Sunday, March 29, 2020

This Supposed End of the World

On Friday night Skylar started having a meltdown.

To give you some perspective, his meltdowns don't look like mine. Mine are like the Chernobyl disaster. His are more of a "I've slightly burned the crust."

But since he has them so infrequently, they are very unsettling when they do happen.

I was recently trying to explain to some coworkers what it's like to live with him. He's unlike anyone I've ever met. Somehow simultaneously productive and accomplished while also blissfully unaware. "He's the only perfectly calm and easygoing person I've ever met who is completely frozen by crisis," I said.

We're lucky that we're different in this way. I'm a constant stress case. Every muscle in my body has been constantly flexed since at least 2008. His daily energy, on the other hand, is very much like those old Mickey Mouse cartoons back when he looked much creepier, but was usually seen briskly walking, his arms swinging in front of him in enthusiastic propulsion, a chipper whistle coming from his puckered lips.

But then on Friday, out of the blue, Skylar told me he was feeling "concerned."

He had been locked in the house for two weeks because hashtag covid19 hashtag apocalypse hashtag rofl. Skylar's major outlet has been scheduling walks in the neighborhood with a medical school classmate of his who lives nearby and has been socially distancing in her house. Every few days they take Duncan out for a stroll around the neighborhood, avoiding getting too close to one another. This has been enough socializing for him to keep himself sane.

But then the classmate canceled on him on Friday for some reason or another.

Normally canceled plans are not too alarming to him. But we aren't living in normal times. And the moment he received the text he shouted (Skylar translation: "stated with slightly more force than a polite flute") "What am I supposed to do now?!"

I've been having problems with my Achilles tendon, to the point that I'm trying to stay off of it before it actually snaps in half and they have to put me down. This is the worst possible timing for a distance runner who releases his obsessive anxiety disorders through cardiovascular activities (I've been going on 15 mile runs lately just to calm myself down).

Because I'm hashtag injured, I told Skylar I probably shouldn't go for a walk with him. But once I saw the mildly soft meltdown, I knew things were serious and I probably ought to try to help. So I volunteered to go with him.

20 minutes later we were wandering some Salt Lake City neighborhood, accidentally finding ourselves in a graveyard. I still don't know how it happened. It seemed so poetic considering the time we're in.

There we were, Skylar beaming in the evening sun, having overcome what I guess counts as a panic attack for him, Duncan bouncing with oblivious joy that his dads are spending all of their days with him, and I, limping from an overuse injury, slightly smiling and barking at my still-new husband for walking a little too fast so close to this supposed end the world.

Please enjoy some lovely Strangerville Live.

This time in Strangerville, knitting, dentists, and more earthquakes. Also, a man takes the Strangerville Live stage to tell the story of hiding from a kidnapper.
Kidnapped, by Stacey Harkey
Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I’ve had Achilles’ tendon surgery...good luck with that!
    We aren’t quite at two weeks of our quarantine from our arrival from Belarus...first panic attack from 16 year old today. Made it longer than expected. She needs Duncan for snuggles having left her puppy in Belarus.
    One day at a feeling like a really long time.
    Health to you, Skyler and Duncan!

  2. I was handling all of this really well, kind of smug: “everyone thinks I’m an extrovert but look how fine I am. Take that! I must just be a socially able introvert.” But then my very close friend (who is a professional baker) texted me that she had an extra cake and wanted to give it to me. So I drove over there. Driving for the first time in a week and a half, I was almost in a major accident about three seconds after leaving my house. (I live by a curve and some idiot was using my traffic lane to pass someone because he couldn’t see that I existed because of the curve. Gosh. Respect curves, people!) So I was shaken from that near collision, and then I made it to my friend’s house. And it was just so weird: to not go inside, to not hug her, to not do anything but stand far apart in front of her door wondering what germs she might have in her house since her husband runs our airport, and every single confirmed case of covid-19 has been in the airport.

    And then I cried when I got home. It also didn’t help that it was the day that any American who wanted to leave was able to get on a chartered miracle flight, but we chose to stay. (Our airport is now closed to passenger traffic.)

    Anyway, now I’ve rambled, and I don’t remember where I began or what point I was trying to make or what day it is anymore, but I can relate to Skylar being set off by a friend canceling their walk together.

    1. Ok, I relate to this. I was doing just fine until yesterday. I'm about to have my first baby, so I already knew I'd be staying home a lot in the coming months, and I want my baby to be healthy, so I was totally fine with staying away from everyone. And then on Friday I saw a cute, stupid video of people visiting twins in a hospital, and then on my due date on Saturday, nobody in my family even texted me. So then yesterday I felt very alone and sad. I am definitely feeling better today, and I'm hoping that baby will come soon, but I now have an induction date if she doesn't!

    2. Happy almost baby day! ❤️

    3. Advice on the induction - if they induce and have you pitocin (sp?) for 8 hours and nothing happens - don't let them send you home to come back in a week. Tell them to break your water. Get it over with!

      #truestory #ithappenedtome

  3. I noticed a few grammatical errors in your usually perfect posts. ‘20 minutes later’ should be twenty minutes. Never begin a sentence with a number that is not written out. ‘And I, limping. This should be me. I is the subject of a sentence, me is the object. Also, shouldn’t this be one one hand not on the hand? Entering my fourth week of isolation so I am seriously running out of things to do. I am now correcting grammar. Skylar, I feel your pain.

  4. Hi-- try voodoo floss and Kelly Starrett videos for your Achilles. Good stuff.
    I've used the voodoo floss for my Achilles, hamstring, groin-- whish I could use voodoo floss my neck, but that won't work. You will understand once you read about how to use it. Signed an old, creaky distance runner.

    1. Just ordered some voodoo floss on your recommendation. Any particular video you would suggest?

    2. Hi-- just looking back at this-- any Kelly Starrett video will do--

      Basically the trick is to wrap up the affected area really tight and then do mobility-- like for the Achilles just flex, foot circles, and such-- the idea is it promotes blood flow into the area and helps with healing.
      It has been magic!

  5. Don't kill your Achilles! Mine is shot. Not ruptured, not snapped, not dissolved...just of no use. I worse a brace for about six months a few years ago, to let it rest and heal and it was okay for a while. Now it's back to hurting all the time and I limp and stagger around like a drunk. I don't drink. I want to try the brace again, except I can't get an appt. right now. They told me last time the next step was a hideous surgery that I wanted no part of then, and even less now, so I'm going to beg to try the brace again. All this from a totally inactive person who says rest your Achilles while you can!

    Give Casper a ghost hug (ha!) from his internet auntie kjax.

  6. So...what is that black stuff behind Mickey in the first picture? Looks suspiciously like mouse poo.