Performers from the Habana Compás Dance Company

We have been “Sheltering in Place” like most Californians since we returned from Cuba earlier this week.  The word “shelter” has a very comforting sound, and we all need as much comfort as we can get in this very weird time.  

I keep reminding myself that if we stay inside, wash our hands frequently, don’t touch our faces and sometimes wear gloves, we most likely will be fine.  Usually that is calming.  But then there are the worries:  since we are oldies, in a higher risk group, what if we need to be hospitalized and on ventilators?  And there aren’t enough ventilators?  If you had to make the choice, whose life would you save—a 70+ person who has had a long, good life or a 40-year-old with a young family and a whole life ahead?  I know what I’d do—so I keep washing my hands.

I have other concerns about the Worst Case Scenario.  How to prepare? I guess it might be a good time to read The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning  (now there’s a title for you!) but my heart’s not in it.  What about all that stuff in my home office I haven’t yet sorted?  I mentioned to one of my sons that if COVID 19 bumped me off, I didn’t like to think about what my three kids might come across, cleaning up my stuff.  He offered what solace he could by reminding me of things we found when clearing out his grandfather’s drawers. All that aside, who wants to spend what might be their last days cleaning? 

There are some pluses to Sheltering in Place.  Friends and neighbors have been calling to check on each other.  My brother has been keeping us all laughing online with funny cartoons and goofy videos.  I am in contact with my “kids” every day.  And inevitably when I call to cancel an appointment or engagement, the stranger on the phone and I remind each other to “be safe.”   So we all soldier on, our country more together while apart than it has been in the past three years. 

And just for fun, I’m including a photo I took last week of wonderful Cuban singers and dancers. 




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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