A Coronavirus Chronicle
We asked people to share their experiences and perspectives on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The following are accounts that we have received so far. If you have something you would like to share please email us at email@example.com.
POSTED ON JULY 4, 2020
KINGSTON, NEW YORK
M. Petits-Doigts says of COVID,
"It's something that China, our foe, did."
But look at the action
Of him and his faction:
It's much more like Curly and Moe did.
POSTED ON MAY 24, 2020
ANN ARBOR , MICHIGAN
Click here for Gerri Barr's "When Covid Comes Calling"
POSTED ON MAY 18, 2020
LONG BEACH PENINSULA, WASHINGTON
Click here to read "Let's Party Like It's 1899"
by Mark Magee about the Quarantine Station at the mouth of the Columbia River.
POSTED ON MAY 10, 2020
KINGSTON, NEW YORK
Spring is having a hard time getting settled here in the northeast. We mostly had rain, clouds, wind and days in the fifties all through April and now into May. ("I'm tired of the 50's!!" , I said to Ruth one day, but she thought I was somehow thinking about the decade.) Anyway, one day a week we might get up to the sixties. Then we were super excited when we actually had a couple of nice days in a row. Now, today May 9 ,we're back to forties and extremely windy, with scattered flurries . But the Sun peeks out so that's good! I have been know to "flip the bird" put the window at the wind. "Nobody likes you- go away!"
The online teaching is challenging - particularly when trying to reach out to students who are just not interested. Then there are ones who, due to circumstances, just can't do it even with the technology provided. Luckily, I was having a good year so I have been having 1 to 1 Google meets with some of my students who are really nice kids. Often we just start with a chat about what the weather is ( cloudy windy rainy) , admire their pets and just check in on how they feel. It is the only part of the day that I like. Kid energy, even ridiculous, crazy 7th grade kid energy is why I teach. I miss it.
POSTED ON APRIL 30, 2020
Week 7 is drawing to a close, each day something different and often unbelievable... gas is 98 cents a gallon..but who needs to fill the tank? The so-called president
suggests ingesting disinfectants to cure the virus...but what to use as a mixer for a Clorox cocktail? Contact tracing....but how can that be effective when only 2% are being tested? My new rock star is the Governor of New York and I hope people in Michigan are taking notes ...although i think our leadership is also making good decisions.
I’m trying to limit the # of Gunsmoke episodes I watch daily to 2 (maybe 3). I did hear that there will be a virtual running of the Kentucky Derby On Saturday with the 13 Triple Crown winners in the field.....Secretariat is the projected winner!
I am a little concerned that today I am really interested and excited about cleaning out a kitchen junk drawer!
POSTED APRIL 24, 2020
All I have to do is look across my street, go or drive by the Walmart, the Dollar store, the post office and see why rural America will get hit badly by the Covid 19. People in rural towns, possibly more in the south, do not seem to think they have anything to worry about. Trump never wears a mask so why should they? Trump says we can go back to work and the beaches can be opened . Trump says it is not as bad as the Democrats say it is. For many others, they would not care who was president nor what that president says. Rural Americans, not all but more than people recognize, feel they are immune to big city problems. When I go in a store and I see another person wearing a mask, I always comment to that person that it is a shame most people do not care about the Covid and I always get the same answer, "I know". So, let me get stares for wearing my mask and doing my best to stay at least 6 ft apart, which can be hard around here at times. I believe in those qualified medical professionals who know about this.
POSTED ON APRIL 21, 2020
Mine is very simple.
Two things I never thought I'd say:
1. I'm glad Dad died. He loved visiting with people, and that was probably one thing that kept him alive until nearly 102. His visits with young people kept him young. He would die of a broken heart, not the virus, had he still been alive.
2. I wish my daughter Alex lived far away. She lives within walking distance, but she's very worried about exposing my husband Christopher and me. She's still working at the medical marijuana facility; about 8 people work there. Although they clean regularly, wear masks, and don't get close to their one-at-a-time customers, she still stays far away. We leave things for each other on the porch, and we clean things on sending and receiving. We can wave to each other, but I can't hug her and she doesn't come in. Seeing her and not being able to hug her is so difficult; 200 miles away would make it easier. She lives alone. Actually, no. She has a cat. As weather warms we'll see if she will come around to the back deck with her cocktail and we will be able to sit 8 feet apart. Virtual hugs have to do for now.
As for other loved ones, we use zoom.
We've been retired for several years, so our rhythm isn't too disrupted. I haven't replaced my social calendar with anything but a list of projects, and not really accomplished much. I had a hip replacement mid-February, and am grateful, since now they aren't doing those. It kept me home for 2 weeks, and I've been out only twice, both early March. Christopher does the shopping for things we don't have delivered through a local farm project.
POSTED ON APRIL 20, 2020
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
I’m taking a Photoshop class this semester at a local community college (now on-line due to the pandemic). One of the recent assignments was to do a composite/collage photo made up of multiple photos and a phrase to tie everything together. This gave us an opportunity to provide some commentary on how we are being affected by social distancing. Seeing live music is one of life’s joys for me, and an obvious casualty of the pandemic. The photo, entitled “Missing the Music” is an attempt to convey this feeling. The instructions for the assignment were to start with a phrase that has some meaning to you, then select photographs or other 2D media to create the composite image. While browsing for various quotes about music, I came across one that seemed to sum things up for me. With that as a start, I wanted to feature some of my favorite artists I’ve seen over the years at a local music venue. The bandshell is in a park near my house. I waited for a cloudy day (not too difficult in Michigan!), then positioned the musicians performing in a dream-like setting. The musicians from left to right are Colin Hay (from Men At Work fame - a powerful singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist), The Steel Wheels (Brian Dickel, Trent Wagler, Eric Brubaker and Jay Lapp - a brilliant bluegrass and roots music quartet from Richmond, VA), Pokey Lafarge (a high energy singer/songwriter equally proficient in blues, folk, country and swing music) and Erin Zindle (from the Erin Zindle & Ragbirds - an immensely talented songwriter, musician and local favorite). TheY are all from photographs I’ve taken at The Ark over the years. The notes in the sky represent the music and the Dylan lyric is an obvious commentary on the current times we live in. The overall monochromatic tone is aimed at conveying a dream-like mood. It was a fun project, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing live music again!
I’m taking advantage of this period of social isolation to work on expanding my guitar playing. I’ve been taking Skype lessons from a local blues guitarist, Shari Kane. She turned me on to an incredible musician who went by the name Big Bill Broonzy. He is one of those people who just about every notable blues guitarist cites as a major influence. He gained some notoriety in the 1990s when Eric Clapton performed Hey, Hey during his famous Unpluggedperformance. Attached is my attempt at playing that song (sorry no vocals from me :-). A better example of his playing ability and tremendous voice can be found by listening to his rendition of Glory of Love. That is one that I’m still working on. I’m not sure if the lockdown will be long enough!
POSTED ON APRIL 19, 2020
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Click here to listen to Tony Lopresti's podcast about 'Living in Two Epicenters".
POSTED ON APRIL 16, 2020
LONG BEACH PENINSULA, WASHINGTON
Click here to read "Re-wilding a Beach" by Mark Magee about the lost land of the Long Beach Peninsula in the time of the Great Virus, SARS-CoV-2.
POSTED ON APRIL 15, 2020
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
Click here to view artist Linda Heckenkamp's sketches that illustrate our collective loss in the COVID 19 Pandemic.
POSTED ON APRIL 10, 2020
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
At 5:30pm on Friday, March 20th, as I left work for the day, I said to my coworker "Have a great weekend! See you Monday morning!". I didn't know that would be my last day of work. On Monday, March 23rd, our governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a stay at home order and a shut down of nonessential businesses. I am, or should I say was, a nonessential picture framer. I was suddenly and for the first time in my life, unemployed.
The small shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I had worked for a dozen years or so had been open to the public by appointment only for the previous 5 days, as COVID 19 was beginning to take hold in my state. We were working hard to complete orders that were in the store, trying our best to distance ourselves six feet from our customers and constantly sanitizing. I admit that I felt a bit uneasy at work, worried that I might become exposed to the virus. So there was a degree of relief when I was ordered to stay home.
But, now what? My weekdays have been structured for decades and I had to figure out how to fill them when movie theaters, restaurants, book stores, museums, shops and galleries were closed. Even friends' homes were off limits. My first 10 days were consumed with the arduous task of applying for unemployment benefits. After many unsuccessful attempts and a 4:00am login, I finally succeeded in getting through the online procedure. The dollar amount won't be great, but as I began collecting social security in October of last year, I ought to be OK for awhile. I have not looked at my Raymond James investment account. One blow at a time, please.
I have completed one jigsaw puzzle (with 2 more coming from Amazon), read 2 books, connected with old friends online, cooked, baked and eaten a lot. I have just set up an artist studio for myself in the spare bedroom. I have two large rolls of drawing paper coming soon. Daily walks have become my cabin fever remedy and I enjoy walking a good friend's dog as she nurses a knee injury. I look forward to increasingly warm weather so I can start getting the vegetable garden ready.
I've just heard that Governor Whitmer has a news conference scheduled for later today, in which she will extend the stay at home order. I hope my puzzles arrive soon.
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
Today I am lucky enough to be employed, healthy, and without the difficulties of
living that so many others are facing. My friends and family are OK, but they and
the many unfortunate others are on my mind.
I am also lucky to be staying where I can see and hear Nature up close.
In the downstairs office at Joanna's house, where I've moved my workspace,
I am at eye level with squirrels, rabbits and birds. In the daytime I have work
to do at my computer, but I also have the great distractions of these critters
busy at their Spring work: rooting for food and squabbling over turf. I've
always liked looking at animals, but their lives have never seemed so
interesting and complex as they do now when I watch them up close. At night,
during a storm, they too are on my mind.
POSTED ON APRIL 8, 2020
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
Evening One of the 1100 Gold Virtual Neighborhood
Wendy: Lorraine and I thought we should reach out and suggest that we check in with each other (other than yelling through the window – sorry, Annette). And please let us know if anyone needs anything. What do you all think?
Chris: Sounds lovely. Thanks for thinking of it.
Annette: Yes, I agree, good plan. Fiana, my number is in this group message, in case you don’t have it
Fiana: Indeed, thank you. Hi all! I’m doing well today and have what I need. Is anyone else in need of anything?
Annette: I’m fine, thank you.
Fiana: Good. Crazy times we’re living in
Chris: I’m fine and well-stocked on everything
Lorraine: I’m so grateful for you all HEART. Right now, you’re all I need. I’m here for you!
Fiana: Good glad you all are well 😊
Chris: Yes. Have you been going to the garden, Fiana? [our community garden, which Chris oversees]
Fiana: Yes, everyday but 1. It’s good for me getting outside for just a short bit when I get so focused on computer work.
Lorraine: Anytime you want to walk!
Lorraine: 6 feet apart 😊
Fiana: Oh fyi Talin Market has online ordering for pickup now, to avoid having to shop around the store. Did it yesterday and was quite glad to
Chris: I’m working on Spanish group right now. We do it by e-mail. Have a Zoom cocktail hour Friday but not really looking forward. Sounds complicated with my phone propped up somehow. I like checking in this way.
Fiana: I didn’t think I liked video chat but I’ve had to get used to it reaaal fast. Just had my first social group zoom session last night where me and my friends colored and drew and painted. It was real neat
Fiana: That’s cool that you’re in a Spanish group. Do you speak it or are you learning or somewhere in the middle
Chris: We’re not very good but we try.
Wendy: Hey! We were watching Rise of Skywalker and missed all this conversation. Love it!
Wendy: Lawrence says he’s making a chocolate cake tomorrow, with himself and all utensils properly sanitized. We can deliver slices to anyone else who is craving chocolate. Let us know. And we’ll let you know when it’s at your front or back door.
Lorraine: Best news of the day 🍰
Chris: Yum! Put me on the list!
Wendy: You’re on!
Chris: Goodnight, all 😴
POSTED ON APRIL 6, 2020
ULSTER COUNTY, NEW YORK
We live in Ulster County, New York, on the Hudson River about 140 kilometers from New York City, the capital of CoroNation. We have watched the bug move up the River a county or two at a time and knew it would hit here fairly early. Several people have died in this and the surrounding counties, and of course more are expected to. Nursing homes and what are called--presumably sarcastically--"corrections" institutions are being disproportionately hard hit, for obvious reasons.
Many people started voluntarily hiding out before they were officially asked or required to. However, we still have a fair number who don't see the point. It is helpful to remember in such circumstances that a survey a couple of decades ago revealed that about twenty percent of Americans think the sun goes around the earth. Recent indirect evidence suggests this is still a solid number.
Our lives haven't been affected much—Michèle retired last July, so we never have to go anywhere and we didn't go out much before. We did scrub a planned trip to Illinois last month to visit Michèle's family, though, and are catching up on reading instead. Also, following the excellent example of my grandmother, I used to go to the grocery almost every day to see what looked good to prepare for dinner. I have cut back to once a week. We now make up a menu a week ahead, which is more advance planning than we are accustomed to but is not otherwise disruptive.
All the religious gathering spots are shut down and are variously skilled at adaptation. One local pastor thought it a good idea to gather the flock in the church parking lot and have them sit in their cars to meet on Zoom or something like it. Then read through all of the lengthy Scripture lessons for the week, delivered a reportedly interminable sermon, and urged the congregation to sing several hymns while locked up in their automobiles (with the motors running). This particular congregation are not notably gifted singers in the first place, so that contributed to the general misery. They had not previously been aware that there were so many different keys to sing out of.
Our county administrator has been doing a good job of issuing daily briefings, but just last week stupidly got himself in photos on the front page of the local newspaper standing entirely too close to other individuals, two days in a row. That paper used to be a pretty good news source until it was bought up by Engulf & Devour, who sacked most of the staff. Now the suits at Corporate can't figure out why nobody subscribes any more. However, the surviving local employees have been diligently providing reasonably thorough and entirely accurate coverage on the paper's website.
Daughter Kate and son-in-law John have not been much disrupted. They live in Vermont but have both been working remotely for the past several years, for companies nowhere near Vermont. Their business trips are cancelled, which is jake with them. The big adjustment has been that the gym is closed. While you don't need a gym to exercise, Kate reminded me that it is also one of their social hubs. However, they are a generation who are just fine with out-of-body communication, so no major emotional traumas appear to be in the offing.
Kate ("The Enforcer") has been calling us every couple of days to make sure we are complying with our house arrest. My next work-release day is set for Tuesday, I think—but I'd better check. Meantime, we are being good amurricans—crouched behind the sofa, not breathing or touching anything, and staying out of pistol range of other people. And taking comfort in the words of the Buddha: "Nothing lasts forever. Except the hockey playoffs."
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
Staying mostly at home in St. Louis – Counting Flowers on the Wall
Our region has been under a stay at home order since around mid-March. Spending much time at home, I am reminded of the old hit by the Statler brothers – Counting Flowers on the Wall.
Countin' flowers on the wall
That don't bother me at all
Playin' solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo
Now don't tell me I've nothin' to do
It is not really that bad, of course. Microsoft solitaire by default has 52 cards, I don’t smoke, and all of our flowers are in vases. I suppose one could find Captain Kangaroo somewhere to watch. Why not?
The fortunate thing in being dramatically restricted to one’s own space is to have a wonderful relationship with one’s other. We all know spousal abuse and child abuse will be on the increase.
By March 17 we had to contact our invitees that the wedding, scheduled for May 2, was being postponed. Consequently, we had to pause counting flowers and devote considerable time to contacting vendors and rewriting contracts for a later date, September 6. Obviously, we have no idea whether that date will work, but one must at least pick a date for purposes of new contracts! Thank goodness we have a wedding planner to help with all this.
Our strategy has been to attempt to keep up a regular exercise routine, keep cooking good food, reading, listening to tunes, watching some good flics, etc. By the way. Remember trying to watch “Easy Rider” after you had grown up. Didn’t it seem SO very stupid. Same story with “Hair.”
JC, with whom I am affianced, has many more obstacles than I do. She usually swims two or three times a week, then goes to a boxing gym twice a week. Once is with a personal trainer, the other time is for a boxing group session. Hence, no pool is open. She is making do with ZOOM for a workout with her personal trainer. He has some YouTube videos for workouts, but soon will be doing group sessions on ZOOM. In a relatively small condo, this means a lot of furniture moving! Her trainer just opened up his own gym, so he is going to be struggling to stay afloat.
In addition to biking and jogging, I ordinarily spend two or three days a week at the health club, shoulder physical therapy (hit by a car two years ago while biking), light weights and stretching. We live only one-half mile from Forest Park, so I jog there several times a week, and bike three days a week. There is no ban on going outdoors. Generally, it appears that walkers, runners, bikers and others are being sensitive to the risks
We have been taking ballroom dance lessons for several months at the Ballroom Academy of Dance in St. Louis. Wonderful venue down in the arts district around Grand Avenue, not far from St. Louis University, Powell Auditorium, the Fox Theater, the Sheldon, and Jazz at the Bistro. Lessons are now going to be given through ZOOM on Thursday evenings!
JC is on sabbatical leave, so she did not need to complete the term teaching online. Instead she pursues research in metaphysics. (Hold all the Woody Allen jokes.) She has a reading group and they are dong ZOOM once a week. By the way, we live in a six- floor condo constructed in 1910. Our unit is on top. Just outside the door, next to the Pura Vegan restaurant, and the Yoga place, there is a Metaphysics Shop. I don’t see the need to research metaphysics if one can just drop by and buy it with the tap of an iPhone.
Most interesting in all this is watching one’s mood. Very peculiar. We are appreciative that we are being spared the fate of those now without employment. We are grateful to those health care providers struggling to deal with the evolving crisis. A friend and his neighbors go outside every evening at 7 to pan pots and say thanks to those folks. We are also grateful to those, like the checkers at the grocery store, who are extremely vulnerable. Yet, emotionally, there is this strange dampening. Getting outside, looking at the gorgeous spring flowers helps.
For the past several few weeks the highlight of my day
(even the fickle wintery days) has been a walk. I head to a public area,
usually a park, where it's easy to observe social distancing rules.
I’m not alone. In addition to my dog, my mom usually accompanies me,
game to get outside with the help of her walker. There are plenty of
other walkers too. Nearly everyone we meet makes eye contact, and
most greet us with a smile and a few words. A few stop to chat in a
neighborly way. This subtle shift feels profound to me - in a very good
way. I hope the practice sticks, long after coronavirus has faded away.
I was listening to a recent podcast episode in which Terry Gross asked Marc Maron how he was handling the covid19 crisis, quarantine, and the rest. His response was a jolt to my psyche:
For the most part ... I'm not freaking out about too much of anything. For some reason, [because I've had] extreme anxiety for most of my life and really a kind of natural propensity to dread, I was sort of ready for this on some level. The neuro pathways of this type of thinking that everyone's feeling [have] been well grooved over the years for me. There’s something almost like a Ritalin effect going on with me. And also doing nothing is something I spent the first decade or two of my career doing — just wandering around or sitting at home thinking and writing things down. That was the life of the comic.
With very little tweaking, those few sentences capture much of what the corona experience has been like for me so far. Like Maron, anxiety and dread come pretty naturally to me. But recent life circumstances have helped groove those neuro pathways, as well. For the last 16 months my wife and I have been living on different coasts preparing ourselves to fully relocate west. It was a sudden life change that signaled more life changes to come – finding new jobs, selling a house, leaving good friends, relocating a skittish cat – all unfolding on an indeterminate timeline. The experience has been trying, but it has taught me something about living with uncertainty and sharing life with loved ones from a distance.
I think one thing we might not be fully appreciating as a country is how violently our mindsets and daily habits were realigned by the surge of the covid19 response. In a matter of days, people lost jobs or witnessed others lose jobs in an economy that seemed fine a few minutes ago. Some people watched loved ones go to work at great personal risk to themselves—the occupational hazard of being deemed “essential.” Reminders of death and disease took over our screens and our minds. The way we work and live was radically transformed, and the border between these two domains, work and life, is now fully porous. On one day in Maryland between lunch and dinner, we all lost access to the public places where we gather to eat, drink, and socialize. In a matter of weeks, the gradual transition from analog to digital life that we have all been experiencing over the last decade was more or less completed. As a country, we have witnessed the fragility and impermanence of our economic and health infrastructures, as well as our own personal health and that of our loved ones. And we have seen that we are not unique in this regard – that fragility itself appears to be a global pandemic.
I’m not saying that this is what the last 16 months have been like for me. But, I will say that I’ve had a chance to explore the sense of free fall that happens when the existential trapdoor gives way under our feet. The questions many of us are wrestling with right now – How long will this go on? When will I get my normal life back? How much cat hair can a hoodie accumulate and still be considered clean? – are questions I’ve had a head start on. I’ve also become adept at eating alone, sleeping alone, ordering take-out, and determining which food in the freezer is probably still safe to eat.
For the last several months of my life, there has been no sense planning too far into the future because everything might change at any time. Well, here we are doing just that, but on an almost hourly basis. This short sightedness is necessary because sometimes looking at the big picture is just too overwhelming. But we all need a north star. In my relationship, it has been the solace of knowing that there will come a time when I will once again share a primary residence with my wife, not as we had been before (because that is impossible), but in whatever new form it will take when the two of us, a little older and hopefully a little wiser, come together in a new place and start the next chapter of our marriage. And I feel that for our country and our world, as well. When we come out of this on the other side, life will not go back to the way it was before—not completely, anyway. It will be different because we will be different, as individuals, as families, and hopefully as inhabitants of the planet. May we use this time to find the best parts of this different life and build them into our collective future.
Its eerily quiet all day and night....mostly empty streets and school yards, dark stores and businesses. Since schools were closed by Governor’s order on March 13, each week has brought more difficult adjustments to our routines.
We have all found ways to shop....online ordering with delivery or pick up service, family and neighbors keeping us older “at risks” out of the grocery; Communicate....FaceTime and Facebook, Zoom, hollering at each other from 10 feet away on our porches; Home school....thank god I don't have to do that! Keep busy and productive....volunteer, donate, clean out closets/drawers, cook and eat and eat some more, make masks, watch screens, laugh at silly things friends send us.
More than any other time, I worry about my family, neighbors, friends and all the service providers putting themselves out there every day. I am encouraged by the creativity, generosity, strength and determination among the people of Detroit finding ways to support each other one day at a time and thinking about the tough times ahead.
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – SOUTHOLD, NEW YORK – NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
I have noticed a distinct difference in town orders sent out weeks ago by Palm Beach Town versus the Governor of Florida. PB took beach closings seriously for all public beaches and the golf course whereas most surrounding counties are just adopting the same policies now. As to continued construction, home rehabilitations and landscaping I am quite dismayed over the continued work by laborers who have neglected to use any PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), travel side by side in their vehicles and work side by side with no respect for even minimal distancing. These same individuals I have seen in our markets touching packages then putting them back without concern for their possible contamination. I presume the same exists in Southold, Long Island and for sure I know these situations continue in NYC as my Condo Board has allowed all construction work to continue, didn't supply any PPE until last week until I and two other Board managers threatened them. No glasses were ordered and all ran out a week later exposing themselves & others needlessly.
I am so disheartened by what I am reading and watching from the health community regarding a lack of PPE and the States having to bid up prices for respirators and the like from Federally chosen distributors despite the fact that these warehoused articles have already been paid for through tax dollars.
I hope all of us make it through this crisis and not have to watch a documentary or movie with a theme of human cleansing on a global scale. Stay safe and yes I am angry with what we see and how little we can do for others.
Forgot to mention that the Hampton's are in a similar dire situation with Stoney Brook hospital being an hour plus away from it and Southold. This institution is now inundated with its regular load of patients and now Covid 19 deferring as many needed surgeries as possible.
It is interesting how the weather has been conducive out at the shores as Spring has started early and the water is warming. No snow this year out East and few days of freezing temperatures.
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA
…maybe it’s the time of year but maybe it’s the time of man
Ann Louise and I recently moved to another part of the country. We’ve lived in the northeast, Midwest, and New England, most recently coastal Maine. Now we live in North Carolina, lured here to be nearer a grandchild and, let’s face it, milder winters.
We bought a house in a quiet, suburban-ish part of Durham. The neighborhood has a mix of skin colors and ages. We’re part of the elderly cohort. There are some young families too but a lot of empty nesters. In my naivete I thought the mild climate would see people out of their houses on a regular basis. Not. There are still some occupants I have never seen and some I have only seen once in the 6 months here. When we invited some of our neighbors to an open house sort of gathering of friends, relatives, and neighbors we had one neighbor show up. When I commented to a neighbor across the street about inviting some of our adjacent neighbors he said that I had probably already met and spoken to more of them than anyone else around.
I found that surprising. Living in Maine, land of the taciturn Yankee, you could at least get a wave or a nod from anyone. They may not talk to you but they knew who you were, what vehicle you drove, and would arrive at any moment you needed help. I’m told that we no longer live in a rural village, we live in suburbia and the anonymity that goes with it.
Spring comes early here. I’d say mid-February if this year is any measure. I started to see a few more bodies out walking along the street, often walking dogs (lots of dogs here), but sometimes with baby strollers and kids on bicycles. Then the virus and I see many more out. I can’t claim any special knowledge but it could it be my neighbors are stir-crazy and have to get out of the house, social distancing observed? Or maybe it’s just the time of year. I’ll know more when the really hot weather descends upon us and the air conditioning beckons.
Working at a mental health clinic has been interesting. I have been able to see and hear how area clinics, the hospitals, and pharmacies are handling this. As of 04/06/20, care managers with myself included , are now to work from home, coming into the office for only 1 to 2 hrs a week, to sign notes that need to be filed. Half of our therapists have been home for 2 weeks due to their physical health conditions , one pre surgery and another with diabetes uncontrolled. We had started getting our temps taken as soon as we entered the main office in savannah, a requirement and with consistency, on 03/30/20. I had been taking my temp before leaving home every morn for 2 weeks prior to this. We got our letter, stating I work for Quinco, an essential service, from the head office in Bolivar on 04/01/20. This is to be shown if get pulled over. I have been practicing safe measures, even started wearing a mask yesterday while in stores.
I live in the South in a Republican state with people who worship Trump. Many did not worry about Covid 19 until he finally talked about it and some still do not believe it, comparing how many more die from the flu . Many of these are diehard Trump supporters who are current or retired nurses, pharmacists, and other care providers. Our n.p. at our office, a diehard Trumpeter, has taken this seriously since CDC talked about it, so grateful for that at least. My doctor and pharmacy have also been serious about this for weeks as well. Everyone take care and be safe.
I have had two repeated images…When Jesus said in John, “...they may all be one”, a verse I interpret as the end to “othering”. I don’t think this pandemic is ever what I imagined, and in my darker moments, I found myself thinking, “We’re all lepers now.”
SILICON VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, updates from the news, social media, and communication from friends and family are daily reminders of how fortunate I am. I feel profound gratitude on an almost hourly basis while simultaneously feeling helpless and sad for those who are more negatively impacted by the current situation. A friend of mine from high school was recently informed he would be furloughed for at least ninety days--this news came only two months after adopting a baby and buying a new house. Another friend of mine left a job in early March to just take a break but is now panicking that she won't find a comparable job for a year. Our real estate agent's husband just opened a high end restaurant that they spent the last year building and can't operate given the lack of interest in expensive takeout.
I've been trying to be more intentional about how I support people and businesses. I check in on friends and co-workers who live alone even if I haven't been in touch with them for a while. I've been working more actively with a board I'm part of to think of creative ways to support college students who are finishing up their semester or for seniors, their college career, away from campus. I'm trying to buy less on Amazon and other big companies and more directly from small businesses.
At work I have opportunities to work on projects that can help people cope during the pandemic and have access to better information. The work feels very meaningful but also overwhelming since so many needs have emerged and it's difficult to know how to best help people.
This time has also made me realize how I can't continue putting things off that I truly love but think I can always do later. My whole life I grew up dancing but I haven't continuously taken dance lessons in the last ten years. Because the shelter-in-place situation makes it impossible to take dance classes, I now realize I need to get back into dance when I still can.
The writer is a Research Lead at a social media company