Well this is weird. For the person who stumbles across this column 100 years from now, here’s what’s happening: We’re under a state of emergency because of something called the coronavirus.
Schools, churches, libraries, senior centers are closed, bars and restaurants are closed except for take-out orders; gyms, bowling alleys, theaters and play places are shut down; casinos are dark. Let me repeat that: Dude! the CASINOS are CLOSED! They’re the one public place where people can still smoke, so they kind of have their own rules separate from the rest of the business world … and even they are SHUT DOWN.
So that’s a little freaky.
In addition, all sporting events, concerts, plays and other special attractions – from Main Street, USA, to the national stage – are canceled.
We’re being told to stay home – they call it “social distancing” – in order to “flatten the curve,” to limit the exposure, slow the spread of the virus. It’s like a great, big, scary time-out.
The situation has brought out the best and the worst in people. Grocery shelves are empty as people are stocking up on milk, bread, meat, canned goods, cleaning products and toilet paper.
Some people are grabbing everything they can find, and saying things like, “I’m taking care of me and mine.” Of course, the (usually) unspoken side of that statement is, “And screw you.” And, as we expected, there are people trying to sell some of those things online, and even a few merchants who are price gouging. But some people are buying only what they need for now because, while they are concerned about their own children, they also are concerned about other people’s children.
It’s amazing to see people on social media offering to help others – sometimes people they don’t even know – offering to share a little of what they have or make a market run for the folks who are stuck at home.
This down time has given us all a chance to step back, slow down and re-evaluate. When we’re not constantly being pulled in 12 different directions, we can think, we can breathe, we can get more out of everything because we’re not rushing around or trying to exist in a constant reactive mode. We can live in the moment because we’re not worried about where we have to go or what we have to do next. Our lives are ours to sculpt.
We are cooking more dinners at home. We are going for walks outside. We are finding ways to keep ourselves and our families occupied. We are reading, doing crafts, playing games, tackling some of those home improvement projects – all those things we always say we would do if we had some time.
We don’t know how long this will go on, or how it will change us in the long-run. But right now, a lot of us are enjoying being a family, and a good neighbor, like people used to do when there weren’t so many demands and distractions.
Stay safe, everyone.
Lania Rocha is a staff writer for the View Newspapers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.