Tales from the End of the Road; Living through COVID19 in Key West Part 4

April 22, 2020:

Quarantine Day 36:

Happy Earth Day! Hopefully, our lovely marbled planet is healing a bit from all the crap we’ve put it through since the dawn of humanity. I already see a notable difference in the waters around Key West, what with the lack of cruise ships, charter boats, jet skiing and general aquatic debauchery that tends to stir up the ocean and destroy our coral reefs.

I’m sorry that I’ve been missing in action the last couple of weeks. I had to stop writing for a bit because I was getting anxious. I spent the majority of last week juggling phone calls between my various student loan companies, the unemployment office, the food stamp office, you name it. I made well over 500 phone calls and I spent massive amounts of hours on my roommate’s computer trying to make sense of the mess that is Florida’s government assistance programs. I was getting pretty discouraged. Every day felt like Groundhog Day, and I was waking up with increasing anxiety nearly every morning.

So I had to take a mental break for a bit. I couldn’t find anything to poke fun at while I was on the verge of a panic attack. I’m so lucky I have my Corona-mates, who tell me when to calm the hell down, and when I deserve to legitimately stress out about something.

Slowly, but surely, things are getting easier. I’ll be back to writing this week, and hopefully I’ll start to rediscover the funny little things in life during this quarantine. Fingers crossed!

April 23, 2020:

Quarantine Day 37:

I got a new computer today! No more asking Jenni to borrow hers when she and my other roommates are trying to use it to access the same bogged-down websites I am (remember those countless online hours I told you about).

In an effort to social distance ourselves and get some much needed outdoor therapy, Myles and I ventured out tonight to see if we could dip our toes in the ocean for a few minutes. Our beaches have been roped off for a couple weeks now, but on an earlier bike ride, we noticed one small beach that wasn’t fenced off. We came back home, put on our bathing suits, masked ourselves, and headed back out at night, so as not to come into contact with any other people.

We were there for maybe ten minutes when a police car shined its spotlight on us. The officer asked us where we lived, took our driver licenses and headed back to his squad car. Then another squad car pulled up. Oh, boy. Was this it? Were we about to get arrested? To say I was nervous is an understatement.

As he got out of his car, yet another squad car pulled up. Our original officer looked embarrassed.

“I’m sorry, guys. You’re not in trouble. You just can’t be here at night, and this beach was supposed to be barricaded. The three car pull-up is a bit overkill. We obviously have nothing better to do. Whatever… stuff you’re doing right now, you can’t do it at night on the beach. You’re free to go now, though.”

It was only when I got on my bike and rode away that I noticed I was wearing this hideous one-piece bathing suit that has a hairy man body printed on it. I have no idea what weird “stuff” he thought we were into.

April 24, 2020:

Quarantine Day 38:

Today was one of those days where I woke up anxious. Monroe county announced that it will continue to stay closed to tourism through the month of May. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a smart decision. It sucks to know that I still won’t be working in a month, but to open prematurely and possibly be forced to close back down if the pandemic spikes in the Keys would be even worse. I now know a handful of people outside of the Keys who have tested positive for the virus, and I know it’s far from over. I just hope I remember how to tend bar when this is all over.

Another thing on my mind is hurricane season. It hasn’t rained here in God-knows-how-long, and the Caribbean waters are warm as hell. Maybe not hell. Warm as heck, we’ll say. It would be just our luck to bookend this dumpster fire of a summer with a Category 5. Even writing that gives me chills. I’m not a religious person, but I have a small amount of superstition in my bones.  It’s supposed to rain this weekend, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The island needs to chill out, literally.

April 25, 2020:

Quarantine Day 39:

Today is Shelby’s birthday! She was a bit depressed that she couldn’t celebrate out on the town, so we put together a little tea party for her… a Quarantea party, if you will. We had tea sandwiches, cupcakes, cookies, the works. Jenni even ordered cute little flowered Dixie cups with handles that folded out. We put out quite the spread on our back porch. Happy birthday, Shelby!

I forgot to mention earlier this week that I did a little experiment by accident. I left a package of toilet paper in my bicycle basket when I parked it up the street last week. When I came back the next day, it was still there! I was quite surprised. So, I decided to see how long it would last before someone took it. That TP lasted 11 days! I owe it to the lack of people on the streets and really kind neighbors. I went out the other day, and it was finally gone. I hope the person who took it really needed it. If so, I’m a happy camper.

LBB Lauryn Lucy Brooke is a bartender who lives in Key West, Florida. Her favorite activities used to be traveling, scuba diving, and hanging out with friends. None of which she can do now.  Lauryn has a Masters Degree in Journalism from CUNY.