Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Short Thought #267 (yegads!)

I heard on TV that because of less people out & about in NYC, resulting in fewer available food scraps, there’d been reports of “unusual and aggressive rodent behavior.”

Although I doubt it’s all so funny to actually encounter vicious rats, the phrasing reminded me of “Rodents of Unusual Size” from The Princess Bride.😲

Race & politics in 2020: followup on my last post

In my last post I re-blogged a post from 3.5 years ago, written on the precipice of Trump’s inauguration. I talked about how divided we were as a country. But it wasn’t just politics but race that I brought into my discussion. I said that “an American is somebody whose ancestors floated over on the Mayflower and an American is somebody who had their naturalization ceremony last week and an American is somebody whose ancestors arrived in the hull of slave ships.” No wonder we have such of a time of being – and staying – a United people. I know we’re supposed to be in the land of the free and the home of the brave but are we free and brave? Fear seems to drive much of modern life and clearly many people don’t feel free, with the abundance of poverty across the country and the “opportunities” not being spread equally. How free does the average dark-skinned person or an immigrant with an accent feel? How free are the people living in the rural Appalachian region or on impoverished Indian reservations in the West or on the streets of our big cities?

I wrote that Americans tend to come together when we have a common enemy. When that happens for the most part people stop fighting with each other long enough to direct energies toward the intruder. I said this happened with the world wars and again after Sept 11, 2001. I daresay it happened again this year with the Coronavirus. Right out of the gate there was a “We’re all in this together” sentiment. It didn’t last long.

On the eve of the 2008 election I said to someone that I would be so proud of this country if it elected Obama. It gave me such hope that our young country was growing up and evolving, that the rampant racism in America was, if not disappearing, at least dissipating. I was not naive enough to share in widespread jubilation that was in the air in the early months of Obama’s presidency because I knew it was a honeymoon period and backlash was coming. I was right; it just came faster than I expected. One man can not make everything perfect for everybody.

That backlash continued right on through Trump’s election. I still don’t know how a country that elected Obama could be the same one that elected Trump. But the divisions among us clearly run deeper than is typically evident on a daily basis when the country turns much of its attention to the latest celebrity scandal or Apple product or winning sports team.

It was a celebrity scandal in 1995 that prompted the post I re-blogged. In the process of our country being riveted by the O.J. Simpson trial, the depth of the racial divide that still persisted was exposed. Black Americans as a group had no trouble believing police planted evidence in an effort to convict a black man, even a very famous one. Whites as a group, I among them, thought that was improbable if not preposterous.

In my 2017 post I noted that it would take something dramatic and almost certainly negative – whether I liked it or not – to bring this country together. I think that’s happened, first with the Coronavirus, and then in the murder of George Floyd. White people have been shocked out of complacency: WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY WHERE A WHITE POLICE OFFICER WITH A NONCHALANT ALMOST SMUG EXPRESSION CAN SLOWLY MURDER A BLACK MAN ACCUSED OF A MINOR CRIME WHO IS BEGGING FOR HIS LIFE IN FRONT OF MULTIPLE BYSTANDERS WHO ARE FILMING AND PLEADING WITH THE OFFICERS TO STOP TO NO AVAIL?!?!????

I am wonderfully heartened by the swaths of Americans coming forward, speaking, marching, protesting, and calling for change. Hope comes in the shape of youth. But I am disheartened still by how many young people are full of hate. We have too many with twisted agendas who want to turn time and progress back, be they KKK members, nazi sympathizers, or generic home grown terrorists stockpiling guns and homemade bombs in their parents’ garages. Clearly something is wrong that we have no shortage of them.

Politically, the extreme ends are digging in their heels as our 2020 election looms. To be clear, for some time now I have felt that a reasonably life-like mannequin would make a better president. I am not excited about Biden but frankly, a bland President who doesn’t appear unstable is just fine at this point. Will it happen? I’m no political analyst but it’ll probably take a combination of a) enough Trump supporters becoming disillusioned and b) getting people who don’t usually vote, who don’t think voting matters, to actually do it. (My prediction: Biden will win by a slim margin and Trump will demand appeals, probes, re-counts, and inquiries the likes of which we have never seen. It will be ugly as hell and drag on for months if not years.)

Unfortunately there isn’t anyone on the horizon who can unite us all, not at this point. Maybe unity isn’t going to come from the top down, maybe the groundswell in the ranks is a better source. Seeing Americans marching by the thousands in the streets makes me prouder and feel more American than any politician does. We live in a place we’re allowed to do this, where we can speak out, and that above all else, is our strength.

I once read that legislation must change before people’s attitudes do. I’m sure plenty of people were against abolishing slavery, against women’s right to vote, and against child labor laws, to name a few. Over decades people accepted all of these as the norm. We’ll get there. Maybe not in my lifetime.

Open space for one

On an unpleasantly humid but breezy day recently I spontaneously wandered into the middle of this ball field and stood. I was craving being alone outdoors in one spot if only for a little while. I had it to myself. The weather was too putrid to draw many people outside and I didn’t need to worry about anybody walking up on me unexpectedly in this wide open space.
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Colette in Quarantine…still

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When the public library closed mid March, I vaguely thought it would be closed a few weeks. Nobody said that or gave any time frame. At that point local leaders were getting out ahead of the virus. My governor in particular wasn’t fooling around; there was no sugar-coating as to what was almost inevitably coming.

I personally took the position that if the virus wasn’t already in my community –Β  it was too early to know for sure – it would be. I was highly motivated to not risk getting sick so I haven’t been in a store or used public transit or been near anybody when I’m outdoors since then.

In March I saw an Italian woman on TV trying to warn us, saying Americans didn’t know what was coming. Amidst all the news, something about her warning was especially chilling. And clearly prescient.

It was indeed coming. I know parts of the country are “opening up” but not where I am. My county has the highest number of cases in the state; currently, the coronavirus is the #1 cause of death. I’m not sure why it’s been so bad here; I can speculate and I’m sure others are too but I wonder if anybody will ever be able to say with certainty.

In mid March I wrote here that I didn’t think it was healthy to be obsessed. I still agree with myself despite having went and gotten obsessed at least for awhile.😐

For several weeks I watched a lot of news and TV related to the virus; I felt a obligation. I also sort of felt like I was waiting for something. For what? I wasn’t sure. Information? Instructions? Pertinent updates? Whatever it was, it didn’t come. I realized it wasn’t ever coming.

I needed a break. I don’t think there’s a lot of virtue in vicarious suffering (which differs from empathy or caring). That said, my little job was to stay home, stay out of the way, AND to come out on “the other side” of this physically and mentally sound. This is a marathon not a sprint and marathons require pacing.

Everyone has been pushed to call on their coping skills, whatever they may be. If there’s a time to find out whether you’ve learned any useful coping skills in this life, I guess this is it. The party is you and your personal resources, tangible and otherwise.

Six feet? I don’t want anybody within ten or twelve feet of me. (I’m going to be plenty annoyed if I do everything right for 6 or 8 or 12 plus weeks only to have some oblivious or selfish clod get too close to me and make me sick. I am just saying.😐)

I like to be home. Yes, still. I WILL say that the first long post I wrote on the coronavirus was a tad premature when I talked about avoiding squalor at home. I am still holding squalor at bay but doing it for months is a bit more challenging than mere weeks. Having my personal environment in good shape is always important to me and it’s been that much more so now.

I don’t have anything GRAND to show for my quarantine. But I don’t want to be too hard on myself.Β Time in and of itself isn’t the sole key to accomplishing things.

People have been irritating me, I admit it but I have “stayed in my lane”. I have not argued with anyone about any aspect of the pandemic either in person or on line. I don’t see the point. Doing so would hurt me and I don’t expect to influence anyone else’s opinions.

I cry every time they show a recovered coronavirus patient being wheeled out of a hospital while the staff cheers. Prior to this I cried any time I saw the people in Italy and New York making noise from their balconies. Show me a grandmother or grandfather on their front steps or inside a nursing home while their relatives greet them or serenade them or whatever from a safe distance, and I will choke up.

There has been much that is aggravating and much that is touching.

I am okay. Not clicking my heels together but okay. It is hard to find the right words for some of my feelings because this is unlike anything I’ve known as is true for almost all of us. How do you describe something so huge and simultaneously so unfamiliar? I have existential angst about it all. I want to know what it means – beyond pandemics happen and lots of people get sick and die – but I don’t think there’s an answer, not one I’d find satisfying.