Our Routines Have Vanished & You Can’t Hug On Zoom

Today, we recap last week’s posts, including a critical one describing the campaign to unseat Sen. John Arthur Smith and another focused on Senator Mary Kay Papen. And we ponder what we are missing.

We’re testing a different format that we hope is more readable. This change won’t be visible on your mobile device. But on laptops, on the left is our commentary for the day, and on the right we cover events and recap last week’s posts. We hope this makes for easier reading. Let us know.

Sadly, Spring Routines Are Absent

For many people, Covid is jeopardizing their financial security OR they are working in high risk “essential” roles. For those people, the stakes are much higher, the consequences much more dire. Exponentially, so.

For those who live alone, the sense of isolation is far more profound. But even for those more fortunate — the retired or those who can work from home with little or no loss of income — this extended isolation and quarantine is having a profound impact. Given the relative privilege of these fortunate souls, it feels wrong to complain or to acknowledge that we miss our routines, our friends, our group gatherings.

I’m sharing these sentiments not because I am feeling sorry for us….we have too good a life for that. But many of our readers may be in similar boats. And I thought it might be worth sharing our reaction to isolation, to help others be okay with their reactions instead of bottling them up.

Saturday, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Roxanne and I went to Farmer’s Market for the first time in over two months, and we realized how much we missed this part of our weekly routine. Farmer’s Market had been a Saturday morning ritual ever since we moved here in 2012. It was part of the rhythm of our lives.

We looked forward to political and sports banter with the family at Mr. G’s, always starting our shopping with them as their produce is the best and runs out quickly. We’d get our eggs from Bodhi Farms and then head over for a pie from Krumpacker’s (best pie on earth). Then we’d visit Matt Romero at Romero Farms to get produce, or starts for our veggie beds in spring, and later in the summer for fresh roasted green chile.

I actually got choked up as I approached Gary and Natasya at Mr. G’s. It hit me how much I had been missing our banter and their spicy spring mix. As we stood in line we talked about the other routines we were missing: the Plaza bandstand series that should be around the corner but has been cancelled, concerts at the Lensic, margaritas at Marias, Journey Santa Fe at Collected Works on Sunday mornings and the many familiar faces.

We miss dinners on the patio at Mariel and Jeff’s with local and sometimes nationally known politicos sharing food, wine, and conversation. We’ve done Zoom happy hours with friends and family and they’ve been curiously fun, but also sadly lacking. You can’t hug on Zoom.

We don’t typically eat out much, as we really like to cook, but suddenly the deprivation causes us to long for dinner at La Boca or a salad at Vinaigrette or a Green Chile Cheeseburger (Paul, not Roxanne, on the burger).

More poignantly, there are our adult kids, all of whom live one or two thousand miles from here. Jesse has asked to drive from California to visit for Father’s Day and stay for two weeks. Our daughter Joanna will be finishing her medical school board exams the end of the month and she would like to drive here to visit, too.

In a Covid-free world this would happen and it would be wonderful. Those two really love each other and we have so much fun with the four of us together. But I recently read a heartbreaking article about an adult son who, before he knew Covid existed, had inadvertently passed his cough to his dad. The article described the sorrow the son carried for his father’s death, how he felt responsible, how he would never forgive himself.

Then there is our other son Josh, our daughter-in-law Holly, and their infant son Torrey, our first grandson, who Roxanne has never held. I visited in November, pre-Covid, thinking we’d all be together again soon. But now, what does “soon” even mean in this Covid world?

These thoughts made me realize how much I miss my routines, the people I barely know but who are familiar faces, the weekly errands, the spontaneous splurges, the coincidental meeting of friends, the hugs, the music in the plaza, the smell of green chile roasting, even canvassing and talking to strangers about how they should vote and asking what issues they care most about. Cumulatively, they are for Roxanne and I what living in New Mexico is supposed to be about, and sadly it has disappeared.

No doubt, those in NYC have experienced much worse, those in McKinley and San Juan counties are being devastated. We have running hot water, electricity, cable, internet. We can Zoom. Most in Diné Nation do not have these essentials and comforts.

And the healthcare workers, delivery truck drivers, warehouse workers, store clerks all of whom continue to work so that the sick can be treated and the healthy can get food and supplies, they have it ever so much worse. But with Covid we are redefining things. What is “essential?” For that matter, what is “soon.”

When will a cough be just an annoying allergy or a cold instead of something that sends terror through an entire household? When will we be able to hug our friends when we meet? When can we enjoy much of what we came to think of as “normal life” without risking our lives?

Perhaps most importantly, what will we take from this experience? Will we remember those who were heroic? Those who were idiotic? Those who were selfless? Those who were selfish? Will this forced isolation cause us to value more “connection,” and will the answers to all those questions help us re-envision a new normal?

A simple trip to Farmer’s Market led to so many realizations and so many questions. What are you mulling just now? What is next for all of us?

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

10am, Monday (Today), Zoominar with Carrie Hamblen, Democrat challenging NM State Sen. Mary Kay Papen. Join Hamblen to find out more about her and learn how you can support her campaign. This is not a Retake Zoominar.

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 626 042 0939
Password: 373239

Zoominar Tues., May 19 with Common Cause, Ethics Watch & Dede Feldman: How Gas & Oil Dominates Our Legislature. Click here for more info and to register.

Retake Conversation with Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez. A conversation that covered produced water, the NM State Senate, fracking moratorium, and more. Click here to watch the video.

Last Week’s Posts

Total as of Sunday: 53,764

Tuesday, May 11. Trump Death Clock Tallies Death Totals Resulting from Trump Inaction. We examined how a one-week delay in Trump Administration action cost tens of thousands of lives and how reopening is precisely what we should not be doing now. There is also a piece about just how easily the virus can spread in a restaurant, office, or other closed environment. Scary. Click here to read this post.

Friday, May 15. Senator John Arthur Smith: “Dr. No” of the NM State Senate. This is a critical post — five or six NM State Senate Democrats In Name Only (DINOs) are the single greatest impediment to advancing progressive legislation in NM. No DINO has more influence than Sen. Smith, as Senate Finance Chair. We share info on Smith’s voting record, donors, and more, plus information on his challenger Neomi Martinez Parra and how you can support her campaign. Click here to read the post.

Carrie Hamblen, Challenging Senator Mary Kay Papen

Sunday, May 17. Let’s Defeat Sen. Mary Kay Papen. We cover Sen. Papen’s voting record, campaign donors, and most importantly her critical role as Senate Pro-Tem. We provide info on her challenger, Carrie Hamblen and how you can support her campaign. We also offer commentary on Betsy DeVos’ regulations directing states to funnel hundreds of millions in funds from under-resourced schools to wealthy private schools and tuition refunds to their wealthy parents.

Click here to read the post.

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5 replies

  1. Thanks for the reminder of what we are missing. I just celebrated my 80th birthday yesterday with my daughter and her family who drove up for the day from ABQ. We kept reasonably appropriate distancing and had a wonderful time.Now it is back to FaceTime with family.

  2. The NY Times on Sunday had a good piece about a bad situation: Covid-19 and the Dine. Also over the weekend, the WaPo had an article discussing the lack of public mourning during these times. Where are the flags at half-staff for all those we’ve lost? Both are worth tracking down and digesting.

  3. This is the time to plant a veggie garden. It will do you good!

    • You should see our backyard. four large beds and a slew of barrels, smaller beds and other plantings. Can’t wait til August. Kudos to Roxanne for doing 90% of the work.

  4. Thanks, Paul. I count my considerable blessings every day – great husband, nice house in a safe district, enough $$, plenty of food, wi-fi. And I equally mourn for people whose lives are so much harder than mine.

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