This is day . . . oh, who the heck knows . . . of self-quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. And it occurs to me that someone should be keeping a list. Because as you can see, days with no structure tend to blur and become one homogeneous blob of time. So I have started an inventory of the blessings and challenges of living in the time of this pandemic. Here goes:
Plus: My home office has never been so clean. Minus: That’s because, after 30 years of self-employment in which seldom a day has gone by when I didn’t have a to-do list to plow through, my clients have disappeared practically overnight.
Plus: I snuck in a vacation to Big Sur before California was shut down. Minus: By the time I got back to Minnesota, all the hand sanitizer was gone.
Plus: I have a three-year-old granddaughter who does not know the meaning of social distancing. Minus: I have a three-year-old granddaughter who does not know the meaning of social distancing.
Plus: Like many states, Minnesota has sagely closed all public gathering places, including schools and restaurants, to encourage people to stay home and impede the spread of the virus. Minus: I do not cook.
Plus: A coronovirus news-weary friend has rediscovered the joys and comfort of watching old westerns and reconnecting with John Wayne and Audie Murphy. Minus: In this day and age of cable news and social media, it is nearly impossible to escape the updates on the domino path of this virus’s destruction. It is scary. I am wishing I had watched fewer apocalyptic Mad Max movies.
Plus: State governments across the country are stepping up, making hard decisions, and taking charge to protect their citizens. Minus: The impeached president has denied, lied, dragged his feet, insulted the truth gatherers, spread dangerous misinformation, and continues to make decisions based on his stock portfolio instead of the nation’s health.
Plus: Decency abounds, from college students offering to provide day care to doctors, nurses, and first responders to neighbors dropping off groceries on the doorsteps of their elderly neighbors. Minus: There are still idiots hoarding hand sanitizers and toilet paper (yes, there is a special place in hell for you).
Plus: We still have nature. Thank goodness we haven’t paved over it or destroyed it completely, yet. You don’t have to keep your personal space from a tree. Minus: Eventually, we all have to go back inside.
Plus: Quarantine is actually healing some of the planet. In Italy, the canals are clearer, and in China, the air is cleaner. Minus: It won’t last. Once the pandemic ends and people emerge from their homes, our onslaught on the climate will begin again.
Plus: We have outstanding doctors, nurses, scientists, and first responders who are dedicated to saving every life. Minus: They must sacrifice so much because they aren’t given the support they need (masks, gowns, ventilators) to make their jobs safer, less stressful, and more successful.
Plus: It is so quiet now. Minus: It is so quiet now.
After this is all over, our lives will be irreparably changed. We will never take toilet paper for granted again. We probably will continue to wash our hands to the tune of the alphabet song (which takes about 20 seconds). If we are smart, we will look at our leadership with new assessing eyes and choose those with compassion and courage over narcissistic cheerleaders. Perhaps, sadly, we will have lost family and friends.
This pandemic has shown just how connected we are to every other being in this world. What happens there impacts here, no matter how some would have you believe we can build a wall and get along by ourselves just fine, thank you very much. We need each other.
Stay home. Be safe. Practice decency.