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Quarantine Diary: ‘I am seriously going to kill you’ (That’s what she said)

Day 3: ‘I want to be clear I sort of doubt I am contaminated’ (Lisa)

Turns out if you constantly post Instagram stories, your friends won’t forget about you.

Friday is the first day of the weekend here in Israel, which means our friends had some spare time, too. Soon after we woke up this morning, we heard a buzz from downstairs. Zack pressed the intercom and heard a deep Israeli voice mumble something about coronavirus and hang up. He immediately freaked. Was it the Corona Police investigating us? Had we somehow transgressed?

We listened as footsteps ascended all three flights of stairs to our floor, followed by a knock on our door. Zack looked anxious; I looked through the peephole.

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And there was my dear friend Lotem, with her husband standing far behind, holding two Purim gift baskets.

Under quarantine.

Under quarantine. Image by Zack Dinerstein

The kindness didn’t stop there. Another friend bought us coffee and treats, yet another brought a yoga mat. I hate yoga, but I hate the idea of not moving my body for two weeks more, so I’ve succumbed. Maybe I’ll finally find that elusive inner peace.

Each “visit” from a friend means: the door cracked so we can see each other’s faces, the delivery placed on the ground outside said door, and a potentially illicit conversation with enough distance to ensure we don’t contaminate.

Speaking of contamination, I want to be clear that I sort of doubt that I am contaminated. Many people have asked us how we feel about this whole situation. Isn’t it overkill? Probably. But as annoying as the situation is, I also agree with it. A country the size of New Jersey means that (a) things can spread very quickly and (b) it’s small enough to actually control the situation. So I respect it. For now anyway.

Day 3: ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ (Zack) Friday morning, I rolled over at 9 a.m. to the sound of Lisa laughing, looking at her phone.

“What’s up?” I croaked.

She held out her glowing screen. In her WhatsApp feed, I watched a GIF of Jack Nicholson climbing the stairs of the Overlook Hotel, wiggling his fingers at his terrified wife while she swings a Louisville slugger towards his head.

The end result of a few months crammed together in isolation, snowbound in the Rocky Mountains.

Text was from her brother. The caption: “Z & L. Right now.”

Lisa’s response: “I’m not sure which of us is which!”

Later, I checked our storage room. We have no baseball bats, thankfully.

All blogging and no outside make Lisa and Zack… vitamin D deficient.

In the shower, out of nowhere, the song “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by Kylie Minogue crept into my head and, appropriately, stayed there.

I sang it in the shower, then while putting on clothes, and later while I bleached the mold from our bathroom ceiling. I found myself absentmindedly humming it while scrubbing our dishes. Lisa stood behind me, gripping a 10-inch chef’s knife as she guillotined a leek stalk for a quiche.

“Can’t get you out of my head, boy your love is all I think about…”

Lisa turned around and held the side of the knife in front of my face so I could measure, with my eyes, exactly how long it was.

“I am seriously going to kill you,” she said.

She was smiling though, so I know she’s just joking.

Our first diary entries were published in the Forward! Ten minutes after we shared the article on social media, Lisa’s phone buzzed from the living room.

She held it to her ear. “Jay!” she said, a big grin spreading across her face. Jay’s an old friend of Lisa’s parents, lives in Jerusalem and, since we moved here, he and his wife have essentially been our pseudo god-parents.

“He saw that we’re in quarantine,” she said to me.

She paused, listening to Jay mumble something on the other end. Then her eyebrows narrowed and her nose crinkled up like she’d opened our trash can to a blast of rotting fish.

“What do you mean, is HE still ok? Why do you think he wouldn’t kill ME?”

Editor’s note: Zack Dinerstein and Lisa Tauber are Americans living in Tel Aviv. A few days after they got back from a quick getaway in Paris, Israel added France to the list of countries from which travelers must go into isolation. Now Zack and Lisa are among some 80,000 people confined to their homes in Israel. This is their journey, in their words.

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