It’s all too real

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the worldwide virus pandemic has really come home to Charleston.  Stay at home.  All but essential businesses closed.  Restaurants closed.  Tourists gone.  Streets once bustling now empty.

I’ve basically been home the past eight days except for walks in the park and now I hear that’s being closed.  I’ll have to walk around the neighborhood  and use my exercise Stepper.  I may go to the early opening senior hour at Publix next Tuesday. I have plenty to eat, but I miss my fresh fruit such as blueberries and bananas.  I mean, I don’t HAVE to have them.  Is it worth risking my life over? (Again, I  can’t believe iI just wrote that.  Tell me I’m dreaming!). 

Everyday life is getting more and more surreal.  It’s way beyond strange.  As they say, “You can’t make this stuff up.”  I always thought truth was much more interesting than fiction.  Now it’s much stranger than fiction.  In a week our “booming” economy (translation:  booming, through-the-roof stock market and rich getting richer economy) has been changed forever.  The stock market has tanked by a third in one week.  The powers that be are getting very frightened.   There’s massive, instant unemployment.  Schools will be closed possibly for the rest of the school year, though here they’re hoping for a May 1 re-opening until the summer recess.  Bizarre.  Unreal,  but real it is.  Can you imagine modern parents having kids home six months out of the year, maybe longer? Maybe not.  No one knows anything anymore.

What will save us from this pandemic?  Whoever would have thought?? We’re in uncharted territory.  Terra incognito.  Is it the calm before the storm?  Everything’s so eerily quiet when you go outside and walk around.  Even when I go out on the porch at 2am, which I frequently do,  Maybe I should say “calm.”   

A week ago I wrote this to a friend: “I’m feeling a kind of disassociation from the everyday world that is now becoming bits and pieces of memory of how things were.  On the surface things may appear normal, but they really, really aren’t.  I’ve been having my usual strange and inexplicable dreams.  [Maybe now I really should write them down.  Maybe some answers are contained within them].  It’s more lonely and quiet in this house than I thought it would be.”  

Last night thanks to technology I Face-Timed with my sister, brother, brother-in-law and nephew.  It fet good to be connected and see each other when we can’t visit in person.  But this also is strange and unusual.  Why haven’t we done this before.  Is this what it takes?

My brother sent me this quote from a novel and it reaffirmed what I’ve been thinking — they we’re all gong to be changed in some fundamental ways by this experience.  We’re going to learn a lot of lessons.  A new world will dawn (hopefully) and a realization that we’re all in this together.  We all share this one fragile planet.  We need to make significant advances in Inteligence and civilizing behavior.  This pandemic may end up forcing the process whereby we finally become more compassionate, enlightened beings — if we survive, that is.

From a novel about the 1830-1 Polish rebellion against Russia by the French-Irish writer Kathleen O’Meara: 

“And people stayed home…

And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.”


David Kessler says what we are starting to suddenly experience is grief for a way of life that is now lost, temporarily, permanently?  For how long?

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March 27, 2020

It is weird. I would probably venture out more (to get coffee at McDonald’s drive-thru) if my wife didn’t freak out about it so much. I do take it seriously, though. Even though I’m retired, I have a part-time job merchandising. I’m currently taking PTO, again, after my wife’s nagging 😉. But she’s right. It’s a non-essential job and it takes me into three different Walmarts every day. Still, I’ve worked all my life starting at age 11 and it’s hard to do nothing. I’m just outside Augusta, GA, so I’m about three hours away from you. I’ve been to the Spoleto Festival a few times and even sung as a soloist when the choral society I was in gave a concert there. I like Charleston, though we vacation at Hilton Head where we have a timeshare.

March 29, 2020

@solovoice   Thanks for the note.  I haven’t ventured out except to the park to walk and take pictures.  Haven’t been grocery shopping in two weeks.   It’s a glorious Spring here and if it weren’t for the pandemic, life would seem quite mellow and normal on a pretty Spring afternoon in Charleston.

I’d skip any PT work.  Not worth it.

March 28, 2020

It is strange, but I think you will be amazed at how fast we get back to normal when it’s over. Look at 9/11. We were all so filled with fear. People prayed more; they were more introspective and kind and grateful for what they had. Then it went back to normal and it went downhill.

March 29, 2020

@startingover_1  This crisis one it’s much scarier and more long lasting than the trauma on 9/11.  It’s making everyone over a certain age contemplate the worst.  We may  think we’re going back to normal but how on earth could it ever be after this?  Just think about the stories coming out of the hospitals.

March 29, 2020

@oswego  Yes, except that this generation has the attention span of a gerbil. They think they are immortal at that age, that nothing can hurt them. It’s us oldies who learn. Our parents and grandparents probably said the same thing about us. 😂🤣😂🤣

March 29, 2020

@startingover_1  I agree.  I guess we all think we’re immortal when we’re young.  except.  Our attention spans are a little bit better then the kids of today, or they were until the Internet took most of that away.   Now, so many of us older types  are also addicted to our phones, jumping constantly from this that and the other.  🙄🤔

April 6, 2020

I feel for you.  Just as you’ve finally become unshackled and free to travel, the door gets slammed in your face.  Keep the faith.

April 6, 2020

@icarusknew   Thank you, it is terribly ironic.  But strangely, over the years of caregiving I’vebecome such a homebody that I’m content with all I have right here. I’ve got my memories of long ago road trips, though, still quite vivid when I conjure them up.

I hope you are well and safe.

April 6, 2020

Since I had lung cancer surgery March 6 ( just in time to get home to go into lockdown.  thank goodness!  Imagine what would have happened if the surgery would have had to be put off until after the crisis was over!) I’ve been pretty much housebound since then.  But what a feeling of unreality!  All the arrangements just to get a carton of cream!  Neighbor coming to the door & me backing away to make sure there was 6′ between us.  And trying to imagine what the world will be like afterwards …


To paraphrase Tiny Tim … God help us, every one.

April 8, 2020

@ghostdancer   Glad you were able to get the surgery before all this awfulness with the pandemic.  It is indeed a new world out there, a new and surreal one.  Who would ever have thought it would be risky going to get groceries, but I think the world didn’t take heed of past pandemics.  And now look!

It was good to get your note.  Take good care, and I hope your recovery is continuing well.

April 6, 2020

We have been locked in for 2 weeks now.  I have Mother to look after so that is a big part of my day.  It’s difficult not being able to go out at all.  I do shopping on line but often they don’t have the things I’ve ordered.  Impossible to get any type of flour, and frozen or caned veg.

April 8, 2020

@trunorth  I can only imagine how tough it is for you.  I hope you can get out some time to walk.   I haven’t been to he grocery store in three weeks.  I had lots of food on hand.   A lot of beans and rice and peanut butter.  I can manage, but it’s definitely one day at a time.