Out of Focus

Mar 28, 2020by tracey Comments

So, today I am at the end of two weeks of quarantine.  It’s rainy. It’s bleak. The news just gets worse.

How’s that for a cheery opening?

Look, this is hard – beyond hard and it’s only going downhill for a while.

The thing I hear again and again from people is “I can’t seem to focus.”    No shit.

Focus, what’s that?   In the last hour, I have gone on fifteen different delivery food sites to order ramen noodles as I decided  I wanted to make Ina Garten’s ramen recipe from her Instagram today.

Hey, let’s take a minute for a round of applause for two awesome women on Instagram who are keeping us going, @InaGarten who does this what’s in your pantry thing. She lets people tell them what they have in their house and then she tells them what to make. And she answers everyone herself. Go, Ina!

And @kateicouric who is beyond awesome with a combo of updates on the virus, uplifting videos and good information.

Focus, as I was saying — so I did the ramen search and everyone says the earliest they can deliver is April 7th.    I’m sure we will still be inside still on April 7th, but who is to say I will still be in the mood to make ramen.

I took a Pilates class at noon.  I do that four times a week. It keeps me sane. Or a version of sane. Is this sane?  Because it doesn’t feel like sane. It feels like I came down with ADD overnight.


But – this is bad, talk about not focusing; I’m paying for private classes online and today, I turned my computer so Amelia, (my teacher) could not see I was watching Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefing all through my class.

I even turned the sound down on the computer for part of the class so I could hear him more Andrew than Amelia.

Like the rest of the female New Yorkers over a certain age, I find him a one-man boy band at the moment.

I then sat down and answered a few emails. One to my friend Nancy who had posted an interesting recipe for tofu curry on Instagram and since tofu can get to me sooner than ramen noodles, I thought that was a sound move.

But in the middle of all of the emails, I stopped to call all three of my parents. My father broke his hip this week. I am very worried about him. He does not know how to FaceTime.  But I refuse to accept this, and I keep trying. I called my mother twice. I woke her up once.  And I tried to call my stepmother two times as well.

Then in between all that tried to find The Great sweatshirt that is sold out on all sites.  But I refuse to accept this either.

I had a message chat with my friend Barbara about her trip to the Maldives and PPE. During this chat, I tried to see if I could find the sweatpants that were also sold out two hours ago.

Since I wrote that last paragraph – I tried to call my father again.  I put a load of clothes in the drier, another in the wash. I answered two more emails. I went in and said hi to Glenn who is reading a book. He can focus.  I checked my Instagram and had two message chat with part of my squad I check in with daily. I talked some more to Barbara about PPE and how we can get it to the people who need it.    I emptied the bathroom wastebasket and sang a song to Wally until Lucy told me to shut up. I was then going to fold Lucy’s clothes but remembered I was in the middle of writing a blog. 


There is a point to all this my friends. It is very hard to focus right now. Very hard. I have not talked to one person who said they can, in fact, focus for more than a few minutes on anything.

One is prone to make all sorts of plans when one is locked inside. This is a long time. And it’s going to be longer.  I have been inside before for two weeks at a time on several occasions.  But it all had to do with facial work, and I knew I was coming out with a new look and to an open world

So, I know that we all make elaborate plans with all this free time. Hey, we have nothing to do. Nowhere to go even if we want to.  Aside from foraging for food and sweatpants online, we can read books. Home edit our kitchens.  Start that nine – hundred -page novel we always swore we would read.  Learn a new language online.   Maybe re-watch every episode of Downton Abbey -which Glenn is lobbying for.  I’m pushing for Mad Men. But that would require me to turn off CNN, something I seem unable to do. And I would rather watch the Cuomo bothers than Jon Hamm at the moment.

Hold that thought –

I need to go feed the dogs. If I’m gone more than five minutes, I will likely be folding Lucy’s clothes. Taylor just called I need to call her back, make sure she wore gloves at the market. I worry a lot about her. She is 3000 miles away and LA is the next big epicenter.

I didn’t fold the clothes.  I emptied the main trash can instead.  Not sure why Glenn couldn’t put down Hilary Mantel long enough to do that, But I guess that’s what happens when you are focused. You just keep doing something for an extended period of time. I used to be able to do that too;  Before Trump destroyed the Western World.

I am Face Timing with Taylor while I type this.  She said she just had the peak experience of her life shopping at Eataly, which really shows us how little we are settling for. However, she did say they handed out gloves at the front door and she scored a big thing of Charmin. Go, Taylor!


Spare time – something we all complain we don’t have enough of and then we have it handed to us, on – well – a pandemic I would not call a silver platter. Let’s call it a tarnished platter.  A very tarnished platter.

Look at that it’s six minutes after five. Tequila time! I have to go tell Glenn to make me a drink. Be right back.

So, where was I?  Spare time. Right. The things we are going to do when we finally have it.   I know I had a list when we started this.   Wanna hear it?

Tough, I can focus long enough to type it you can focus long enough to read it.

I was going to go through the entire Mark Bittman Vegetarian cookbook and master the art of vegetarian cooking. I have not opened it.

Damn.  Lucy wanted to make banana bread and the bananas got so bad they were too rotten for baking.  That was going to be our project.


I actually just asked Lucy if she was having a hard time focusing as she is the most focused person I know. She takes after her father. She said she could not even focus on a show she had watched 80 times.   I said, “you mean you can’t watch Buffy.”  She nodded and headed back to her room.


What else I was going to do?  I was going to clean all the closets. I did most of them.  I was going to read a book every three days. None. I have read none. I was going to meditate for twenty – two minutes a day. I have not. I meditate before bed with my headphones to drown out the sound of the ambulances. If I’m lucky I fall asleep five minutes in. If I’m not I sometimes end up pacing the halls at three.

I was also going to really crack the book I started writing but I kind of abandoned that.

The only thing I have been good about is my Pilates as it keeps me a version of sane. I do speak to my shrink on Tuesdays.  That helps a lot.  And I have been good about this blog. Most days.

But otherwise, I don’t. know where the days are going. One second I’m drinking iced coffee the next second it’s time for tequila.

I wake up and stare at the ceiling and think OK another day in quarantine.  The immediate emotion is a form of depression. Not like oh, I’m sad. It’s more like the first moment you forget the entire world has changed. It’s like when you broke up with someone and you woke up and for the first minute, you forgot then you remembered, shit I’m single again.

It’s like that.  I wake up like it might be a normal day then within a second it’s oh fuck, that’s right, Trump forgot to get a handle on the pandemic and now we are all living in hell. Then I check my phone to see how bad the day is getting off to.  How many died since I went to sleep? How bad are the markets?

Then I look over and Wally is sitting by the bed smiling at me and that makes me feel better. So Wally and I trot to the kitchen for coffee and cookies.

Ok. He trots, I stumble. He eats cookies after he pees. I make coffee and so the day begins.  I return to bed and look out the window and see the empty streets and just like the day before everything is out of focus, including me.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is if you relate to this, you are not alone.  If you need a friend, write to me. Any of you who have, know I write back. And quite frankly, I have plenty of time. And even if I don’t I find it.

Funny thing is when I talk to all of you, I can focus.