Maybe I should have washed my mask in cold water; it’s a little snug, fitting more like a Barbie sweater and less like protective gear. I’ve been gifted a number of fashion forward Corona wear, but every time I slip the elastic straps over my ears, my face tightens. The words that come out of my mouth sound stilted, much like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, before Dorothy fetches his oil can. Masks tend to fog up your glasses and tickle your nose, making it both hazardous and sneeze inducing to navigate the outside world. It’s nearly impossible to see where the sidewalk ends and the front step begins and I feel myself stumbling, instinctively putting my hands out to save myself from I don’t know what. The combination of absurdity and desperation and ill-fitting disposable gloves makes me laugh and cry. I long to pick up the phone and call my mother who would have helped me find some humor in all of this insanity. Had Rommy been here to witness Covid-19, she would have filled her quarantine days Norma Rae-ing through remnants of Laura Ashley floral and jacquard, sewing up a storm of colorfast masks.
The masks would have been meticulously executed, probably reversible, a curious but agreeable fashion accessory. I envision the masks edged in cheerful rickrack promoting cautious optimism. For a select few, Rommy would have fitted her imposing sewing machine with a special needle attachment, monogramming the lower right hand corner of the mask with our initials. There would have been a sensible pocket (with room for a filter) and a little quilt bunting to cushion the form fitting nose wire. In some cases, bits of coordinating fabric would have been pieced together in order to craft a matching headscarf, or an oven mitt. Rommy would have known instinctively what I needed in the midst of this crisis and would have supplied the appropriate gear. A variety of headscarves would have distracted from my desperately needed haircut. The perky oven mitt would have been helpful in protecting one hand from a scalding pie drip.
A glutton for punishment, I fuel my pandemic anxiety with a daily dose of Governor Cuomo’s riveting and unsettling news. Drawing me close to the screen daring me to watch, I’m haunted with too much information, visually sucked in by blue charts punctuated in yellow. Coupled with my housemate’s recitation of medical statistics and Times Square updates, I find myself constantly eyeing the kitchen clock, wondering if it’s approaching five pm; if not here, somewhere.
The funny/not so funny thing about quarantine is despite having all the time in the world, I continue to procrasti-bake. A half-hearted attempt at basement organization unearths an assortment of kitchenware. A pullman loaf pan from a restaurant kitchen sparks an afternoon of whole wheat bread baking. A 7” springform that cradled Oreo cheesecakes in the 1980s, prompts an exhaustive search of crumb cake recipes. Ignoring the mountain of papers snaking across my desk, I open the refrigerator and reach for a stick of butter.
Beyond the kitchen, the dining room window frames a solitary pink dogwood, a harbinger of Mother’s Day. The wall clock ticks off the minutes a little too loudly, punctuating the surreal passage of time. Feeling nothing like a holiday weekend and more like an incessant episode of the Twilight Zone, the clock hands indicate 5 o’clock. With the temperature unseasonably warm, a tall glass emblazoned with the brand Peroni, seems appropriate. “A shot and a beer,” Rommy liked to say when sipping an occasional beer, clearly conjuring boilermakers and sky blue afternoons spent cheering the Brooklyn Dodgers. Setting down my glass with a distinctive smudge of butter across the front, I can hear my mother’s laugh.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm