It’s been four weeks since I started writing this journal and this Covid talk is starting to get tedious. Time to start looking out to see what else is out there and thinking about different things…but the entire world is focused on this Pandemic. I can’t think of another time in history where for months everyone everywhere is talking, thinking, focusing on only one thing. Other than the world wars. But even then without the global connection that we have now, most days people outside of the front lines just went about their business.
I’m not sure what impact it will have, but the idea that people in pretty much every corner of the world are experiencing the same thing is intriguing. It seems to be bringing individuals closer together as a person in Asia comisserates about staying home with someone in Central Europe and someone in Latin America and someone on an island in the Pacific. And yet the collective “people”, the nations of the world are putting up barriers, becoming more closed in, and showing signs of xenophobia.
Eventually we will come out of this. But we will never be back to “normal”. What do I want the world to look like in a year? What do you want the world to look like? What do you want your life to be like?
Going to the grocery store today was strange. We like to go to Met Market because they are the best at managing their social distancing plus that’s where R can get his vegan cheese and special Hatch Enchilada Sauce. We wore masks and brought hand sanitizer. While we were in one of the aisles an older man started coughing heavily. I didn’t notice but it unnerved R. That and me not noticing. Then when we were done and heading out the door, another man collapsed on the floor by the registers for some reason. I can’t get that picture of the man on the floor out of my head. Not sure what happened but it would have been rude to stand around and gawk.
To calm myself, I went upstairs and re-organized the storage unit. Sorting and organizing things helps me get readjusted.
We did it again…got up early and walked in the park. What a difference that makes. My mood is lighter and I’m able to be more productive. The original plan was to walk in the evening after sunset when there would be fewer people out. But there was a man standing on the corner yelling obscenities and I just didn’t want to deal with that. So I went to bed early which also helped in making today a good day.
Next time we are going to walk on Elliot alongside the park because the park was surprisingly full so early in the morning and some of the runners still don’t do a good job of social distancing. People still just don’t get it. The exercising equipment next to the rose garden is covered with a sign that it’s closed due to Covid19. Just as we walked by an older woman was looking at it and commenting how stupid it is that this was closed. No, it’s not stupid. It’s the right thing to do.
I’ve been reading about protests that are happening to re-open states. They are blocking roads and hospitals. Funny how those who are usually so vocal about others protesting, suddenly flip when they feel like they are being mistreated. It’s sad to say but if they go out and get sick and harm themselves I’m past caring. Those of us who know better should just avoid them.
Wow, I didn’t realize how much of my personality is governed by dopamine rush. I had a shock this morning when I stepped on the scale and for a full ten minutes I was in panic mode at the number that it showed me. But after I got out of the shower and dried off I decided to do a second test and used R’s scale which showed me a more acceptable number, albeit still not a good one. When I went back to my scale I realized that I’ve been using it wrong…that you have to tap it, let it reset it reset itself, and then measure. And suddenly it looked ok. Phew. I think that the cleaning people last Friday must have weighed themselves and when I stepped on it without calibrating, it just showed me the last number.
But about that rush – wow! I feel like myself after that for the first time in weeks. I think I have to find ways to insert a bit of risk and excitement into my day to be the most effective.
Today I realized how much I need a change of scenery. If I stay in one place too long I start to get less and less effective. My head gets fuzzy and eventually I just want to stare at the TV mindlessly. And oddly I stop wanting to go out. Is that how Hermits get started?
All day yesterday I kept thinking it was Friday. The days don’t make sense any more. I’m living with this constant anxiety that is always at its worst in the pre dawn hours – and I’m actually a well balanced and resilient person (a ray of positivity). I’m thinking about my friends who are dealing with PTSD, who have experienced major trauma in their lives and how much worse this must be for them.
Right now I’m most worried about what’s to come this summer or fall as world economies disintegrate and supply channels fail. Already meat packers are closing up. Farmers are destroying tons (literally) of eggs, milk, onions and other produce. Sure they will replant. But who will harvest this summer. Will the migrant workers who fill this vital role be able to travel? Will unemployed people from the cities be able to fill in? Do we even have the necessary organization to make that happen? What will happen when the bubble works its way up the supply chain to the consumers? And this fall? What will happen to the food we normally import when the pandemic moves to the crowded cities in the Southern Hemisphere?
I think that the hardest thing for me right now is seeing everyone well and healthy around me and thinking – why keep doing this? We are ok so why not get back to normal? I know intellectually of course that we can’t, but in my heart it feels very surreal to shelter in place when Seattle is overall getting better. And the rest of the country and the world is feeling the same way.
But just like any good horror movie has taught us, watch out the first time you think you have slain the monster. As you start to go about your business, it suddenly reanimates and attacks again.
This is the time to be strong and not give in to temptation no matter how sweet it would be to come together, hug each other, and start to return to connecting once more. I wanted to say return to normal. But what is normal any more? Has this been so long already that normal as we knew it goes out the window? Do we even want our old normal back with materialism, Seattle Freeze, environmental destruction, and climate change nipping at our heels? Could we transform our cities now, while we are in a different mode into models of pedestrian and alternate modes of transit? With more people working remotely and less strain on our roads? With more cooperation and less “stuff”
So Happy Easter. Another day of sheltering at home but with virtual celebrations. We had our weekly Zoom Tea with Mom and the rest of the family. It was nice as we had some relatives from Vienna join us too. And for an hour and a half we laughed, put on silly Easter hats and ears, and came together in celebration of each other.
I’m writing this on Monday because no matter how much I plan to do on the weekends, when the weekend hits and the lack of routine that I crave is gone, I can’t get things done. Oh I do things, but other things.
Even during this time of pandemic it is super important to have a routine. As the days merge and become one giant stream of waking up followed by the jolt that normal isn’t normal any more, routine and ritual become more important than ever. Because I’m lucky enough to have a job that can be done from home in an industry that is considered essential, I’m busier than ever. So I get up and shower and get on line every day. Except Saturday.
So this Saturday I did The NY Times crossword. Then R and I went to Issaquah to pick up masks that my wonderful friend M made for us. She left them on the porch and we picked them up and then talked from the bottom of the driveway. It’s the new way to keep in touch with our friends.
It was a beautiful sunny day today and I had a chance to get out because the cleaners came. I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since the last time they were here. I realized that having R living with me is making me more careful. He is diligent about not touching things and reminding me to not touch my face. I think that if I lived alone I would end up being more laissez faire about all this.
This beautiful spring day is making me wonder if this weekend will create a surge of new cases. The city is shutting down most parks because of the nice weather to try to keep people from congregating. It’s easy to think it’s not real when the cases in the local area are decreasing and I’m not surprised that areas that have little contagion are thinking we are over reacting. If I didn’t know several people who have had it, I would be skeptical myself. Luckily they all recovered but knowing what they went through makes me glad we are staying home.
I had a conversation with a colleague this morning that made me think about the unintended consequences that will come from the economic impacts of shut downs. How many deaths will we have because of that? Will the lives saved by shutting down so many businesses outweigh the lives lost to causes related to loss of income? Last I read at least 30,000 restaurants in the US are closing for good and they estimate 110,000 will close by this summer.