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Early in on my self isolation, I was going down the elevator for a quick solitary walk to the pharmacy and a jaunt around the block. When I got on, there was a fellow there who I recognized from other elevator rides. He took to his corner and I took to mine. I asked him, “How are you doing?” He smiled and said, “I’m Alive. And I’m Grateful.” I thought that was the best answer to that question I had gotten since this all began. He told me he was raised by his Grandma and those words were how she started every day. It was a wonderful piece of advice she taught him and he was still living it and giving it away on the elevator for free.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot these days as I’ve been tucked in the house in self isolation with only Rose for company. Cats do not understand what the big deal of self isolation is all about. Rose explained that she is, after all, the most important part of my life and for that I should be extremely grateful to spend so much time with her.  I should even be grateful for the chance to clean up her barfs on the floor because she’s teaching me that she is bored bored bored with that special kidney yuck food that I’ve been giving her. She explained that if I want her to be grateful for being alive, I should slip in some of the good stuff like chicken and tuna fish on a more regular basis. She’s also teaching me how to get through a day without turning

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Rose giving me lesson one on how to tuck in paws and tail for a good sleep

on the TV. Needless to say, the main activities are centred around either (a) sleeping or (b) eating and learning to create a particularly unpleasant whiney meow to get the latter.

I have so much to be grateful for in my life. I have gotten so many calls and texts and emails from friends and neighbours and family offering help with food and litter buying and being good company and sharing funny stuff. I’m also grateful for the little girl across the street who plays in her front yard and sings very badly and very loudly and with so much joy.  And for the people walking down the street who see me hanging out on my balcony and wave and say hey to me and me to them. I’m thankful for that technology that lets me see and talk to Sarah in her great onesie pyjamas with monkeys on them. I’m thankful that my friend, Naoki, across the street has stopped roaming around so he can come over and visit again and we can bake and cook soups and I can find out more about how a 12-year-old-going-on-48 thinks. (He told me is it is less boring to come here than to stay home alone. I’m not quite sure how to take that.)

Sometimes it just makes me cry with happiness that in the middle of all this fear and anxiety and weirdness that I’m so blessed having these folks  — and cats, of course — around my life.

Be well. Stay Home. And Wash Your Hands.