It’s COVID-19 in Peru Day 12.

OK, we’ve got our clocks set for 6 a.m. We are ready to roll! We’ve practiced the steps of leaving the apartment in a rush: Do a visual sweep of each room, empty the garbage, pull the blinds, get the food to our neighbors, make sure we pack the cords for the electronics, passports handy.

At 5:15 a.m. I wake up, check my email.


Day 12 Commences

I meditate. I do the crossword and the spelling bee game. I check email. I get the Day 11 post out.

We get Embassy emails that say, “We have more planes out, we’ve repatriated more people!” And….no call for us to get to the airport, or the meeting point, or wherever we’re supposed to go.

President Vizcarra has given clearance for repatriation flights, but only until April 1. We have 4 days.

I mean, I do keep going on about how much I like Peru….

We wait.

History Lessons?

I crave history. People have emerged from horrible crises before. I start reading Howard Zinn’s The Twentieth Century: A People’s History. I fall asleep, read a little more, fall asleep a little more.

Due to avoiding Facebook, I find myself spending more time on the New York Times. But nothing changes; the predictions get worse, the recommendations for ways to survive—watch fun distracting things, cook, cope, be kind—are beginning to sound a bit tinny to me.

I head over to Counterpunch for a bracing dose of Jeffrey St. Clair, a fine far left writer who nonetheless often annoys me—no one, according to him, is ever doing enough or doing it right when it comes to US politics. I mean, fair enough, but he leaves me feeling like Barbara Hershey in Hannah and Her Sisters, when she snaps at her grouchy magnificent boyfriend played by Max von Sydow, “Jesus, Victor, lighten up!”

St. Clair, however, is a genius at finding wonderful things like this picture. The man holds up the last line of Dante’s inferno: “When this Hell ends . . . ‘And we emerged to see the stars again.’ “

covid-19 in peru day 12

Hey, That Headline Is About ME…

Steve and I both find ourselves continually exhausted. I boil up the last of the spaghetti, mix it with veggies and tuna, eat, think about lying down, but then decide to get up. Steve, normally Mr. High Energy, says, “I’m going to go lie down.”

I open my email. Right on top is an NYT email: “Why You’re So Exhausted.” I laugh and read it to Steve. “Yeah, I just saw that,” he says.

Because it’s inside an email, I can’t link to it. But it basically says that we’re all sick of making so many decisions due to the presence of so many variables. All of us depend on experts as shortcuts so we don’t have to read every single thing that would help us make a decision. But the experts are in new territory with the big things, with no time for the small ones, like how often to go to the grocery store, or stay in or what to listen to about the disease or the economy. You have your own list at this point, I’m sure.

Watching my native land from afar and seeing things and people falling apart, I just really want a better country. Which is going to be really, really hard work, swallowing my ego, having conversations I don’t want to have. I have no idea how it’s going to go. Yesterday, this energized me.

Today? I need another nap.

This is a little hell, not a full-scale Dante’s inferno like many, many people are going through. So I add guilt for not being grateful enough, for feeling sorry for myself, to every other crappy feeling I have.

covid-19 in peru day 12

The End of the Day

Around 6, our rep’s office gets in touch; they’re working hard, they have us on a list, and my patience and uplifting attitude are inspiring. I write back that it looks like we need to be out by April 1st, not a lot of time. We’ve heard from another state Rep, though her email list: Debbie Dingell. She got a family out of Peru. Maybe she knows someone, I suggest.

Grumpity grump grump.

By the nightly shout-out, I have crossed a Rubicon into a gray, cloudy low-level despair. The shout-out goes on and on. Each night, it seems to start slower, more tentatively. Each night it gets more powerful.

But it’s sinking in. I’m not home.

When I get there, what will I find?

I keep thinking of the quote, “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” I have to look it up online to find out it’s from Samuel Beckett. Ha. He was the author of my first husband Karl’s favorite quote; Karl, who died in 1989 of AIDS. The plague I survived.

“You’re on earth. There’s no cure for that.”

It’s just a bad day. Tomorrow needs to be better. In this moment, blah blah blah. I know there’s much to be grateful for, there’s no lack. But to say there’s nothing to fear seems disingenuous.

Beh. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

Steve gives me a neck rub. There is much to be grateful for. We watch Shaun the Sheep. OK, there’s really a LOT to be grateful for. Like, a ton. And I’m tempted to remove this or not bother to post. But I want to be honest.

So this was a rough day. All things considered, I’m fine, we’re fine. We have our daily bread, thy will be done.

In the scheme of things, bad days tend to be followed by good ones. Fingers crossed.