Well, COVID-19, you’ve created an interesting world for us here. Or perhaps, in many, many small ways over time, we’ve created it ourselves.
Every single email list I have ever joined or company I’ve ever purchased a product from has sent me its own Coronavirus plan. I’m sure this is the same for everyone. They could have just gotten together on a conference call and just used one template. From the Baltimore Chef Shop to Toms Shoes to Wolf Trap Concert Venue. Back on My Feet, About Faces Day Spa, Donors Choose, yoga studios I visited once, a restaurant we never went back to, and on and on to places I don’t have any idea how I got on their email lists. They say…
- carefully watching this evolving situation
- given the current circumstances
- an abundance of caution
- to do our part to protect our community
- your safety is our number one priority
- continue to closely monitor information
Of course the messaging is consistent, what else is there to say? We can’t have nuance in something that is so new and utterly unprecedented. Everyone is entering this moment thinking, “What in the actual ____?”
I’ve found that Coronavirus limitations come in waves of acceptance (unless you’re a dingbat and still chugging Coronas, like this is funny). If you start out thinking that certain aspects of your life will remain the same, you gradually become more accepting of your new isolated existence–just like the NCAA tournament. First I was teaching yoga with hands-on assists but not giving neck rubs, then I announced that I would stop giving the assists and walked the perimeters of the room like I was trying to avoid a security camera, and finally I told both gyms I had to stop teaching after I read this. The next day (March 16), Governor Hogan announced that restaurants, bars, and gyms would be closed.
With Chas working for MEMA, my slow, independent days are a grave contrast to his 7-day work week of 10 hour shifts which are topped off with him coming home to take calls, email, and pace.
Sitting down to watch the governor’s press conferences (always on Chas’s encouragement) means catching the tail-end of whatever TV is before the BREAKING NEWS. I’ve seen how far Rob Lowe has fallen–all the way to “9-1-1: Lone Star.” And why is the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls’ hair…that? Daytime game shows are a true horror, nevertheless, Drew Carey persists. Then there’s the commercials. You need a lawyer, you need a new job, you need car insurance, but what don’t you need? Good credit.
I’ve heard lots of comparisons. I think it’s the natural thing to do when a society is just grasping for meaning by connecting with an existing memory. One is to WWII–but those have been contrasts really. “Thank goodness, this isn’t that.” We’re not at war, many of us aren’t rationing food (though it’s really important to remember that some are). We aren’t fearing for our lives or being persecuted, not sailing across an ocean to be turned away.
Another is to H1N1, which doesn’t really work. All I remember about that is getting a vaccine, whim bam boom, we were okay.
The comparison that lands the most is to the 1918 Flu Pandemic, more aptly, it should be called the 1918 and 1919 Flu Pandemic. Estimates are that it killed between 20-40 million people. Read that number again. Have you ever heard this sung in a child’s voice?
I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
It’ll haunt your dreams. The “1918 Flu” depressed the average life span in the US by 10 years, infecting 28% of Americans, and killing almost 700,000 of them. You want to feel bolstered and justified in social distancing? Read more about it. In particular, the comparison between St. Louis’s handling and Philly’s is fascinating and pertinent. I heard today on NPR that we, as a nation right now, are more “1918 Philly” than “1918 St. Louis.”
My plan is to use my goal sheet to guide my days. Feel free to click “File” and “Make a Copy” and create your own. Day 1–it went well.
Goals include working on my girls’ reflections and giving them feedback, FaceTiming, registering to absentee vote, completing the US Census, some furniture roulette to begin to prepare for a nursery, daily indoor workouts, writing, baking, crafts, gardening, meditation, and more.
I don’t have any real answers, obviously. Sometimes I have used this blog as my soapbox, my megaphone, my accountability method. Right now, it’s my binoculars and my therapist. Because of the uniqueness of this time, I think we could all benefit from some writing, to process, to remember, and to remind ourselves of what this was like. And yes, eventually, someday, it will be “a was.”