The New Normal, Fiction Fragment


Anxiety warning. This takes place in a world where closing down for two months each year has become standard practice. If you are healthy, safe, and bored, you may be amused. If you are being more directly impacted by C19, this may be too soon.
Stay safe. Stay sane.
Katherine Walcott

Dear Teresa:
Can’t meet you for dinner. Work is crazy busy. The usual pre-shutdown rush. People have 10 months to prepare and they try to get everything they need in the last two weeks.

Sometimes I have to upsell. Oh, you want to start kumihomo. Great, it’s a lot of fun. If the customer is experienced in fiber arts, I try to sell them the stand-up wooden marudai instead of the foam disk. I know how makers get when they discover a new skill. That foam disk would never hold up. And please buy extra bobbins, yes, the expensive, nicely weighted ones. You will thank me a month from now.

Mostly, I swear, I spend more of my time talking people out of things than I do selling them things.

No, Ma’am, I really dont think you need a $200 Mirrix loom if you have never tried tapestry weaving. Here please take this frame loom. I’ll throw in yarn for your first project as a bonus. Yes, the Mirrix is an outstanding loom. You may find it fiddly if you aren’t familiar with setts and heddles and adjusting tension correctly. I want you to be happy with your purchase.

Of course I want them to be happy with their purchases and want them back as repeat customers. That is true all year long. Right now, there is an element of self-preservation involved. If they take home some complicated bear of a project and get in the weeds, guess who gets to sort them out remotely. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to spend 45 minutes unsnarling a loom virtually when I know it would take me 5 minutes if I could get my hands on it?

But I’m rambling. Back to the salt mine. If I don’t see you before shutdown, we’ll Skype.

Dear Teresa:
Harvey has asked me to spend shutdown with him!

I know right?!?

I haven’t decided what to do. I mean, he’s a great guy, but two months? In that little apartment? I’m not sure how much of our relationship would be left.

Yeah, I COULD move out if I had to. But you know how hard it is to get “non-essential” services during shut-down. Of course, someone is always willing to do whatever you need – for a price. Plus, trying to be socially responsible for a moment, do I really need to use up the masks and wipes and disinfectant to clean all my stuff before and after a move?

But that’s worst case. We’d probably muddle thru, snipping at each other, sitting in opposite corners of the living room by the end, and then run screaming in opposite directions once release is broadcast.

Sounds like I have decided doesn’t it? I really haven’t. Just looking at the worst case scenario. Getting ready for shutdown does that to a person. What do I need to get through this? What is essential? What is a want versus a need? How to prepare for the worst case?

Speaking of worst cases, one of us could get sick. Does he really need to see me in all my whiny, princess glory? I am NOT a good patient. Even my mother rolls her eyes at me.

Or both of us could get sick. Or worse.

This keeps getting gloomy.


Not being alone. My parents are still alive. Both of them are in the older-danger range and my Dad has health issues. We have a big pre-shutdown meal and then adios for two months.

Harvey is fun. Skype chats with him were a blast last year. He’s pretty creative, even in those areas where F2F is definitely better.

Speaking of sex, do I really want to be a part of the November mama brigade? Do I want to play the birth control versus boredom roulette?

I remember before this was a problem. You could stay with your guy for a night or two each week, and gradually ease into it. Do I want to stay with him? Do I want to invite him to stay with me? Should you give him a drawer? Part of your closet? A shelf in the fridge?

Now, you can do that part of the time, but everything has a deadline on it. Where will we be come March? Is this going working, or will I have to move all of my crap out again in 6 months?

Do you watch Shutdown Marriage? Take about guilty pleasure. Two strangers get married right before shutdown and then we all watch them come apart at the seams. Yeah, I know it’s faux reality but it’s fun. I’d even venture to say it’s cathartic, watching other folks doing all the screaming and toast flinging that you want to do. Gets it out of your system. Or you realize how stupid it is and get over yourself.

Dear Teresa:
I told Harvey no.

It struck me as a panic move. You know, I’m off to war, lets get married. Only with less violence and more ennui. OTOH, I’m not sure I could guarantee no violence if I had to spend two months in that tiny apartment with him.

The location is nice enough. There’s a park nearby to walk Igor, although I think he forgot I come with dog. When I mentioned Igor, he got real quiet. I think he was worried about his leather couch. I didn’t mention that time they forbade going outside for anything. That was fun. Even for a dog lover.

You know, that could be a deal-breaker for the relationship in general. Do I really see myself with a non-pet person? A cat dude, maybe. But no animals at all? I guess I’ve answered my own question.

Dear Teresa:
Have you ever looked into one of those quarantine resort hotels? You know, come stay with us. We have everything from four-star meals to in-house medical staff. I could never afford one, but I do wonder what it would be like.

Have a safe shutdown. Catch you on the flip side.

7 thoughts on “The New Normal, Fiction Fragment

  1. Also LOVE THIS! It sounds so possible and so normal. You really thought this out.

    I haven’t been single in a long time (decades) but I can see how different relationships would be with your scenario, OTHH, it’s the usual decisions kicked up a notch. So believable.

    You are a very clever writer.. Please write more. Great writing is so wonderful to read, especially now.

    Thank you so much.

  2. Despite my being extra high-risk, I did enjoy this. Sounds like you’ve been listening to the news, LOL..Which days does the pharmacy open at 6? Will they have bread this time?
    CDC is now recommending everyone wear a mask over nose and mouth. Not medical grade, just the ones that are held in place over the ears, or even a scarf or bandana. I’m gonna be an old west bad guy!
    someone is singing scales. At least that sounds like what they’re trying to do. Someone should telll her she can’t sing…

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