“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King
Every couple of days, I have been reaching out to family and friends just to check-in, say hello, send something funny, make sure they haven’t resorted to eating a family member, the usual.
Yesterday, I called a friend.
Side note: I avoid talking on the phone like it’s COVID-19. My introverted self could probably spend the rest of my life never talking to another living soul beyond those I live with. So calling, means that I am trying, REALLY, REALLY, hard to show up for those I love.
Anyway, I called, because this particular friend doesn’t love to text. She is the social butterfly to my hermit. While I naturally flock to the darkest corner of the room, where I might blend in with the furnishings, carpet, wallpaper….she heads straight to the center and holds court. People fill her up. She possesses every social grace, says all the right things and never once has she held someone hostage talking about dry wall (Me: 2003 at a company function while chatting with the Chief Operations Officer at my then company).
Side note: I don’t even know that much about dry wall, but I apparently knew enough to fill sixty-minutes of conversation….only, I don’t think you can call it “conversation” if you are the only one doing the talking. I think you’d call that, maybe, word assault.
When my friend answered, I could tell right away that she was fuming about something, or maybe chewing on a femur.
“Hey, what’s going on?” I asked. “You know that cannibalism is still frowned upon, right?”
She ignored me, like the true conversation artist that she is, and redirected our chat to saner waters.
“I’m watching my idiot neighbors have a block party,” she said.
“Wait, what?” I responded. “Are you serious?”
“Yep, they’ve got music going, red solo cups in hand, their kids are all wrestling and running around together….pretty sure someone is sparking up a grill.”
“Wow,” I said. “I didn’t realize you moved to a place without televisions, or computers, or newspapers, or Facebook, or….humans….did you relocate to a new planet?”
“Nope, I’m still here, in the burbs, wishing I had the materials to board up my house, because if Zombies are next, these people are for sure going to be among the first and I’m surrounded.”
“Well, I hope they’re the slow zombies, at least.” I said. “Like the one’s from Walking Dead. Not like the one’s in Zombieland. Those bastards are fast.”
“Hang on a second,” she said. Then I could hear her yell, presumably out of a window, “You should Google social distancing! You are all doing it wrong!”
“They are totally going to eat you first.” I said.
Apparently, social distancing is a hard concept for people to grasp. Nearly every day someone posts a photo to my community Facebook page of a packed local basketball court, playground playdates in progress (despite the fact that our town has made it clear, with public notices and signage that these spaces are closed) and a few days ago, a photo of dozens of people congregating and socializing in the parking lot and at the picnic tables of an ice cream stand that just recently reopened for the season.
I don’t blame the ice cream stand though. They are a local, small business and I’m sure, like many, they are trying to stay afloat. But with no ability to manage crowd control and customers who apparently refuse to police themselves, they have now been forced to close since our Governor, and rightfully so, has issued a shelter in place order, effectively closing all businesses that aren’t providing an essential service.
Way to go people! You just tanked a beloved, local, small business.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
And it’s not just my town, or my friends neighborhood. I’ve read that beaches are still packed with people. Spring breakers are partying hard, people are forging ahead with vacation travel plans to popular tourist destinations and in Kentucky, several people apparently attended a Coronavirus themed party.
People. PEOPLE, people.
I don’t know if the issue here is that some just aren’t taking this seriously enough….and/or they assume it’s not enough of a concern to bother with altering daily routines….or they just don’t care….or they truly don’t understand what it means to distance yourself socially and/or to shelter in place.
I would like to assume it’s a simple knowledge gap and not a sign that too many people could give a shit about their fellow humans.
Today, on our community page, an irate townsperson pissed about the expanding closures throughout the state said “So, what….I can’t go for a walk now?”
Yes! You can go for a walk. You can hike and ride your bike, go for a run, take a scenic car ride, but your only choice in company at the moment is yourself, or those you currently live with. And I get it, those people are starting to get on your nerves. But for now, you can’t escape them to be with your “Quads of Fury” walking club.
Socially distancing, means you don’t stop to shoot the shit with your neighbor about the tragedy that is the closing of Dunks and the loss of Touchdown Tommy to the Buccaneers. (Life is wicked hard here in New England right now).
You can go to the grocery store, but you should only go if you really need to. Ideally, you should take advantage of online ordering with curbside pick-up, or home delivery. But if you must go into a store, forego man-handling all the produce. You’ll survive if you don’t get the perfect avocado, or you end up with an apple with a soft spot.
And I know that you might really, really, really want to escape your children, your spouse, your parents, your roommate…and go wander the aisles of a Target, or if you’re like me, a Target and then a Home Depot, or whatever remains open in your area just to catch a break and enjoy a change of scenery. Trust me, I get it. My kid has said, “Mommy” no less than eleventy-billion times today and it’s not even
noon 1:00 2:00 3:00…. I have been trying to write this post for two days now, because I can only get about two-minutes of “free time” at a time.
We are all bored and anxious and annoyed and going a bit stir-crazy. We’re trying to manage jobs, or the loss of a job, while also home schooling and stressing over finances and whether or not we have enough stuff and if it’s time to start rationing TP one square at a time and who the hell we are supposed to be listening to at the moment….world renowned doctors, or the guy who keeps saying, “Fuck it, we’ll be back up and running by Easter.”
I think many are just desperate to find something normal to cling to. But folks, we exited normal a few weeks ago. Life, as we knew it, is a thing of the past, at least for now. We can still see and even have a little bit of the good old days, but we can’t have it all. The longer we fight what we’re being asked to do, the longer it will take to “flatten” the curve and the more we stand to lose.
Come on, people….we can do hard things. ♥