Iris at letterpress class March 13, 2020 Belle and Union

Stay At Home, it’s a Pandemic

In January, I started following the Coronavirus outbreak in China.

By February I was talking to my former colleagues who still work in public health and pandemic response. We agreed we needed to do something.

Yet, as we teamed up to offer pandemic response planning for large organizations and companies in mid-February, we had no takers. No one thought it would impact our lives in the U.S.

By late February I was stocking up on supplies. I made my last Costco run February 29.

At my last public event March 11 (I write about startups here), I refused to hug, shake hands, or otherwise touch anyone.

My son went on Spring Break and we stayed in town wondering what would happen next. At the end of that week, I enjoyed my last fun outing in public on March 13 for a private letterpress class. The very few of us stood awkwardly as we kept our distance.

Instead of returning to school the following Monday, we received the news of an extra week of Spring Break.

Mid-week San Antonio issued a Stay at Home order on March 18. All businesses closed and only essential workers were allowed to keep grocery stores and other needed services open.

As I publish this, we’re ending the week with realizations that students may not be going back to their schools until later this year, if at all.

Panic has wiped clean grocery store shelves. Retirement accounts have dropped at least 30%.

And just like that, we are living life in the time of a pandemic.

I spent this weekend sleeping, stress baking, and watching mindless TV to block out the echoes of life immediately after 9/11.

That was an American experience, one that is fading for people. I realized this pandemic is a shared experience across the globe, one that will define this generation.

And I knew what I needed to do, what I always do when nothing else seems clear. Write.

I plan on writing my observations about life in a pandemic. I hope you will start keeping a journal for yourself as well.

Because years from now you won’t remember all the small things.

Like how my 15-year-old son is thrilled to be doing his schoolwork online from home.

“I don’t have to shave anymore, so I’m going to grow my facial hair, mom,” he told me.

“With all your scraggly growth and bushy hair, you’re going to look like Abraham Lincoln by the time this is over, son,” I joked with him.


Featured image is the author at a letterpress class on March 13, 2020. Photo credit: Iris Gonzalez.

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