Social Distancing, the New Normal
No Rant, Just Encouragement
I realize a lot of people are writing and talking about the new normal of social distancing, sheltering in place, wearing masks, stay 6 feet away, closing non-essential businesses, school online, work from home, drive-by communion, home church online, and Zoom meetings. It has become a new world where bears and coyotes are free to roam the once busy streets and where lions can lounge on the pavement. The whole world is staying home or protesting staying home.
Rather than being one more voice pro or con, I would like to share my reality and realizations that this too will pass. Just be patient and think positively. Instead of being a negative screaming harpy, I’d like to help and be an encouraging voice in the sea of skepticism.
When I was a teenager back in the early ’70s, we thought that gas masks may be a necessary thing in the future because of air pollution. How prophetic we were. So now we all need to wear masks out of the house and keep our distance from family and friends as well as strangers. For a natural hugger like me, that is agony. But it won’t last long. I’d rather refrain and have my elderly mother still available to hug when this is all over.
Many people have put patterns for masks on the Internet for free so I will not duplicate their work. Here are a few links to find one. If you do not sew, there are ways you can fold bandanas to create your own mask or even paper towels if you care to try it.
Do You Hate It
Like so many others, I am faithfully wearing my home-sewn mask. Why do I hate wearing this mask so much? I know I’m keeping my community and myself somewhat safer by wearing it, but I hate it. The reason I hate it so much is probably the same reason I hated wearing glasses as a girl. They hurt my nose and ears. These masks make my face hot and irritate behind the ears. I don’t really need more hot flashes than I have normally. It feels like, after this, normal will never quite be normal again. The threat and fear may linger in dark shadows from now on, to jump out at us when we least expect it. What must it be like for the children grown up with this lingering threat? People are writing children’s books trying to explain a thing like an unseen killer virus to children.
How are you feeling during the "shelter in place" quarantine?
Drive Through Food Distribution
The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.— Dalai Lama
Longing For Light
I went to stand in line at a food distribution center where a local church was facilitating the distribution of USDA commodities. The lines were longer than usual for two reasons: first, because we all had to stand 6 feet apart and, second, because more people are out of work than ever. I usually see a large number of seniors on a fixed income (like me) in these lines, but now there are all ages and all income brackets represented looking for free food. I like to take my folding chair with me because the wait is 2 hours before I get to the front of the line.
For me to sit in the fresh air, gaze at the blue sky and the ecstasy of the spring breeze caressing my face is a welcome change to sheltering in the tomb of my apartment. With only 3 windows, all facing due west, it is a dark dungeon sentence most of the time. I often feel like I could grow mushrooms from my armpits day after day. To add to the misery, my husband’s medication makes his eyes light-sensitive, so he keeps the blinds closed most of the day. Is it any wonder, I long for a walk in the sun, to feel the air and enjoy the sky?
It isn’t exactly fresh air since my face is covered but it is cooler air than in my apartment. My husband gets chilled easily and likes to keep the thermostat up to 78 degrees. That is too hot for my liking but what can I do? I live with it because I love him.
Retired vs Unemployed
I realize my situation is not as difficult at those thousands who are now out of work and wondering how they will pay their rent and feed their families. My husband and I are on a fixed income and have never had much but so far that little isn’t threatened like so many others who are fearful of the future. In my little way, I have tried to be a comfort and an encouragement to my neighbors.
About day 10 of our shelter in place, I wrote a note with my address and phone number, printed it, and put it in a Ziploc bag along with one of my homemade masks, some vinyl gloves, and some homemade cookies. I took these and hung them from the doorknobs of my closest neighbors. Some I never heard from but others were touched by the gesture and texted me their names and numbers. We are communicating and here for each other. I told them that if they needed anything to let me know. It’s always possible I have a cup of sugar or an egg they may need, a pet sitter, or someone to receive a postal delivery, and vise versa. We are in this together and if we treat each other with kindness we will be better assured of kindness in return.
It is now day 67 of shelter in place and I'm preparing another ding-dong-ditch package for the neighbors. It brings a smile to my face to think I may be bringing a smile to their faces. With communities discussing reopening and lifting the shelter in place, it is important to continue showing kindness and consideration to our neighbors and community.
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.— Amelia Earhart
The simplest gesture may prove to be just what a depressed neighbor may need. Consider leaving a note and see where it goes. You may not hear from them, but then again, you may be making a lifelong friend.