Editor’s Note – Here’s the second collection of letters from residents of the peninsula describing their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Want to tell your story? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s more about why we’re doing this.
A Reunion Interrupted
In February, I reconnected with two old friends. Back in the ‘70s we worked in Washington DC’s National Press Building: Suzi for an independent film producer, Laetitia and I as journalists. We’d seen little of each other since then. At our happy reunion lunch and walk on a sunny day in Annapolis, our chemistry resurged. Laetitia is now a busy freelance journalist, Suzi is absorbed in time-consuming volunteer work, I’m painting and gardening. We promised to stay in touch. Then COVID-19 exploded. I thought, how could this be real? In calls and emails, we checked on each other’s health and state of mind. Now we were isolated.
For me, home delivery replaced worried trips to the grocery store. I emailed about my “semi-gloom.” Laetitia is worried, but says she feels more protected in her rural community on the Eastern Shore where it’s easier to stay away from crowds. She buys fresh eggs from a neighbor and fish from a waterman, gathers wild salad greens, and is working on a vegetable garden. Suzi writes, noting her distress on seeing a packed Home Depot parking lot, “it’s stunning to think of the people around the world who are ill. Right now, I’m waiting for the sun to come up. Please let me know how you are.” – Helen Huriaux, Federal Hill
Extreme Measures to Close the Distance
There is nothing good about COVID-19. And there is certainly no reason for me to whine, since we are safe and comfortable. Nevertheless, I miss all you guys! I miss our social life dearly. This pushed me into extreme measures: to confront the evil and unknown world of social media. I started using the WhatsApp video call much more. I’m finally working on my Facebook business website. I’m getting to know features like “Hangout” (a free version of Zoom). I embrace that we have these possibilities to connect and can see each other’s faces. I surely need that. Keep the spirits up, neighbors! – Martina Lipperini, Fed Hill
Put on a Robe, Dude!
While liquor stores continue to remain open (thank you, Gov. Hogan), in-store shopping has significantly trailed off. What has picked up significantly is curbside pickup and home delivery. I’m fortunate enough to remain employed in a spirits shop in Canton. Through the use of apps such as Drizly, Mini-Bar, Nitrosell and Cityhive, convenient, cautious, no contact delivery is easily arranged. And local restaurants such as SoBo Cafe are selling beer and wine to go.
While doing home delivery, I’ve noticed some other changes around Baltimore. It is indeed a strange experience driving in formerly crowded sections of town and making uncontested left-hand turns. People’s wardrobes have also changed. Yoga pants and sweats are the only things I see in public. It’s even more casual when people have no plans of leaving their house and I show up with their purchase. At least put on a robe, dude! Have you never seen “The Big Lebowski”? – Jim Glick, Otterbein
Learning a New Way to Teach
As a Luddite of sorts, I have long eschewed the trend to communicate with others by video. COVID-19, however, is forcing me to finally get on board with the whole look-at-each-other-on-a-screen thing. It is not due to any sudden desire on my part to see the people I’m talking to. Rather, as an educator, I am having to learn how to teach remotely. – MBW, Federal Hill
Life During Corona Time
During this Coronavirus period, while some things remain the same, we find alternatives for others. Examples from our last two weeks:
◦ “Martini Friday” on our deck went on as usual with the addition of shouted communications from neighbors between our decks. Another happy hour (virtual) was conducted via Zoom with friends on the Eastern Shore. Zoom also allowed my wife to participate in her weekly breakfast with the “girls.”
◦ With music venues like Cats Eye Pub closed, we watched a live blues performance on Natchyo Grandmas Blues Network via Facebook. We finally broke down and ordered Netflix (30 days free) and have been binge-watching some popular TV series.
◦ Fortunately, the only Corona we have is beer. – Barry Hildebrandt, Federal Hill