The Taco Bell mailbox coupons came before I stopped touching the mail.

I realize that’s probably overkill,¬† but I’ve turned this whole thing into a personal challenge. How sterile can one stay? How many tasks can you complete while touching as few things as possible? This is as much out of personal amusement as it is discipline or self preservation. I’m still a tourist in the post Covid-19 world, but the lack of options is threatening to become more of a comfort than an imposition. Is this what they¬†want? When does catastrophe turn into opportunity?

My 6 year old daughter and I pull our masks up over our noses. It’s completely adorable. Look at them, with their cute little bandanas pulled over their faces! I remember some kind of environmental warning commercial showing a scene of dystopian inevitability backgrounding a child shoving a quarter into a machine in order to suck up some clean breathing oxygen. That’s a “not in my lifetime” kinda thing. We’re not there now, right? The air isn’t actually poison yet, right?

My 2004 Subaru roars to life, same as it did before the thing started. River wants me to print out some colouring pages, so I point toward Staples to check out the scene, given it has been deemed an “essential service”. It’s kinda hard to argue at this point that an outlet supplying the lifeblood of our main method of cross-household communication isn’t essential. Maybe in a few months all the gyms will re-open their doors and you’ll be able to sculpt your guns before purchasing a magsafe adapter all under one roof. Surely capitalism will prevail, somehow.

There is a pretty long line up of people waiting to be granted entry. For the most part they seem to be reasonably distanced from each other but there are a lot of them, at least relative to the current social norms. I park in one of the multiple newly improvised “Curbside Pickup” spots and pull up the site. The ink cartridge we need is inside the building, a mere 30 feet away. I order it and select “pick up” on checkout. I’m informed that my order will be ready for pickup in no less than two hours. Colouring pages will wait til tomorrow. Riv is mildly annoyed.

Back home, I park the car and use my gloved hand to pick up the takeout bags. The glove has been on since I used it to retrieve them through the window before using my ungloved hand to hover my credit card over the machine. She has been in the car the whole time, so her clean, bare hand goes into my clean bare hand as we cross the street. The “clean hand, dirty hand” juggling routine gets a bit easier as the days turn into weeks. Inside I will meticulously remove each piece of food, wrapper in gloved hand, food removed with bare hand, to freshly cleaned plates, before using the gloved hand to trash all the refuse. Once the bag is in the garbage I use a lysol brand spray to clean the spot where the bag sat.