Corona and Coffee: A Pandemic Survival Guide

By Cindy Sams

Wake up

reasonably early every morning although you did not go

to bed until 4 a.m. because you are locked down alone here

so why hit the rack on time, huh? my grown child in Colorado

swears the racing thoughts that keep you awake all

night would slow to a crawl if you would JUST CALM

DOWN. this will not occur, so…


Coffee. Make some

espresso roast. Starbucks. drink it while awakening the laptop

(which you’ve nicknamed Rooster Cogburn) and signing into

your job, even though the assignments you post online for

your students go ignored because the kids aren’t bored enough

yet to do the work and they know the grades don’t count



Watch the Morning News

rage about the state of our government. cry over all

the people who have died because our political leaders

value profits over people. who elected these @#**!!! fools?


Eat something. Eat something more.

don’t judge me.


Settle down to write

put something on the page. what’s so wrong with you that

you can’t come up with one sentence

to describe what’s happening in the world and to all the people

in it? ok forget the sentence; gimme a word, one word.

nope. and you call yourself a writer.


Watch the mid-day news.

more profanity, more angst (mine)


Consider taking a nap

nod off on the sofa until guilt startles you awake.

you’re supposed to be working. it’s so quiet here.

you haven’t been in the same room with another

human in 32 days. The drone of the television lulls

you back to sleep… dammit. it’s those yipping,

yowling dogs next door. just once, let me catch their

hairy little asses outside…



hop on the Total Gym set up on the living room

floor and go all Chuck Norris for a while, excise some

fat, fight some anxiety, fabricate some muscle.

on second thought, forget it.


Answer the phone

when it rings but don’t seem too eager to talk to whomever

is calling, especially the telemarketers. “hi just checking in

on you, hon haven’t heard from you in a while… you’re bored…

you’re lonely… why don’t you write a blog.” thanks for the


at a nowhere university in Georgia.

I do not blog.



it’s been a few days


Coffee. Make more. Lots more.

you’ll need it to get through what comes next


Watch the Evening News

dear god in heaven what is wrong with these people

in washington are they nuts why do they listen to

that man why can’t they just do something do something

do something do something


Make Dinner

cereal and yogurt with coconut flavored coffee creamer

instead of milk, plant or otherwise. you don’t care anymore

the world and the diet have gone to hell, they are sashaying

arm-in-arm down a dirt road toward oblivion. no wonder

you can’t…



boosts the immune system and recharges the brain. pity you can’t

partake in that, the ceiling fan whirs overhead and the kitty cat

lies next to you purring, the sheets are clean and the mattress is soft,

but you’re all prickly inside, jangly in the soul, and when people ask

how you’re coping here all alone day-in-and-day-out, you struggle

with the answer because there are no words

About the author

Cindy Sams is a teacher and writer in Macon, GA, a hub of soul food and soul music in the New Deep South. A graduate of Wesleyan College, she holds an MA in Theater from Regent University, and is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing from Reinhardt University in Waleska GA. Her work has appeared in Brevity Nonfiction blog, High Shelf Press, The Chaffey Review, Canyon Voices Literary Magazine, and The New Southern Fugitives, which nominated her for a 2020 Pushcart Prize.

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