I don’t want to write this. I’ve put it off for almost three weeks and I’m forcing myself to sit at the keyboard right now. As writing usually does for me, I find joy in the tactile feeling of punching the keys and feeling like I might be saying something coherent, but what–if anything–is to be said by the likes of me?
The novel coronavirus that began in China ostensibly with a bat that became someone’s meal has stifled everything. It’s silenced the world, killed many, sickened so many others and as I write this, the optimism that exists does so with the possibility of treating it with pre-existing medications that seem to have an effect on slowing the virus down, stopping it from duplicating and then–the hope of a vaccine sometime late this year or early next that will provide a return to normalcy.
I teach from home on my computer. Never has the Internet been so remarkably important. My daughter, a freshman in college two states away, is now home doing distance-learning as well as we hunker down leaving only to obtain necessary groceries and take walks with the dog for exercise. Outside still isn’t the problem. The problem is other people. Transmission comes by droplets from coughs or sneezes. It can also come from doorknobs or packages and other unremarkable things.
Life changed overnight. We are on our knees. Our economy, booming and thriving is mere days or weeks away from recession or even depression. The only work truly being done besides education from a distance–is the supply chain. That’s big, true–but to drive in Los Angeles in the afternoon or morning without traffic is unnerving, otherworldly. Air travel is near to non-existent.
I’m left to document. I have nothing to add, no insights and no grand thoughts. I’m an extrovert and I was deeply concerned that this attempt at social-distancing, keeping away from others not in our household, would be hard, frightening and lonely. I have found the opposite to be true. I’m comfortable with being home with my family. I adapted to a new routine quickly and I didn’t find it difficult. I rather enjoy the technology of teaching over the web, but I admit I miss my classes and I feel for them all–seniors, who aren’t really even going to get a normal graduation this year.
Best case scenario? One of these medications or more has an impact worth repeating hundreds of thousands or even millions of times and public health officials tell us that we can go about our lives with a bit of caution, washing hands, trying to keep a bit of distance–until a vaccine is online. But at least we have a cure should you need one.
Worst case scenario? I’m not capable of writing about it.
I’m left with faith and optimism. Neither are my strong suit, but I am adapting. I have always been a faithful person and my prayer-life is in overdrive these days. I’m not a pessimist, though I lean toward worry. I’ve found this time that worry isn’t a helpful thing at all and so I’m focusing on the former two. We’ll find a way out–as long as it may take, we will. Most who get the virus show no signs or mild to moderate signs. But, the virus is ubiquitous and since it’s new, no one has immunity and so those who get sick get very sick. About 2 percent die. That’s a large number of people, though the fatality rate will come down when we can do more testing and realize how many people actually have or had the virus.
I want more than that–we all do. This time has cemented my firm retirement at the end of next school year. That is the common theme of this post. I remain focused on the future, now. Shannon turned 19 yesterday in the strangest birthday she has ever had–and hopefully will ever have. I’ll turn 55 in June and I’m in hopes that by then, quarantine is lifted. I don’t know what that will look like–but I can imagine it.
So I’ll continue to pray, to hope and to read with ardor the updates that scientists, doctors and researchers are publishing. I’ll continue to reach out to those I love and keep them in my life. If I haven’t contacted you, it isn’t because I don’t think of you. We’re all trying to adapt–it’s new. It’s novel, as is the virus. And like it, we’re still finding our way. Here’s hoping we do–before it does.
Onward. With faith.