Sunday, March 15, 2020

In these days of social isolation, should I learn to knit?

I sit here at home wondering about the weeks ahead and what to expect for life to become.  As we all hunker down over the Coronavirus, should I learn how to knit?  Should I be stalking grocery stores as we are down to 18 rolls of toilet paper?  Should I stop going out all together?  Should I consider altering our next trip to Savannah?  What will the next few weeks and months be like? 

I am not as worried personally about the "virus".  I am hopeful as we live a pretty tight knit family life and are not prone to group socials and so we live in a fairly safe place.  I also realize that there is only so much good worrying will do.  I worked most of the last 15 years remotely, so I am confident that as needed I will be productive.

That said, I am worried about us human animals.  We are a social bunch mostly.   Even those of us with introverted tendencies still need an occasional human or two to talk to, commune with and share a laugh and even a touch.  What will it be like to not be able to get to restaurants, stores and just go out and be with other people?  How are the next few weeks, or longer, of social distancing and somewhat isolated lives going to impact society and our mental health.  I should warn you all, as the days get longer as lucky as I am to have Frank and the four-legged kids, I will still be subject to some degree of cabin fever.

Our economy is a consumer-based economy and is built on social places and gatherings.  Whether it is simply going to the grocery store or stopping for a bite to eat on the way home after work our economy and in particular the consumer economy is built on these interactions. Starbucks announced they are not going to have people sitting in their restaurants and they will serve drive-thru, online orders and delivery only.  That means less work in each restaurant and less hours for the baristas employed there.  This is going to repeat itself across the economy and impact the suppliers to these businesses as well.   Our government needs to worry about these workers more than corporations that should have learned in the last decade how to survive a financial crisis.

Living in Longview, TX we have one documented case and Tyler TX about thirty miles away has 3 more.  So even rural east Texas is seeing cases and even churches are canceling services.  What am I and my family doing?  Well, we are trying not to join some of the panic.  As mentioned, I do have a mental count of toilet paper rolls and am confident we will be fine until the stores stock up again.  We are cooking more and are freezing leftovers .  We intend to eat out and be out as much as we can understanding the businesses need us more than ever.  I wash my hands longer and am more concerned about people around me.  I am not judging those who may seem more excitable as we all respond to our own comfort and many have other health issues and stress at home.  

We had family movie night last night at home.  I cooked homemade lasagna made with Frank's homemade pasta.   The movie chosen was "Judy" and Renee Zellweger certainly deserved the Oscar.  She carried the whole movie on her talented shoulders and to take on a role of such an Icon is difficult especially having to sing as one of the greatest singers of the last century.  So, instead of going out to movies we will do more of these nights at home.

Today we went for a hike around the lake, and all I could think of, is this the new norm for a while?  Less people, less traffic and trying to keep life engaging while we all stay safe and healthy. Time to look into some online classes, maybe learn to knit and new skills for a more confident future post pandemic.

I have been through a hurricane or two, an earthquake and even 9/11 where the concerns were what comes next, but this feels the least certain of what the future will be.   If the isolation and social distancing works, we will be much better off, and I can only imagine the parties and the rush to rejoin our own social existence once we have made it past this pandemic.

May you all stay safe, find joy in family and friends and enjoy the life of today!

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