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Thoughts at the Dawn of a Pandemic

Random thoughts at the Dawn of a Pandemic (March, 2020):

  • Without realizing the topic, I picked up a copy of Station Eleven ten days ago, started reading, and discovered it is about a flu virus that wipes out 99% of the earth’s population.
  • I’m not sure if this coincidence is a good thing or a bad thing.
  • Why it might be a bad thing: I’ve had it with watching televised news about Covid-19. I don’t think it’s alarmist, but I do think it’s depressing. Reading this book isn’t helping.
  • Until now, I little realized how much I used televised sports as an escapist pastime. I’m not a big TV show or movie buff, so when I watch the tube, it’s usually to enjoy basketball, baseball, or football. Who would’ve ever believed the plug would be pulled on all of it?
  • Silver lining: More time for reading and writing!
  • I wondered if the Covid-Effect would manifest itself on Submittable. Would all the closures and staying indoors mean a faster response from editors reading writers’ work?
  • In a word: No.
  • Though I live in a state with only three recorded cases of the coronavirus, I’m not kidding myself. The lack of tests (way to go, self-proclaimed “greatest country on earth”!) simply means it’s here in bigger numbers that are just not diagnosed yet. Like inconvenient ghosts, maybe.
  • Speaking of depressing, I was at the grocery store yesterday.
  • Bare shelving space report: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol & aloe gel (used for homemade sanitizer), thermometers, water, flour, sugar.
  • Apparently the cure for Covid-19 is to eat lots of homemade bread and cookies, then take War & Peace into the bathroom for a stretch before washing your hands through two rounds of “Happy Birthday.”
  • And what’s with the bottled water panic? Does Covid-19 take away our power? Shut down our wells? Maybe I need to read more of Station Eleven to understand.
  • Nothing has exposed Trump and his cronies like this virus. Covid-19 is completely impervious to his penchant for bending the truth and gas lighting. Ditto to his advisers on Fox News, some of whom remain adamant that this is “just a cold” and “another attempt to impeach the president.”
  • Sorry, but the president is impeaching himself.
  • And while we’re at it, can we stop blaming other countries for all of this? Holding your leaders accountable for measures (or lack thereof) taken is legitimate. Demonizing other nations is decidedly not.
  • Yesterday someone told me how the closure of public events, the social distancing, and the panic buying are “already getting old.” What? In less than a week? This could last for months or even a year!
  • Silver lining: Obsessive compulsive hand cleaning protects you from garden-variety colds and flus, too.
  • How to make the pandemic work for you: Take on a big goal you can do from home. One you’ve been putting off forever, like reading William Wordsworth’s Preludes or Lucy Ellman’s seemingly endless Ducks, Newburyport.
  • As for your excuse for not writing (“I’m busy!”), it’s looking increasingly lame these days.
  • Covid-19 does not like the great outdoors. The enemy of your enemy is your friend.
  • Meaning: If you don’t have a dog, walk yourself every day.
  • Except during rain, I’ve been walking the beach every morning. There’s something comforting about the eternal sea. It never changes no matter what is going on around you. And its sounds and smells send you back to when you were a kid.
  • Unless you’re from Iowa.
  • Advice: If you’re one of the panic buyers who bought a truckload of toilet paper and canned soup, offer your elderly neighbors some (especially if they finally made it to the store and found nothing but bare shelves).
  • Add an “e” to human, humans, and be humane to each other during these difficult times. We get through hardships better together. Every man for himself only makes a bad situation worse.
  • Happy weekend, and remember the words of the prophet: “This, too, shall pass.”
  • I hope.