I don’t have to be anywhere. Being somewhere is dangerous, though being randomly somewhere still means the odds are in my favor. I’m reminded I’m hungry. Should I go out, take out, eat in, all in one fell swoop? Perhaps I should eat my safe food, prepared by my safe washed hands. I look in the freezer, where I find three courses deposited there in 2019. That’s the ticket, I think smugly.
Consuming Food and Television
With my plate of lentils and Jaipur vegetables and extra clean hands, I click on cable news to continue my preoccupation with the silently yet screamingly fast spreading virus. I hear we’re testing more than anyone else while I read on the scrolling text that we rank 41st among nations for amount of tests done per million citizens.
I get off the news and on a talk show with a studio audience that was live a year ago. Hopefully, they’re alive to watch it today. My mind is filled with ignorant bliss. The glee of the celebrity-luminated crowd strikes me as sad. They’re like passengers on a train to nowhere. Well, on a train on a collision course with another train. Their collective future is filled with anxious uncertainty and they don’t know it.
Life on the Internet
My coronavirus-addled mind finds little relief in the cascade of related posts reflecting the shock, bewilderment and irony of these bizarre times. There are the political posts, the religious posts and the new weird reality posts. I take comfort in those that offer peace and love. I enjoy the occasional comic relief. Reminders of our formerly normal lives are a refreshing change until I reflect upon the loss of any normal for the time being.
My daily foray into the ESPN website takes me down a rabbit hole into a whole other version of outlandish. I routinely feed on scores, standings and unfolding seasons across the sports landscape. No playoffs…no Opening Day…one big horse race in Florida with no one in attendance.
I’m getting no stats from the games, so I go for the pandemic results. How are we doing locally? More cases and the rate of cases is increasing daily now. How are we looking statewide? Deaths are mounting. The national case numbers are now charging in on 200,000 and deaths are over 4000. The graphs are shooting skyward. It’s a good thing anxiety isn’t one of the symptoms or we’d all have to be tested now.
I need to clear my mind, slow down the thought parade, get present and find a little peace in my heart. I sit, start my breathing technique, still unfocused. Thoughts pass through, such as…it’s chilly in here…my legs feel good…the dogs want out, wife’s got it…still anxious…what are my latest odds of dying from the virus…yeah, but I’m very resistant to viruses my whole life…dogs barking, wanting in…wife let the dogs in, but I didn’t hear the door shut…song in my head, I Scare Myself…“I scare myself, and I don’t mean lightly…I scare myself, and it can get frightening”…concentrate…breathing…breathing…feeling peace…bliss…and so it is.
I need to work on my to-do list. I pull it up on my screen. I hadn’t noticed in the last year how long that list is getting. Nearing two full pages, single-spaced for the most part. It’s loosely organized into sections, starting with the oldest tasks and working toward the newest. There are auto repairs, home repairs, book marketing ideas, self-improvement techniques. The last section is the only one I’ve worked recently. There are repeats because I forget I listed them years ago. Hey, I find one that’s done. I’m down to 75 things left to do! I see I’m making progress on some other things.
So many people I communicate with show genuine concern for the basic health of others…there’s a palpable feeling among us all that we’re in this fix together…I see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices…I notice I haven’t heard any complaining from those brave people in the essential businesses who are serving the rest of us…I find hope in our humanity, which always rises to the top in times of crisis.
Most importantly, we need to reach out while we’re sheltering. Phone calls, emails, texts and postings are all good. Even better would be helping those organizations that have a solid history of helping others in need. They will be out there doing what needs to be done. One of those is Project Hope, a 60-year old non-profit that works on the front lines of health challenges around the world. It has earned the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance’s highest ranking. Supporting them and others as we can generates hope in a very real physical sense.
We’ll get through this. Excellent health to you all!