And Next Rats? My Diary

Being a housebound 80-year-old, I read absolutely everything I can find on my very smart phone or computer, not to mention laptop. Along with the old man I am married to, I am isolated, meod!, and the thirst for some news that will revive my sunken spirits and get me out of this funk is massive. I’m on a desert with not an oasis in sight. And so, in my reading frenzy I learned the other day that the rats of the world will soon face starvation. Unless, that is, they relocate. That’s not good news despite your original notion that it is. No more rats. Great. Do not believe that for one of your very long and boring moments! What it means, according to the article, is that rats and all sorts of other vermin like pigeons, will have to locate new feeding spots since so many of the world’s restaurants have closed and no longer provide their delectable leftovers for whichever creature arrives in their garbage cans.

We think things are bad and couldn’t possibly get worse. How naive can we be! When we find hungry rats meandering around our neighborhoods, or our own homes, we’ll see that, indeed things could get worse. And those unlovable creatures, who are guaranteed to survive corona, while we may not, won’t have benefit of gloves or masks or alcohol.

So, these days are really surreal. You knew at your seder that things were truly not be-seder. Zoom was cute but it’ll never replace the smells and tastes and contact, real contact, of being with close family and friends. Why was that night different from all others? You know!

My husband and I are very diligent in our internment. We’re taking it seriously. But the days blend into one another endlessly. And I don’t see where the escape hatch is hiding. And what do we do if we need to see a doctor or hospital for our “underlying” conditions. We get constant emails from the medical folks about keeping away. What if we can’t? And what if one of us needs hospitalization and the other not?

The days fade into each other. Yesterday was Sunday and I thought it was already Monday as I awaited the 7 pm airing of Jeopardy on TV. In Israel this happens to me all the time. The transition from Shabbat to Sunday, yom rishon, always leaves me a bit disoriented. Sunday doesn’t have the same feel as Monday. Not in America anyway. But in Israel Sunday is not a day of sleeping in and seeing family. It’s a regular workday. And yesterday, here in New Jersey, was more or less like that. We didn’t dare go out. So don’t blame me for the confusion.

Confession: one nice surprise happened yesterday to break the monotony. We had visitors. Actual real people, not Zoom people or Facetime people. Real ones. Our son-in-law Matt and grandson Sefi rode their bikes over to our curb, which is way more than the requisite six feet of separation from our front door. They are both ex-corona-ites and they went out for a long bike ride and stopped off here for an unplanned, unexpected visit. It was a giant treat! We spoke without the assistance of anything electronic. Can you just imagine? Today Sefi will do our grocery shopping which means we will avoid the crisis of entering the kosher market or Shop-Rite. And avoid starvation as well.

But when can we safely resume normal living? Maybe never. It looks that way. It often feels like no way out. If we get sick maybe we can be relieved of all the restrictions, but no one is even positive about that. And that’s predicated on surviving the illness which, at our ages, is far from a guaranteed outcome. So what do we do?

Reading about the turmoil in our governments, both in America and in Israel, is far from reassuring. I fear for Tony Fauci, the one guy in the US government that I trust. He reminds me of our days in Jerusalem during the Yom Kippur War, in 1973, when Chaim Herzog gave a daily English update on the war. Herzog was a voice of calm intelligence who made survival seem possible, even likely. Just like Fauci. If he’s fired, as Trump has been threatening, there goes the only piece of sanity in our lives. So let’s end this rambling with a fervent prayer for the health and employment of Dr. Fauci.

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of two. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.
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