A year on from this time last year, some things are so different and some things are hanging on, refusing to change and give us our lives back. One Year Later: I look at old posts from my COVID journal.
May 4, 2020. Apparently it is being suggested that we should be willing to sacrifice our lives for the economy. The NYT reported, “Dan Patrick, Texas’s 70-year-old lieutenant governor, said recently, ‘There are more important things than living, and that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us.’” It reminds me of Animal Farm. Today the US Supreme Court will hear a case via conference call for the first time. Since all the TV personalities are doing shows from their homes, I get to see them in pajamas, with their kids and spouses, and animals. I’ve seen lots of dogs and cats. It’s also interesting to note how well they deal with it, and compare them. Stephen Colbert seems outstandingly relaxed to be doing his show from home. Seth Meyers is not.
May 5. I finally thought of a way I can do something! I am going to put out a special edition of the Cherokee newsletter. I went through our mailing list and found all the Cherokee creators I could find. I emailed them explaining that I wanted to create a bonus issue to keep our community close to each other, and asked for contributions. I really have high hopes that I can get enough to make a full newsletter for May, in addition to the one coming up in June. I took my third online quiz for my archaeology class today. It went the smoothest of all. I’m finally getting the hang of this online school stuff. I have a fun project today to practice typology. I have to gather a collection of things in my house. Tara suggested dragons!!
What a boon it was for me to conceive of a way to help people. It was a gift. You know, I have heard counselors or motivational speakers say things like the best way to get out of depression is to help others. I got to see an example of that because once I began working on the special edition of the newsletter, I felt actual happiness and excitement that was missing from my every day life because of pandemic fears. Our Cherokee newsletter has a mailing list of over 200 people and is one way to connect our dispersed community with ties to the Mt. Hood Cherokee group based in Portland, Oregon. My idea was that while everyone was forced to stay at home, they might like more communication than usual.
May 6. Life is more calm with Tara staying at the house this week. Having another person here helps me to feel more calm, which is an unexpected thing because I didn’t realize I wasn’t calm. I now have something to compromise about, whereas before I was just trying to maintain exactly what I wanted to match my own high standards for myself. Does that make sense? Anyway, the house is a mess, as it always is when Tara comes in and spreads their detritus in every direction, and I’m just letting it go because it feels good to have to accept another person.
With T here I’m not as caught up on the news. But I catch a few stories here and there. Now we have murder hornets (Asian Giant Hornets) coming in from…Japan? Turns out some countries in Africa are actually doing way better than many places because they are so used to epidemics, like HIV/AIDS, malaria, ebola, that their infrastructure is already in place. There’s another lesson the world can learn: have this stuff in place. An interesting study showed that women leaders seem to be doing better with the pandemic than men leaders. Scientists who study such things said women are more likely to lead collaboratively, listen to others, and take advice. That’s the ideal leadership style in a crisis. Kim Jong Un finally showed up after being missing for 3 weeks. Apparently the virus level in meat packing plants is extraordinarily high. There are stories about all these breakdowns in the food supply chain (well all supply chains actually), which is supposed to lead to a food shortage soon. What I’m seeing is not a lack of food, but a lack of distribution. Farmers are pouring milk onto their crops to see if that does anything vs. throw the milk away. Acres of fruits are left rotting on the ground in one place, and people are starving in another place. Many locations are opening up again; Italy, Hong Kong, Georgia. I’m very curious to see how it goes.
Remember all these crazy news stories? Pouring milk on fields? It just sounds devastating. And here I skipped a whole week in my journal. This pattern continued for awhile, as I wrote more often when I was thinking more about the pandemic. This week last year, possibly because Tara was at the house, I had other, better things to think about. 🙂
May 14. I’m noticing small things but I’m sure I’m going to forget it all when it’s over. It is hard to remember all the tiny details and write it down in my journal. Late night show hosts are in casual clothes and goof around and get up and run after the dog. TV peoples’ hair is growing out. The people they interview are SO casual. Robert DiNiro and Cate Blanchett are just hanging out and being very real. Cate brought her daughter in to say hi. I got the sense that at this point it’s just not worth upholding the pretenses, and we the public are being allowed a look in. I wondered if we will go back right away. Will the famous people instantly switch back to austere aloofness and will the audiences switch back to blind hero-worship? Not everyone will. This, what we have right now, is better.
I notice these behaviors in myself. For example, when I went on the cemetery date with Jeff and I didn’t even wear makeup. No makeup on a first date! I have another first date tomorrow with a guy named Dan, and I’m considering pulling my hair back into a ponytail and no makeup again. (although I did pluck my unibrow and OHMYGOD no one told me how hairy my face was. What the heck. I had to mow my nose hairs and trim my moustache and everything.)
Another thing I’m noticing is how everyone interviewed can expect unwanted noises and less than ideal recording conditions. I listen now and voices might go digitally scrambled for a second, and there is no public service announcement saying, “We’re sorry for any inconvenience,” because it’s just yeah…a regular day. A woman was interviewed about the economic implications of the reduction in sectors adding new jobs, and I can hear voices in the background, some banging, and she doesn’t hesitate, and host Kai Ryssdal doesn’t say a thing. It’s because everybody is doing all their work from home. And that introduces real life into our pretense of professional perfection. We’re all expecting and forgiving it.
Masks are slowly becoming normal. I went into Office Depot and 100% of customers and employees were in masks. I complimented one of the employees on her colorful mask and we chatted about masks a little and never said, “Whoah, can you believe everyone’s wearing masks?” …which is something we would have said a month ago. Glasses with masks are SO annoying because they fog up. At first when I wore my mask I felt perpetually on the verge of suffocation. I wasn’t, I was only trying to deal with the sensation of having something over my mouth. I’m absolutely used to it now.
Oooooh, May 14 was a good entry. Look at all those things I remembered to write down. Especially the insight into the private worlds of previously unavailable public figures. The pandemic is an equalizer in multiple ways.