How I am Staying Safe and Sane: A Coronavirus Essay by Shirley Wassan


It’s been hard finding that human connection during this time, as a responsible citizen I am socially distancing but lately I’ve been getting so lonely. I can’t go to my weekly Lizards Fanatics meetings, lately, we have been holding them over Zoom but it’s just not the same. My Gila Monster needs her weekly social hour and the computer can’t replace that lizard to lizard communication. I have found a solution, however, for me and Happy the Gila Monster.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak apartment complex trash and recycling bins are overflowing! We have been going through our apartment complex’s trash and recycling bins to get those wonderful smells that we have been missing out on from in-person meetings, and it has really improved my mood, and Happy’s mood as well.

One of our neighbor’s, Rachel, has been someone that I know feel extremely close to, even if she doesn’t know it. She leaves all of the shipping labels on her boxes, and the packing slips in them as well. As soon as I see Rachel Gibbons Apartment 2D in that recycling bin I get so excited, it’s so good to know she’s staying active by buying pre-workout, protein powder, and exercise bands online! It just is very comforting right now, to go through another person’s things and really feel that connection. Just going through the trash isn’t enough of a connection sadly, so I’ve started going into her apartment while she sleeps! Happy has been really enjoying it too, sometimes she likes to crawl up onto her nightstand and watch Rachel snore long into the night.

While I’m at Rachel’s I like to examine all of the photos she has on her refrigerator, her graduation picture, a photo of her camping in Yosemite, all such wonderful snapshots of youth. Her apartment smells so wonderful too, like fresh rotting roses, right before they become acidic but while they are still sweet.

Lately, I have been going onto her laptop when I come in and visit, she’s so considerate not having a password, oh and don’t worry I am still socially distancing, always have to keep that six-foot distance!