Social isolation: Day 1

It’s been a roller coaster week.

Monday we went to work and school as normal, albeit with a low hum of menace in the atmosphere.  Monday afternoon NZ had moved to “alert level 3” on a brand new pandemic alert level metric, with the move to “alert level 4” planned for midnight Weds.

The kids’ school sent out a notice to parents that school was closed starting Tuesday, except for kids whose parents were working in “essential services.”  These parents had two more days when they could send their kids to school and make frantic arrangements for childcare during the next 4 weeks of planned nation-wide shut down.

Jeremiah found his engineering profession on that list, and I figured the veggie transplant portion of Zealandia, as part of the food system, would count as essential.  We sent the kids to school Tuesday.

At work I spent the day understanding the government rules of how to change our work habits to avoid spreading virus, and crafting messages to our site managers and staff, and making up doorknob sterilizing solution.  When I went to pick them up at 3:00 the school campus was deserted, no school crossing, no kids on the playgrounds.  I found the kids in their classrooms and discovered that out of a school body of 700 children, ours were two of the 18 students who had attended that day.  Mommy guilt.  

I went to work on Wednesday hoping to learn what I’d be doing for the next four weeks.  Would I be essential enough to keep working?

Wednesday the kids stayed home, and Jeremiah worked at home from a desk he’s set up in our bedroom.  Working from home with our two live-wire kids isn’t easy, and he wasn’t smiling when I returned.  

Apparently I’m not essential.  On my way out the door at 3:00 my boss said thanks, but I could stay home the next day….and every day, unless the growing team started dropping and they need someone to water plants.

I parked the car in the driveway. My Chilean salsa music going full blast for the whole neighborhood to enjoy, every light was on in the house, and the kids’ bathroom door was locked. I knocked and out strutted a giggling drag queen (well, probably drag princess) amid waves of perfumed hair gel.  His sister was there too, trying to figure out how to keep her tube dress up with no boobs. “Do you have a pair of high heels I can use, Mommy?” he queried. “Yes darling, I’m sure I do, and give me a minute to change into my dress ups too….” After all, the world’s gone crazy.

Optimistic that rubbish collection would count as an essential service, I teetered out to the end of the drive in high heels, dragging the bins.  Our neighbor happened to be on his way past, and he stopped for a socially-distanced (2m away) chat.  Milo sashayed down the driveway at that moment, blue eyelids fluttering.

“Day one of social isolation, eh?” Campbell observed, with a smirk.


5 thoughts on “Social isolation: Day 1

  1. Your shenanigans under the same looming virus threat that we have are proof that it’s a small world. We aren’t as frisky as you, but there have been some nice moments, like when a greenhouse decided to give everyone in his neighborhood a flat of pansies. People loved it!

    • The last day at work Zealandia gave out punnets of veggies to staff….I should have grabbed some pansies too. Funny that it’s spring for you and you’re planting pansies, and for us it’s autumn and we’re planting pansies (or would be if the stores were open).

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