It’s COVID-19 in Peru Day 14.

The previous night, we killed our every-other-day bottle of wine. We watched Endeavour and Schitt’s Creek, an episode each. Endeavour is a British cop show set at Oxford that my sister Lisa turned me onto. We find British TV shows for each other, and then trade memories from hours of watching sitcoms and cartoons together as kids. Given how our mother was for some reason giving us identically awful haircuts, we had to stick together.

I’m the small one with the enormous hand (which happens to be mine) in my mouth. That not touching the face thing is difficult….

covid-19 in peru day 14

I have a nice text back and forth with her in which we complete lines from The Flintstones. Truly, it is an unusual relationship. With who else, we realize, can we exchange recommendations on classy British shows and then in the next breath take turns completing the jingle that Wilma and Betty sing when they work at the drive-in? Without resorting to YouTube, by the way. We don’t cheat.

The song does not happen until about a minute and a half in to the clip below, by the way. The banter prior feels endless. The writing on The Flintstones, I realize, was not its strong suit. Barney has, as my son used to say to explain his terror of ladybugs, no eye-dots. So the drawing wasn’t its strong suit, either. I’m having trouble thinking of whether or not The Flintstones even had a strong suits. Some things, for no good reason, imprint on the brain.

Embassy Update #…I dunno, 571?

Steve and I receive, not long before bed, a link to an online input form for seats on the upcoming charters. One option asks if we are healthy, and/or need to get back because of other issues. There’s an option “safe and healthy, but want to return to the US.” We choose that instead of “safe and healthy and don’t want to return at this time.”

We love it here, but we’ll come back, and hopefully before long, provided travel is possible. If there are more restrictions and we can’t—we’ll certainly never forget Peru.

For now, after grappling with the question a million times, and having well-meaning and not particularly helpful input from pretty much everyone we know—no one knows anything, as William Goldman said about Hollywood—we are ready to come back to native soil. Steve cannot wait to walk around our back yard. I want to hug my family, to the degree that social distancing allows. And at this point, being in the same room will feel like a hug. Hell, so will being in the same 40-mile radius.

A Safe, Healthy, Noisy Morning

Following coffee and a slice of tasty pound cake, Steve lets loose a loud and satisfying fart. I say, “Revel in your power.

“It doesn’t stink,” he says proudly. “I would never subject you to that.”

I argue that he wouldn’t have much choice whether he subjected me to it or not, farts being what they are. A brief discussion on the control available to one regarding Noisy but Harmless vs Silent but Deadly—and the extremely rare but unforgettable Simultaneously Noisy & Deadly—ensues. Steve ends it by saying, “If it were stinky, I would run out of the room.” He takes a beat. “I can usually tell.”

My husband. Considerate, gallant, and agile. As opposed to myself, who am sadly devoid of that particular type of bodily control. That poor man has had to put up with some real stinkers courtesy of moi….

Slightly More Official

We hear from the Embassy: 2800 people responded to the survey. We find this oddly encouraging. Up until now, our communications from them have felt generic, and the ones to them like a shot in the dark. Now, we know we’re on their heavily populated radar.

Around 2 p.m., a message comes. The current priority is the folks in Trujillo, up in the northern coastal region not far from Ecuador. “We will not forget you,” says the message, which is nice to hear. Meanwhile, that volunteering to wait our turn? Our sincerity is being tested.

It’s really ok.

I get word from my son’s housemate that he’s achy. Of course my son hasn’t told me. I call him. He assures me not to worry, and reiterates, as both he and my daughter have done more than once, that he feels better that I’m here. “Don’t watch so much news, Mom,” he says. Clearly, he relishes being the wise one in this case.

Up on the Roof

I work out while Steve walks. When he comes back, I go up on the roof and walk with a podcast that I half listen to about Scottish history. I’m not Scottish, I don’t really care that much about Mary de Guise, but I don’t want to just count my laps on the empty rooftop. I notice some flowers that look particularly bright in the gray overcast light.

The half of my brain that is not listening to the fascinating details about Scotland’s brand of Protestantism—perhaps it’s close to 3/4—thinks about cooking.

Specifically, I think of my son’s current housemate. She works in a grocery store. I asked her to consider giving up her job last week; I was worried about both the exhaustion of the job and, of course, exposure. But she assured me how careful she personally is, as well as the store. The job helps her maintain sanity, connection, purpose. Like my son and daughter, she’s not in a high risk age group; they keep emphasizing this, though it’s hard to not project direly from afar.

Finally, because she’s German and one of the most conscientious people I’ve ever met in my life, I back off. Also because my son’s ok with it, she’s ok with it, and they’re adults.

But as I walk, and I’m not sure what triggers it, I start thinking about all the grocery clerks and healthcare workers who are too exhausted to cook when they get home. Our German friend loves to cook; for her, as for me and a lot of folks, it’s therapy.

It’s just that, when I get home, I don’t want to just come up with elaborate meals for myself and Steve. I want to feed people, show a little appreciation for their exhausting dedication, share a little. It’s my way to continue the nightly shout-out, which I’m going to miss.

I’ve been looking all day at articles about free delivery services. What if I didn’t just deliver the food, but actually made 10 or 20 meals with a lot of fresh, vitamin-packed ingredients? And could get them somehow to tired workers, or their families, or to food-insecure families who’ve been depending on school lunch, for many children the only meal they can count on during the day? I can’t help a ton of people, but even if I just looked out for a few—well, then I’d know how to do it if someone else says, hey, I’d like to pitch in. If everybody who could do it would for even 2 or 3 people, maybe knowing that we’ll be fed, people won’t be so scared.

Things are going to be so different. How wonderful if, by different, we actually meant a lot better.

I’ll keep thinking. If you have ideas along similar lines, drop me a line or just comment.

Let’s do this village thing.