I received a letter from a former colleague who testified that the corona virus is all a big hoax and a conspiracy conjured by Bill Gates who he claims has profited during this pandemic. This from another (very) rich man. I wrote him back and simply said, “You’re crazy.”
I see daily messages from the leader of my country who proclaims the virus is going to disappear, like magic and who refuses to wear a mask. Ignoring pleas from medical experts, he conducts huge rallies indoors with no social distancing, and of course, no masks, urges states to “open up” and return to business as usual, mocks his competitor for wearing a mask, and all this while the rate of the disease skyrockets. He is not my leader.
It is confounding, and immoral that the this virus has become a source of contention between Republicans and Democrats. I feel lucky to live in New York, in a state where our Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo led our state from having the highest number of cases in the county to at present, the lowest. He did this without politics. He did this to protect his people. He waged the Covid war and won. Now it is the Republicans who won’t wear masks and urge states to hurry and open up. Republican governors are doing just that. It is the states lead by these Republican governors that are drowning in Covid.
I feel safe here in New York until the inevitable happens and people from states where Covid is running rampant come and bring with them the illness against which we fought so hard. We will then have to fight the fight again under the guidance of our very capable governor.
Thus I am proud to call myself a New Yorker. I am ashamed to admit I am American.
Life has not been much different for us during this pandemic. We are solitary souls who enjoy each other’s presence even though we relish our separate spaces in our home. Still, knowing he is in that other room is soothing. We are well suited in that way. I am an only child and grew up in near seclusion and he is deaf, living in a world of near silence. Most of our communication is unspoken. I know embarrassingly little of sign language, and he now has a cochlear implant that doesn’t respond well to voices. (One downside of the pandemic is he has not been able to see the doc for an adjustment). But we manage and have comfort in our distinct yet conjoined worlds.
Despite our cocooning in our cozy little home, I feel strangely merged with the outside world. It is a scary world, but also a hopeful one. Fear comes in the form of the white House and the resident monster that lives there. Hope comes in the form of the hundreds of thousands who have watched a man die unjustly and come forth throughout the nation to protest his death, and that of all black lives who have been handled cruelly based on bias and prejudice.
A time carved out of time. A chasm, deep, but not bottomless.
The landscape is changing. What will it look like when this is over? Will it be ever over?
I tell my students who are sad about missing their graduation to think that they are experiencing something cataclysimic that shall be forever embedded in history, a history about which they can say, “I was there.”
I am one of the lucky ones. I am content with my simple, daily life of reading, writing, and playing with my animals. I am alone with my partner, but instead of a time of tension and separation, we are growing closer. He is our courier and he is happy with that. I am our hearth keeper, and I am happy with that.
Still, we listen to the news, watch our governor’s daily briefs and cheer him on, watch our president’s daily briefs and scoff in disgust, and wonder how it will all turn out in the end.
From jackrabbit quick to the stall of a snail tucked tight in its shell. This is the trajectory of life before and during a pandemic.
I’m not complaining, except when I get a tad bored and the only thing I can think of to do is clean out the linen closet. In truth – this is a once in the existence of humanity to stay secluded and find meaning in the particles of daily life that go unnoticed.
Correction – some of those particles are evident, like the blanket of dust that acts as a wrist-rest when I’m typing at my computer. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Maybe meme is a better word – the memes of daily existence, like:
Really listening to my green cheek conure to determine if she’s mad, sad, hungry, playful or bored.
Taking my little Boston Terrier, Finja, for a daily walk instead of shoving her out in the fenced-in backyard to do her business.
Listening to all the wild birds on our walk and drinking in the luscious smell of fresh earth as it awakens from its winter cast.
Slowly savoring every crumb of the foods we never have time to eat in our “real” world.
Digging out my digital camera and seeing the unseen and making it exquisite.
Sitting still and looking out the window
It appears our ability to live simply is going to last awhile. I will relish it.
Author of Living Well in Froggy's World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud; A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way; and Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal; and Owner of Shenouda Associates Inc., Provider of Technical, Marketing, and Business Communications