Yankee Notebook columnist Willem Lange, of East Montpelier, talks about how he has been affected by self-isolation and the pandemic.

How are you handling self-isolation?I’m not really isolated. Kiki is with me almost every minute of every day and night. Not much of a conversationalist, but as I’m typing right now, she’s laying her chin across my left arm and gazing up at me.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?The biggest challenge is really no big deal: It’s not being able to go where and when I want because of uncertainty on the road. Another Gettysburg run, for example, is not in the cards.

What has been the most pleasant surprise?Nicest surprise has been the lack of traffic. Not that there isn’t any. But it’s more spaced out. Takes me back about 50 years.

How much of what you’re doing do you think will you carry forward after the pandemic?There’s very little that I do day to day that’s constrained by official directives: Price Chopper, CVS, Aubuchon’s, Tire Warehouse. Walking in Hubbard Park, working out in the living room. What’s left? I now can even record video for the TV station right from my desk chair and fire it off on the iPhone. I drove so little during the month of March and first week of April that my car’s auxiliary battery — the one that runs the computer — had to be revived. I don’t see any changes, beyond travel (assuming I survive), that I’ll be doing afterward.

And what do you feel the lessons will be that come out of all of this?I suspect that tips to people like servers will be more generous, as well as donations to food banks. So few of us who live on the middle levels of the pyramid appreciate adequately how the folks “beneath” us support us. It’s quite possible that the minimum wage will at last be raised, at least in some states. I think the Pandemic Response Office will be restored — at least after January.

(1) comment


Hi Willem,

My cats and the birds at the feeders kept me sane during this lockdown. Also emails from friends, including you! I think we will be dealing with this for a while. Just heard this morning on VPR that a researcher at Cambridge determined that a different strain of the virus was found. Not surprised, but it will complicate recovery from this pandemic. Glad you are doing well.

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