By Bruce A. Smith
I awoke this morning to a couple inches of slushy, white stuff. Yesterday was springtime, but today I’m back in the wet slog of winter – just as the World is Coming to an End, too. Sigh.
My Covid saga has become an existential roller-coaster for me. This is the greatest natural disaster I have ever witnessed. Covid is the most profound event of my life, and promises to change the World-As-We-Know-It.
As a journalist, I feel like I am living in the heart of the biggest story of my lifetime, yet it feels so simple – somehow. It’s snowing outside and that is weird, but not unusual for March. My heat is on, and I feel cozy and healthy. But the Internet is telling me a different story, and the anguish I hear from friends and family in emails reveals that the turbulence of Covid is affecting others greatly.
Nevertheless, last night I couldn’t sleep. This morning, my meditation was thick with intrusive thoughts – I couldn’t stop thinking about what I was going to write here, and I re-played many of the pandemic stories and videos I had viewed over the past days. The tranquility of my early quarantine has now become a kind of slow, mental grind.
Physically, I’m not as active. I feel sluggish and thick. My feet are swelling, an indication to me I need to walk more. But I sure don’t want to go strolling with the slush falling all around me.
Emotionally, I’m depressed at not having money coming in. I feel the gloom of poverty creeping upon on my shoulders. Ug.
But now, I have the time to read Deepak Chopra’s latest book, Meta Human – Unleashing Your Infinite Potential. “Meta” means “beyond,” and his writing seems to reveal to us how we become greater than the traditional confines of humanity. That’s been a goal of mine most of my adult life, and over a thousand psychotherapy sessions and thirty years in Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment are key elements of my journey in that direction.
In fact, I see a silver lining in this dark Covid cloud – that the virus will compel us to new levels of awareness and action. In short, a greater mindfulness that includes a more robust social synergy where we shutter schools and darken Broadway so that everyone has a better chance of surviving.
It is also an opportunity to become masters of the mind-over-body potential. Will Covid require that I finally develop the capacity to heal myself with my mind? Gawd knows I sure tried during three bouts of bronchitis since December. Some days I was successful. Once I was able to curtail a coughing jag by envisioning myself cough-free. I said to myself over and over, “No More Coughing.” It worked. Until it didn’t two days later and I had another epic coughing fit. But I had two days of perfect health, and I cherish that accomplishment.
Back on the home front, I’ve had a few more realizations about the nitty-gritty of quarantine. First, I need to develop a “going to town” wardrobe that I can take off when I return, leaving it outside so I don’t bring any germs into my home. It’s one thing to wash hands and sanitize everything I touch, but what about airborne Covid particles sticking to my jacket? I don’t want to re-infect myself once I’ve come home.
Along those lines, I made a deal with my friend and neighbor Dave that we will check-in with each other when one is going to the grocery store to see if the other needs anything. This way, we will shop for each other and minimize our exposure to bugs in the crowd.
Also, when I was in town yesterday, I spoke briefly to a couple of kids who were ecstatically skipping their way home from school.
“I hear you guys are off from school for six weeks,” I shouted as I drove past them.
“Yeah!!! We don’t have to go back until April 27th,” they yelled back with glee.
But what are their mothers going to do with them during that time? Yee-Gawds, as my Aunt Teddy would say. I tremble thinking of a nation filled with edgy kids running around with excess energy and no place to go.
On a related matter, my friend Ray also emailed me yesterday evening with troubling pictures of the pandemonium at the Winco in Puyallup. Winco is our local mega-discount bulk food store, and panic buying had left the place trashed. Ray had gone there for supplies but had to leave since the check-out lines were so long, the wait was interminable and many shoppers left, abandoning their food-filled carts in the aisle-ways. Ray thoughtfully took a few photos with his iPhone, pictured below.
Frustrated shoppers at Winco on Thursday, in Puyallup.
Abandoned carts show the degree of frustration of shoppers at Winco, and also the real consequences of not preparing for emergencies.
Trashed packaging and shelving abound in Winco after a day of panic-buying
My theatrical director, Stephanie, also emailed me and suggested that I attend rehearsals by Skype, at least for now. I did so two days ago, and after five-minutes of futtsing-around with UCB cords and loose connections I was able to join the festivities. It doesn’t answer how we will work on staging and choreography, let alone performances, but that will be my theatrical connection for the foreseeable future.
Also, my blackjack party company has officially canceled all gigs for the next month. Similarly, my DB Cooper documentary crew has dropped all plans to come to Seattle for filming.
My friend Cate, who lives in Hawaii, reports that everything is fine there, but she’s been following Covid closely. She came upon an analysis of the pandemic that is comprehensive and shows global contagion rates in a way that I found exceptional. It is certainly a call-to-arms to do everything possible now to contain the spread of infection.
Lastly, I see that Trump is declaring a National Emergency, which I champion. I’m sure it will help us in the long haul.
Also, I read that some Chinese billionaire is shipping 50,000 Covid test kits to the US. That’s great, but the reality is, I think, it is best to assume that most folks are already infected or will be soon. Testing would have been great two weeks ago and would have helped tremendously in containing the outbreak, but the feds dropped the ball on that one.
Stay well, everyone.
Snow on apricot blossoms. Not what I expected today, and not what I want for the tree. But at least they’ll have some protection as temperatures go down to 18 degrees tonight. Whew. Photo by BA Smith
My reading for today, along with a pot of coffee. Photo by BAS.