…For I have known them all already, known them all,
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons…
—The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot
This morning, M said On Friday, it will have been five weeks.
Yesterday, someone told me that at their kids’ school in the States, the kids receive “detention” if they wear their pajamas to class, and my only thought was If that’s not an example of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, I don’t know what is.
M needs a haircut, so I offered to give him one with fingernail scissors, but he turned me down, I can’t imagine why. During the nightly applause, I noticed that the hair of the older gent across the way is getting a little wild, likewise that of the young guy who lives in the apartment underneath his. My hair is grayer than it was when this started.
Yesterday, also, when it started raining, I was talking on the telephone, staring idly out the window, and 3 neighbors simultaneously opened up their windows and stuck their heads out to peer at the sky, just like toy figures in a cuckoo clock.
Yesterday, I also went to the grocery store, which is a little like saying yesterday, I slogged across Antarctica. Never a barrel of laughs in the best of times, pre-Corona, shopping can be particularly fraught now. The protocol is to don gloves made of Saran Wrap when you walk in, gloves that make it well-nigh impossible to peel open the plastic baggies for your produce. And let’s not even get into the debacle caused when you try to put the price sticker for your weighed produce onto that same plastic baggie when you’re wearing flimsy plastic gloves. M claims to have a system for this, but I don’t: it wasn’t until after checkout that I realized one of my gloves had torn.
Before I went to the store, during our daily Spanish practice, the Tall American and I took an online test that told us that we knew enough to move from B1 to B2. Hahaha, or as the Spanish say, jajaja. That this is untrue was highlighted by the fact that as I was patiently waiting to check-out, a careful meter behind the person in front of me, both clerks called out something to me and I had absolutely no idea what they said.
I told myself I couldn’t understand them because they were wearing masks and using some sort of lockdown vocabulary not even B1 has covered, but ya know, the truth is, we all do what we gotta do, to get ourselves through this.
I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
—T. S. Eliot