Dispatches from A Pandemic: When Time Runs Out

It’s as if the world has all been given a year or less to live. And we can’t even live out our days as if they were our last. Stay home. Don’t travel. Hawaii’s been closed for months, no Tahitian getaways on the schedule. No vacation planning or airline miles redeemed. Solitary confinement. “The only thing worse than Solitary,” texts my dad, who’s been on quarantine lockdown at his senior living community for six weeks, “is going back to Solitary.”

Like death row prisoners, we enjoy our last meals on earth.


March 16: Our health club closed its doors for the first time ever in their 40 year history. My last gym workout: hard and heavy in a near empty weight room, then a 20 minute swim. My friend Marcie swam for hours. Gliding through the silky blue water. The only one left in the pool. We both knew it was over.


“Everything I use to calm my fear and anxiety and stay sober—gyms, meetings, even grocery shopping at Whole Foods—has been stripped away,” moans Caroline B in the empty cyberspace of a virtual AA meeting.

Also: “Alcoholics will always find a way to drink, quarantined or not.”


Life has taken on the timeless quality of a casino; a memory care ward; mile 37 of an ultramarathon. Seconds pass like hours. We have all this time on our hands, but are crippled by inertia. The numbness this futureless state, living with no end in sight, not unlike my mother’s daily life in Alzheimer’s World..

The spaces between moments grow deeper. Time knows no hour. And now that we have an unlimited supply, time has become a commodity.