Whenever a student or colleague asks via email how I’m doing, I often respond with the generic statement “We live in interesting times.” On the surface, J and I are doing well: we both are healthy, we both are (currently) employed, and we both are adapting to this curious self-quarantine we’ve kept for more than 50 days.

But under the surface, these are strange days. I read the news with a mixture of sadness, horror, and outrage. At any given moment, I alternate between wringing my proverbial hands and rolling up my figurative sleeves. I intentionally keep myself busy with work, housework, and pet tasks. Every day, I look forward to the afternoon walks J and I take to get exercise and fresh air, and every week, I look forward to the drives around the neighborhood we take to keep each of our cars running.

J and I are, in other words, settling into something that passes as “almost normal”…and that itself seems strange. It almost doesn’t seem right to turn a global pandemic into a domestic routine, but ordinary rituals are the only way I know how to make sense of the world and my place in it. For good or ill, I am a creature of habit, and I take a surprising amount of solace knowing my daily routine is one thing I can control in a world of unknowns.