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Quarantine Diary Day 6: I haven’t put on shoes in six days

Z ack Dinerstein and Lisa Tauber, both 35, moved from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to Tel Aviv a year ago for her job at Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelance services (he is a web developer and former podcast producer). Newlyweds, they recently went for a romantic getaway to Paris — only to find on their return that France had been added to Israel’s list of countries from which travelers must stay in isolation. Now, they are among 80,000 people confined to their homes, and they’re letting us follow along.

7:10 a.m. (Zack): ‘There Goes The Sun’

I’m not sleeping well. Is this a product of lack of sun and exercise? I’m certainly not getting my steps in.

Before all this, I’d feel sleepy most nights around 11 p.m., looking forward to a book, then lights out, and a relatively easy transition towards REM.

Now when 11 p.m. rolls around, I just feel wired. It’s like I have too much pent-up energy bouncing around inside my body. One episode of “Schitt’s Creek” or “Jeopardy!” before bed easily spirals into two or three. Crawling under the sheets around midnight, my head buzzing, sleep still feels out of reach. Not like a friend who swings by at same time every night, like it used to.

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To counteract this feeling, all I want to do is run. Lace up my trainers, plug in my earbuds, and jog to the pier overlooking the beach a mile west of our apartment.

The run — which, for a while, I did most mornings — takes me down a quiet tree-lined path between two roads. The route is for runners, bikers, people walking their dogs or pushing baby strollers — and is dotted with charming stalls for breakfast or coffee.

If it were a normal day, and I were running that path right now, the sun would be climbing steadily behind me. I’d be listening to a Hebrew-language podcast for practice. I’d pass a few stray joggers, lost in their own headphones. The breakfast kiosks would be lifting their grates, getting ready for the morning rush.

After a mile, the path would become a cobblestoned bridge, leading to a huge open-air stone courtyard. On the right side of the courtyard is a lightly crumbling wall painted with street-art murals in various states of disrepair. On the left stands a dull hotel tower, glittering as the sun rises.

And straight ahead, on the other side of a waist-high railing, is the Mediterranean Sea. Blue and foaming. Just waking up.

When I get out of quarantine, the first thing I’m going to do is put my sneakers on, run to that spot on the pier, point my face towards the sky, and let the warmth of the sun wake up every sleeping, pale cell in my body till they light up like a pinball machine.

9 a.m. (Zack again): ‘All I want to do is scrub our apartment’

I have a powerful urge to clean our apartment like I’ve never felt before. Typically, I focus on tidying up dishes or piles of clothes, and Lisa trains her attention on hidden grime I tend not to notice.

But now the roles have shifted. All I want to do is scrub our apartment. Dust and wipe our shelves, squeegee our bathrooms and, most importantly, polish our floors till they shine.

No matter how many times I sweep them, our floors can’t seem to stay clean. I’ll be lying ear-to-ground on my yoga mat, heart slamming after a long session, and gaze under our bookshelf. There, I’ll see 30 dust mites, just chilling, having a great time.

I swept you yesterday! You were clean. Lisa and I literally haven’t gone anywhere in six days. Where are you coming from??

12:11 p.m. (Lisa): What does one wear in quarantine?

Here’s a thing I realized today: I haven’t put on shoes in six days. My slippers have soles, so I guess in a way that counts, but I’ve only worn my fuzzy indoor socks and slippers since being shut in. I also haven’t once worn pants that close with buttons or zippers. But I suppose everyone assumes if you’re stuck at home all day every day you make yourself stuck in athleisure. I can only guess that we quarantined all stick to a similar uniform.

I remember a brief period in between jobs where I actually freelanced. There were few reasons for getting up and getting dressed in “real” clothes — much like now. But I had the coffee shop to run to or friends to meet. In other words, I had constructed a purpose for dress.

But now I have no purpose to put on some boots or jeans, or a jacket for that matter. And yet it was barely just a week ago that I was wearing tights under my jeans, gloves on my hands, and a warm winter jacket to roam the streets of Paris. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Day 6: 3:45 pm (Lisa) Purim’s Eve

In case you’ve been curious about our Purim plans, fear not, dear reader, I will share them with you! When I found out I’d have to go into quarantine, one of my initial thoughts was, “But I’ll miss Fiverr’s Purim party!” I sighed and thought about all the related things I’d miss — things I pretend to hate but sort of love. The last minute scrambling for a costume idea and then the last minute scrambling for the items that comprise said idea; the eleventh hour gluing of gems or fabric or other materials onto other pieces of fabric or cardboard; the excitement of seeing my coworkers dressed up (sometimes unrecognizably so!).

Last year, I’d only been in Israel for a few weeks when Purim rolled around. While I’d already worked at Fiverr from NY for over a year, there were many people at Fiverr’s Tel Aviv headquarters I didn’t know. So the Purim party was a joyful, silly introduction to many of my new colleagues.

It was also my first introduction to an Israeli party. I learned about Omer Adam, Israel’s pop crowned jewel, and other Mizrahi music I’d never heard before. I danced gleefully into the wee hours of the morning and then walked home up Rothschild Boulevard with all the other Purim revelers from across the city.

Well, this year there would be no Fiverr Purim party for me. But as it turned out, there’d be on party at all. Like many other gatherings in Israel, the Purim party has been cancelled in order to prevent Corona’s spread. It’s one of several much appreciated measures Fiverr is currently taking in order to protect its employees.

So what will we be doing tonight? Well, we’ll be live streaming the megillah reading from a local congregation. And I told Zack I’m dressing up as a couch potato. So I’m already feeling festive.


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