When I was a kid I was scared shitless during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I know, it first crawled into the United States as early as 1960. But it was a big fucking deal when I was a kid in the 80s. People were afraid to touch each other or things an AIDS “victim” touched. Or be near anyone they suspect had it. Discrimination against Gay men was as high as a kite, even though the virus itself was no judge of character. I was once convinced I’d contract it somehow because the JW’s version of god had it out for me personally.
Well here I am, at almost forty-three, and although I’ve made some risky decisions in my life, I only have DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) to complain about…and my popping knees.
What’s it matter, beck?
The same mass hysteria is trending due to the rampant spreading of COVID-19. No way am I comparing viruses–I’m not an Epidemiologist. I know jack-shit. But the behavior–especially what’s depicted via the medias: social, online and televised–is eerily similar: social distancing, hoarding, over purchasing, consumerism is through the roof right now. And…yeah…I know, we are to isolate ourselves, and take the proper precautions. I get it and I am, all while using common sense, which luckily hasn’t dissipated with age.
I’m just afraid that what’s left of love, compassion, understanding and goodwill toward man (woman, trans…everyone) will vanish into thin air like the alcohol in your hand sanitizer. Speaking of hand sanitizer, it’s effective, yes, but not as effective as good ol’ soap and water; and the soap doesn’t even need to be antibacterial. That scientific bit I do know and heard it straight from a Micro Biologist’s mouth. I’m an Interpreter. I hear things. I know things.
There’s no hand sanitizer in my house and there’s also no toilet paper. And I’m ok with that. Why?
Pahoa to the rescue
In 2014, my husband and I stayed at an eco-hostel for two weeks. Our tent was in the middle of the jungle in Pahoa, on the Big Island. We were surrounded by lush trees, guava, wild hogs and massive wild donkeys. We shared a bathroom and shower with the eight-to-ten other people and there was a bidet hose attached to the toilet (which was outside). I’d never used one before but fell in love instantly. No, not because it tickled. But because it felt cleaner; it was environmentally friendly. And shit, if the French have been doing it since the 1700s, why not?
When we returned home, after two weeks in Pahoa, we went to Home Depot and purchased a bidet hose. Hubbyface hooked it up to our toilet, we assigned certain colored hand towels to ourselves to dab excess water away, and we’ve been doing that since 2014. What I learned most on that trip was the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the human race. I believe many of us carry that. We just don’t seem to use it much with modern conveniences, consumerism being a top priority, and all that our society has intrinsically embedded into our character.
What I’ve seen in the past week or so, on all media platforms, is panic around not only the virus itself but the effects on the market and an impending recession. While these are valid concerns, I also recognize that what happens is out of my control.
I have lost work because of this. Quite literally. I work at a University and they’re moving things online, closing for two weeks after Spring Break. No need for a hand flapper at the front of the room if the recorded classes will be captioned (which doesn’t suit every Deaf/HoH person but that’s a whole other topic). Fortunately, I have a contingency plan in my contract and thanks to some time spent on a ranch in California, I’ve been practicing (not yet mastering) an abundance mindset over a scarcity mindset. This experience has been an opportunity for me to practice this level of beingness.
The initial shock of losing work did hit briefly. I’m an IC, which is risky in and of itself. Then I remembered, ‘freaking out won’t do any good. Beck, just remember there is plenty of work out there and things will even out eventually. You don’t need to hoard upcoming assignments; there is plenty of work for all NH freelance Interpreters.’ And if I’m to be out of work for the next three weeks and quarantined to my home, I decided: I’m an INFJ, it’s really ok. I’ll write. Read. Update my resume. Take a peek around and make what adjustments I can. I’ll make due.
To soothe any mammories that may be in a kerfuffle regarding media hysteria, here’s a photo of my friend, Jeremy, in line for groceries. He’s the handsome guy in the black jacket, glasses, shorts and on-point-beard. This was taken when he lived in Houston and people were preparing for Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The same photo is being used for COVID-19 news coverage in San Francisco in 2020. Do with that bit of information what you will.
Shopping for mom and dad
As many of you know, I don’t spend much time with my parents due to our religious/spiritual differences. I know they would if they felt they could. It didn’t stop me from texting my mother to ask if there was anything she and Dad needed during this whole COVID-19-lockdown-situation. She said, ‘yes; if you don’t mind.’
Instead of fretting over my current unemployment at the University, and the fact Hubbyhead and I lost money from cancelling a trip scheduled for Spring Break (this week), I said, ‘Of course, what do you need?’ I hoped she wasn’t going to say toilet paper because I would have gone to Home Depot and had Hubby install a bidet hose instead. Thankfully, they didn’t need that. They simply didn’t want to leave the house because…well…they’re senior citizens now.
While delivering their groceries, we weren’t asked in. Which I expected because that’s the way of the JW beast. Also my father has a bit of a cold, and we’d been to the store…touching things. I could still harbor intense anger toward them if I wanted to for cutting me out of their life, taking away family vacations, their absence from both my weddings, Sunday dinners and random coffee dates but it’s exhausting.
I’m choosing to only make time for the good that I can, while they let me. Besides, my disgust is directed at their heartless, amoral puppeteers, not them.
the compassion part
People at the grocery store were actually pretty friendly–not displaying the panic mode I expected from what’s been on the news and social media. There seemed to be enough on the shelves for everyone; excluding hand soap, sanitizer and toilet paper. Even though I wasn’t out for those things, I did notice their absence.
During this national emergency, there is only love, care, compassion and goodwill. Check on your neighbors, try to smile while grocery shopping and if you are conducting business, try and make it local. Continue to be kind and for the love of Pete, sane during this whole virus debacle.
I have faith that this too shall pass…eventually. And when it does people will remember the kindness, concern, long-distance smiles, and the clean hand waves. Hopefully they’ll forget the panic, fear and Black Friday feel.
Take care of each other.