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I wake up about 8AM. Open one eye to check the time and go back to sleep for at least one half hour, preferably one whole hour. After a few minutes of stern self-speak, I arise, trying to remember what day it is. Then it hits me, It doesn’t matter, because I’m omo (on my own), each day possessing a numbing sameness to the day before, extending uninterrupted into the foreseeable future.
How odd.

We are in Week Two of Sheltering in Place. Morning. Not too early! After a quick swallow,I can conclude, no my throat doesn’t hurt, I give myself a little encouragement to carry on and get the hell out of bed.

No one I’ve spoken with is happy with the current state of affairs, but I must admit, many of my friends sounds absolutely buoyant when announcing to me that they’ve cleaned out several drawers as well as organized their shoes. Good for you, I respond lamely. Others have dug into their kitchen drawers with equal satisfaction and success. “mm, nice,”I murmur unimpressed..
Inevitably the conversation turns to me. What am I doing to make good use of my time? “I’m not sure you know, I say with feigned confidentiality, but I’m writing a book.” (Did I just say that?) There’s usually dead silence after this announcement, so I allow a few minutes for the impact of that statement to sink in for the listener. Then I spend a few minutes saying it’s just a guidebook to Kyoto, so I don’t sound like a show-off. If they have had any doubts about my competence to carry on in a national disaster, I hope this will dispel them! After that conversation, I pass by my bed and easily decide it might be nice to lay down awhile. In no time at all, I’m curled up and napping.
Wake up # 2: It’s approaching noon! Quick swallow, Still no soreness in the throat area. Relief. I might make it through the day unharmed. Time to eat a fine salad my husband has just put together. Regarding my husband, he’s been the model of togetherness. He awake before I’m finished my dream cycle, and gathering ingredients for his next healthy, farmer’s market-based meal.I easily express my gratitude.
My husband astonished me a few days ago when he walked into our bedroom holding the vacuum cleaner. Gosh, I thought this place must be filthy to drive him to do this! He looked as if it’s something he did regularly, so I decided he must not be too upset about it.
After lunch. I have an entire afternoon to deal with. Maybe if I actually DID something I too could have the telephone glow my friends seem to possess now or i imagine them to possess.
Back to the book. I can’t figure out exactly where I left off writing. I think it was in the Kyoto Temple section, but I have much less down on paper than I thought I had. It’s weirdly interrupted by a strange tangent I went off on, talking about the importance of indulging in snacks in the middle of the day. I decide to check out kitchen. nothing going on of interest. Returning from the kitchen, I have a hard time figuring out which temples to add to my list. I easily decided that the Snack Intro really belongs in another section! It seems like a good place to stop for the day. That’s about it for my day’s work as a writer.

By now it’s approaching mid afternoon. Many days I manage a half hour walk. Nothing at all to brag about, but better than nothing. That easily sets the stage for another short nap until it’s time for Anderson Cooper to bring me up to date. Since the bulk of the working day has passed, I can easily convince myself that I have all day tomorrow to work as well, so what’s the rush?

In just a few short hours it will be time for bed.


Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Judi Miller Wallner says:

    Thanks for a lovely laugh as I identified with all that you said. All is lazy and fine here as well. We’ll probably look back on this time with gratitude from the rigors of daily life….or this is so pleasant maybe we’ll continue our new patterns. Virtual hug to you and Danny

    • devapnek says:

      I hope we’re lucky enough to look back fondly! It’s grimmer every day. Virtual hug returned!

  • Laura Wilson says:

    I’m weeding like a mad fiend!

  • Jill Deming says:

    I love this!! It reflects so much of my experience!

  • Ann Starck says:


  • Penelope says:

    We started early, now its week 3 for us! Looking forward to seeing you on the otherside of this nightmare.
    XX Penelope

  • Susan Alexander says:

    This was great, Dianne! Perfect for what we’re all living through. Thank you!

  • stacyjdylan says:

    I totally relate! Some days are more productive than others. One day at a time.

  • ada ciniglio says:

    This one is a riot! Just keep writing–you’ll make it through.