alex said.

“Do you ever just want to run up to a stranger, hug them tightly, and smell their hair?” I asked.

“No,” Nate said.  “Would you do that?”

“No. I just thought I’d ask.  Also, I miss the way that banks smell.”

Up ahead, we were reaching the start of the drive, where just past the ferns and mossy trees, we could stop at pullouts and breathe in the fresh air.  There were no safe trails that led to the beach, but the mixture of the smells of pine and ocean from the main road above were all that we needed.  And, I’m grateful that we stepped out.  Tonight, maybe I won’t dream of walking through malls or eating in restaurants.  Instead, I’ll dream of the starfish I miss seeing—and hope that they don’t start yodeling like a cat-on-the-fritz during a Zoom meeting.

Your Turn:  Have you been able to go for a drive or a walk? What did you see?

29 thoughts on “We’ve Escaped

  1. We can only drive to shops within 2km and exercise within 1km of home for one hour – self-certified. Fortunately we live on a private Domaine with grounds of 27 hectacres which we’ve been thoroughly investigating. It takes around 2 hours to walk all around the perimeter across quite undulating terrain. We’ve lived here for 15 years and can’t quite believe what we’ve found!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds lovely! We’ve been able to walk around our neighborhood. Golf courses are also still open for some reason, and I’ve seen people on the golf courses, but we don’t have a burning desire to go:) Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was lovely. We don’t have a cat to interrupt hubby’s zoom meetings, or my weekly conference calls, or the kids’ online schooling, but we have a two-year-old. I suspect he’s worth at least 6 cats, but hubby’s bedroom/office door locks, my conf. call happens during his naptime, and, thankfully, the girls’ schooling doesn’t involve a camera. All in all, we’re surviving in this new normal.
    We do take walks, longer than usual, as the standard scenery of homes is getting stale. I did hit a grocery story on Friday (I was out of my favorite hooch), but seeing people in their makeshift face masks was eerie and depressing. I did, however, find a great sale on chicken, too, so, bonus! The funny memes I see online are welcome levity. And your posts, of course. 🙂

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  3. I’ve been to my parents’ house twice, because our stay at home order allows us to check on relatives over sixty. Other than that, I’ve stayed in. Since I live alone, I’m having a much easier time working from home than many others.

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  4. Unfortunately we can’t go driving; well at least not without a sound reason – like shopping for necessities and medical needs. If caught by our wonderful men in blue (love them; heroes of a kind) we can be up for a hefty fine! But. we can go out to exercise, bearing in mind the social distancing etiquette, of course. It really does feel great to get out every evening and take a brisk walk/run around the neighbourhood.
    Animals and children really do help to keep us grounded. Fortunately, we have two little dogs that keep us entertained. No Yow?! Yowing; but, they are gorgeous and sweet. Their needs, both emotional and physical, are a nice grounding in a rather unconventional world right now. They haven’t changed, which, I believe, is a rather cool connection to life as per usual…

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    1. We don’t have anyone asking for papers or anything like that when we drive, but we do limit our trips. The streets and turnouts on Chuckanut drive were empty and we only stayed a total of five to ten minutes. Mostly, we walk around our neighborhood. I think going to the store is the most dangerous thing we do. Trying to maintain the distance is hard when people are bumping into you. Your dogs sound adorable–enjoy them:)

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  5. You’ve got the month too short – it’s actually something like ‘Maprilay.’ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I go out every couple of days to the outside world. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking.

    The other day I ventured to Wally World and it was like it was party time there – forget the 6 foot rule – I don’t think anyone there ever heard of the 6 foot rule!!! I even got whacked in the rear end at the check out counter – the guy behind me was that close. I gave him the ‘LOOK’ and he backed up like a freight train had just whacked him in the face, and had kept going.

    Today at Safeway it was pretty much the same – the stores are way too crowded.

    Stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes–this has been a crazy month. And, yes–people are everywhere in the stores! And, thanks for the warning–it looks like we’ll all need shields and masks for our backsides when we go shopping. Yikes!

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  6. I still haven’t gone anywhere since March 03, but if it offers you a little bit of comfort, one of my friends was caught sitting in the toilet by her son’s class because he needed her help setting up Zoom. So I guess you can feel better about the PJs!

    Stay safe and healthy! =) Many socially distant hugs to you and the family! (And my hair smells like coconut, there!)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. She’s now managing to laugh at the whole situation (her son is young, 4/5, so he didn’t really think it through), but she was absolutely mortified at the time! Now she’s at the ‘young kids, what are you gonna do?’ stage.:)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. We just walk around the town, and there’s not much to see, but at least it’s fresh air. This post was awesome and funny. But don’t forget that the best thing about virtual meetings is seeing people’s kids and pets–grab the cat and Alex and proudly showcase them!

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