Saturday, March 14, 2020

Love in the Days of Covid-19

Day 1: March 13, 2020  - the day of the lighbulb moment
A funny thing happened on the way to the social distancing. As recently as Wednesday, coronavirus and its associated illness was, to me, a very upsetting and worrisome thing that was likely to happen to some other unfortunate people, pretty far away. I didn't consciously think that; if you'd asked me I would have said that of course I was worried, of course I was being vigilant about washing my hands. I wasn't shaking hands anymore, I was trying (and often failing) to stop touching my face. Those are just basic responsible behaviors in the time of Covid-19.

If I dug a little deeper, though, I probably thought that someone else would handle it, someone whose job it was to understand such things. A very Smart Person would know how to keep us safe. Very Smart People kept us safe from Ebola and H1N1 and Avian Flu. Every summer we are threatened with Triple-E, passed by mosquitoes, and every year the disease is outsmarted by these clever folk.

I didn't think I had to actually change anything; surely I didn't have to rearrange my life. The Very Smart People would handle it! My faith in the Very Smart people was strong even as late as Wednesday.

Then I started reading facebook posts from a friend in Italy. The situation there kept getting worse and worse! The government suggested they avoid large gatherings, and then all non-essential public places were shut down! Only grocers and pharmacies could remain open. It sounded crazy and it happened so fast!

I still thought, Well, that's terrible for Italy! But really believed that having their example, the Very Smart People here would now know what to do to keep it away from us.

Many people I have talked to about this have what could be described as a lightbulb moment. I had sort of a lightbulb few hours. Friday morning I was all wash-your-hands-&-live-your-life. The idea that I might have to make uncomfortable changes...well, it hadn't even occurred to me that it might happen. By Friday evening all that had changed. I realized social distancing means everyone - not just kids at universities in corona-hotbed states.

Social distancing means me. It means postponing the pottery tour. It means persuading the studios I teach at to suspend classes. It's gonna suck & I'm gonna have to figure out how to live on no money for a couple of weeks. It's gonna get real uncomfortable, but I have to do it.

So do you. If you haven't had your lightbulb moment, let me push you in that direction. The Very Smart People aren't going to be able to make this pass by barely noticed, like Swine Flu. The Very Smart People are saying, Stay away from other people - that's the only way to save lives.

So I'm gonna do it, and so should you.

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