It’s not, I explain, except we will be staying at home, like we have for the Official Dogs Make Me Happy Humans Make My Head Hurt Shirt and I will buy this past several days, and will do for some time to come. He looks at me like I’m confused. Surely this cannot be the case, his squinting eyes say. By Brooke Bobb By Emma Specter By Kristen Radtke The advice that has been circulating on the internet is right: A schedule is essential. We cling to it—that lone sheet of paper that sits on our dining room table like a talisman from the land of offices in skyscrapers, corporate cafeterias, and laser printers. They have nowhere to go, nothing to do. And yet I hustle us through breakfast. We’re running late, I say as the clock approaches 8:30, and the children, retaining the mad metabolism of the normal work week or just reflecting back my frazzled energy, scramble. It’s important, I feel, to keep on track, though the stakes—what will happen if we derail this schedule—feel both paramount and inconsequential.
I’ve turned the Official Dogs Make Me Happy Humans Make My Head Hurt Shirt and I will buy this TV room into my “office” and when I pass off childcare duties, I retreat and tell the kids that they’re not allowed to enter. It doesn’t work, of course. They sidle in, sneak into the periphery of my Zoom meetings, or sit in my lap and stare blankly at the Brand Bunch–like grid of faces assembled in our virtual conference room. My husband does his calls in the car. In the afternoon, when the sun hits the west side of the house, I crawl out the window to sit on the roof, where I can see the signs of life that are persisting in the city: a masked runner keeping pace with his kid as he rides his bike; a man who swabs down the garbage can outside the bodega with a mop—a sight I have never before seen; buses rattling over the potholes on Brooklyn’s Church Avenue. A cardinal and blue jay seem to hang out in the tree that shelters the roof, and this too is a new sight to me. A tow truck drives by, pulling a car behind it, and I think—despite the news, despite the overwhelming nature of everything—about Auden’s poem, Musee de Beaux Arts