Coronavirus Diaries: And So It Goes
We in California got a bit of a jump on the rest of country with sheltering in place voluntarily and then, when that failed, by state mandate. I was in San Francisco just days before the first “loose lockdown" started, and by “loose” I mean everyone went home to work and then took advantage en masse of a loophole: outdoor exercise. In a city as compact as San Francisco, staying far apart and going it alone while running, walking and rollerblading proved too difficult.
That’s why I’m glad that San Diego and all of Southern California is spread out. We might live in a big city, but everyone inhabits suburban hamlets that offer more breathing room. Even all those condo dwellers downtown are surrounded by green space and large bayside boardwalks. Like San Franciscans, self-sequestered people here didn’t do as told and stay away from each other at our beaches, parks, boardwalks, bike paths and trails. So, our local government closed everything up – putting up yellow crime tape and threatening signs to show this time they meant it.
It should be an easy sell by now, with the death toll from a silent killer rising exponentially almost by the hour, and forcing all of us to see life differently. Every time I turn on the news and see the new numbers, I think of all those families whose loved ones died alone in some overrun hospital or alone at home, and whose survivors cannot be physically consoled because they are now known threat vectors. I think of the parents of young adults who maybe had no idea their now-deceased son or daughter vaped, making it easier for the coronavirus to squeeze the life out of those scarred lungs; had these teenagers and young adults heeded earlier health warnings, they may have survived the viral infection just fine. I wonder about the future for all those Florida spring breakers who brought the virus back to their hometowns and hurt innocent people in the process. And I pray nightly for all the healthcare workers scared shitless about becoming infected and spreading COVID-19 to their families. The delivery people trying to stay employed and bring us our supplies. The plumbers and electricians and construction crews and pharmacists and supermarket workers.
Almost a month into this (I was sick and self-quarantined since returning from my trip north), I no longer feel intense animosity toward the toilet paper and disinfectant hoarders, even if I just shipped twelve rolls to my daughter and son-in-law because people are still at it. I no longer wake with a startle wondering if we’ll keep our jobs and our home. I am at peace with the homeschooling that may or may not work with our special needs child.
What we’ve all been through collectively is grief. When we had some control over the situation we either were told or chose to ignore our part in preventing the severity of the health and economic disaster now playing out. A lot of us rushed past the denial and anger stages, only to become stuck in the bargaining or depression ones. Acceptance is coming, if way too slowly for some people.
I’m going to devote future blog posts to highlight some of the positives emerging in such a negative space. It frees up those dark thoughts that have consumed me lately, and probably you too. Here we go for this round:
People without jobs will get extra help. Unlike the Great Recession, in which both my husband and I lost our jobs (while both kids were in college) and scrambled to find new housing with millions of other recent evictees, our employments are safe for now. For the 10 million (and growing) suddenly out of a job, the stimulus package should help put more money, and over a longer period, in their pockets. Spend it wisely.
We no longer have to put up with bad coworkers or toxic friends and extended family members. If you’ve been meaning to find a way to put some distance between you and people you can’t stand, this global pandemic is a godsend.
It’s becoming more difficult to do meth and heroin. You may not know this, but the Mexican drug cartels responsible for even those black market fentanyl patches have a supply chain issue now that China can’t export the chemical compounds needed to make these street drugs.
Some of my favorite podcasters are rising to the occasion. Even if I’m not their target demographic, I love the way these two tell a story and was elated when they figured a way to keep producing their show. On walks, I like to listen to this guy. And while doing deep housecleaning (which is now more often), I’m catching up on food history. It’s weird because I used to listen to a lot of music, but for the past month, I’ve been drawn to talk rather than tunes.
I can exercise in the early mornings again. For almost two years, since I returned from Oregon with a child and dog, my husband’s work schedule meant I could no longer walk or run early mornings because he was out of the house by 4 a.m. Now that he commutes from the master bedroom to the dining room, I’m back to walking (because it’s dark) to kickstart my day. Best of all, no one else is out in my tiny complex, so I can do my brisk 30 or 45 minutes' worth of quarter-mile circles and never worry about social distancing.
So that’s enough gratitude for one post. Who knows what will happen between now and the next one. I hope anyone that stumbles upon this is safe and healthy and able to still take advantage of life’s little pleasures.