Concentrated Time

October 26, 2020


I stumbled across a fantastic deal from Icelandair as I was planning our Pasta Pilgrimage to Italy last fall. Roundtrip airfare from Washington, D.C. to Copenhagen, Denmark with an Iceland stopover was $400 per person. Both Iceland and Copenhagen were on our list to visit, so we booked the trip for February 26 — March 6, 2020.

As I sat drinking champagne in the Icelandair lounge, surrounded by TV screens playing muted news, I began to realize that Covid-19 was becoming a serious threat outside of China. We watched the cases explode in Italy and the country began locking down as we neared the end of our trip.

When we returned home on March 6, we had decided that we would be careful to avoid unnecessary human contact. This meant avoiding seeing others and public outings as much as possible. On March 10, I received the email that someone on our March 1 flight had tested positive for Covid. We went into immediate isolation and have been home ever since.

It's been 8 months – a wholly unprecedented amount of time together. From when we packed and made our way to the airport to right now, 243 days later.

As we prepared one of the many dinners at home a few weeks ago, we began discussing this time. We find ourselves in a situation where both partners can isolate and are working from home. The lines of defined, separate space and time between work and life and everything else have blurred into oblivion. This strange life we now live is concentrated time. But how concentrated is it?

The Before Times

I've calculated the following rough allocation of our time during The Before Times. And yes, we do maintain the very healthy sleep schedule outlined below.

An Average Week Day: 6 hours together

An Average Week End Day: 12 hours together

All-in-all, my rough estimate is that we spent 117 days' worth of time together each year.

The Corona Times

Since the concentrated time began, we've spent 8 full months (243 Days) of time together. In The Before Times, it would have taken us almost 2 full years to spend this much time together. We've jammed 2 years' worth of time into 8 long, short months.

I'm somehow reminded of the Adele song When We Were Young, which happens to be my favorite song of hers. Don't @ me, I'm right. This time is simultaneously fast and slow. The days are long, but the time is short. The extra time together is difficult and somehow special.

I've intentionally avoided writing about life during this time, The Corona Times. Not because I was in denial about what we’re facing — a global pandemic exceptionally mismanaged in the US — but because I didn’t want to remember anything about the misery of this time. Writing about it made it permanent, a fact of life.

But here we are. This concentrated time will be what it will be. But for now, l'll keep this snapshot – of us, in this light, in case this is the last time that might be exactly as we were before.