Mexican Food and D&D In the Time of Quarantine

I am sitting in the living room, eating half a take-out breakfast burrito from our favorite Mexican restaurant. My son is at the dining room table playing D&D on a Zoom call. The other two kids are sleeping in one last time before they “go back to school” tomorrow after Spring Break. In a way it would seem like a fairly normal weekend morning. Except it isn’t.

We are currently living through a pandemic.

The kids are going back to school digitally from home, half way through the week and we have no idea if the systems the school is setting up will actually work.

My son just accidentally dropped off his ZOOM call, messing up the D&D game, because his iPad died. A new issue with game play that never used to happen. His friends are each in their own family of origin houses, currently waiting for him to recharge. The entire game will probably be a stagger and start. Which is OK. This is an experimental game to practice for the real thing on Saturday. An online, ZOOM, D&D game my 14 year old is setting up for his older brother, as a birthday gift. My oldest just turned 17 and this will be the closest thing to a party we can give him.

The Mexican restaurant is only providing take-out, because no restaurants are allowed to be open anymore, during this quarantine time. We got take out to support them, because they are a locally owned business we are hoping will survive long enough for us to be able to eat there again when this is all over. The whole town is scrambling to provide support, and business to any and all local stores, restaurants, and farmers that we know and care about. All purchase choices now include the question, will it support and keep alive someone I care about? If I buy this national brand am I taking money away from a neighbor? What can I buy that will allow this bakery, this cookie maker, this burrito place, this organic farmer to continue for another week?

Spring Break has lasted a week and a half longer than anyone expected. All of our original plans had to be modified. The road trip to southern Oregon, to see Shakespeare plays, was cancelled. We spent most of the break just vaguely trying to get our head around what it means to be in the midst of a global pandemic, and what is required of us during a quarantine.

As the morning progresses I go through discussion posts from my online students. I sip my coffee as the dwarfs and elves wander through a landscape of magic and corpses at the dining room table, and my daughter takes her morning constitutional, walking in circles around the pool in the back yard. For the first time ever I have a deeply clear understanding of why old estates had small walking gardens for the women of the family to circle in each day. In societies without vaccines and antibiotics a sign of wealth would have been to be able to socially isolate with as many functional amenities as possible. Libraries, walking trails, small parks, and indoor conservatories that replicate jungle wetlands, would have been life saving devices for a young aristocracy craving function, physical and mental stimulation. I feel lucky to have a suburban back yard and an internet connection. Will this be enough to sustain a global generation of low to middle class families?