Letters from the Quarantine #4
April 13, 2020
This is the fourth week of the quarantine for us and twenty-three days since the shelter in place mandate was made for Dallas county. We are heading toward the end of April and the possibility of a reprieve from deciding whether it will be toaster waffles today or toaster bagels. In either case, fire up the toaster. Fortunately for me, Melody is an excellent cook, and we use the toaster for a change of pace.
Face to Face with Uncertainty
One of the greatest challenges of the pandemic is the uncertainty of what will happen next. We hear the daily briefings from Governor Cuomo and the various output from the White House and the president’s pandemic team. The one constant is that no one from Dr. Fauci on down can make a prediction that is more than a guess. Given the huge number of variables in this situation, that is understandable. Sometimes there is hope, the light at the end of the tunnel; and sometimes not, the vaccine we must have is over a year away. We are whipsawed back and forth, from doom to donuts.
But where does that leave us? How do we plan for the next phase of this bizarre world in which we are living? Melody and I find that we vary from day to day with good feelings or bad feelings about the way things are going. The now-famous reported infection curve is beginning to flatten. But how fast? And will it be sustained, or will there be a sudden surge in infection? The answers change every day. I believe that is why replaying the entire six seasons of Schitt’s Creek gives us some solace. At least we know there is a happy conclusion for Daniel and Patrick.
Facts, Some Bizarre and Some Only Now Realized
Nevertheless, this uncertainty is demoralizing and debilitating. But how do we counter that in a situation where we have so little control over the factors that control our fate? I believe it is counter-productive to spend time worrying about the future. It is unknowable and that’s a fact.
What we are currently experiencing in our quarantined, delimited living situation is a fact. It is also true that strange things are happening during this time. We are finally beginning to fully realize that people like those who drive the trucks and serve our food in restaurants are really essential. We have also learned that, according to the governor of Florida, professional wrestling is an essential occupation. Could things be any more bizarre?
How do we Handle it?
Our best choice is to live in the moment. Be mindful of all the small things that we do that help us keep our minds and bodies engaged. Taking out the trash, cleaning the kitchen, speaking on the phone with friends, all make a difference and deserve our total attention. When it’s time for bed, make it a ritual. Pay attention to being tired and relax–I mean, really relax.
How to Really Relax
Do it mindfully with muscle groups from head to toe. Watch your breathing. We don’t do that enough. Inhale from the stomach through the nose and exhale through the mouth until your lungs are empty. Turn off the tv and listen to something soothing, music or the sounds of surf or gentle rain. Most of us can find these sounds on our cell phones.
The Long View: We are Sharing a Universal Experience
Sometimes it helps to take the long view and realize that we are living the history of a global pandemic in the making. Consider that every day that we share a collective, universal experience that, once this passes–and it will–we will all be more connected and united than ever before because of it.
The truth of life is in the living, not the gradually dying.
Stay safe and sane;
Be the light.
April 13, 2020
|About this photo: las vegas breakfast. so yummy. April 20, 2017. by Kbigler19. Used by Common License. Wikimedia.org. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Breakfast_food.jpg|
|About this photo: A Lōdal Evo T-28 waste collection truck operated by Recology in San Francisco, California, USA. This vehicle is a side-loading compacting waste collection truck. Waste is loaded into the hopper located in the middle of the vehicle, which is then compressed into the body by a hydraulic ram. Photo by y Dllu, Jan. 14, 2018. Used by Common License. Wikimedia.org. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Recology_Lodal_Garbage_Truck_14425_in_San_Francisco.jpg|
Fred wanted me to post this for him.
Fred Zuker has written letters telling what it is like to shelter in place as protection from covid-19.
Naturally, I edited it a bit to suit my style of blogging. Headings are mine, as is the repositioning of the inspirational quote. The photo of Fred is also in his book Grace with Meals that tells the story of his experience with cancer.~~Valerie
More Helter Shelter Letters:
Search the blog categories zuker and/or essays>>covid-19 quarantine. (Yeah, I know this is shelter in place, but I chose to leave open the option for an essay on quarantine.~~Valerie)