In early March, around when the Coronavirus made its entrance into this country, it was not a thing in my mind. I went to Florida as planned on a three-week, work-play trip on March 11; I was to stay with my brother Jeff and my sister-in-law, Wendy, in Vero.
The first week, we watched the news quite a bit, but, again, COVID-19, did not feel real to us. There were no cases in Florida back then. I felt safe, actually. Sheltered. Like we “got away.”
We went to the beach. We played cards at night. We even went to a restaurant for dinner after restaurants in Florida were shut down to 50 percent capacity. We went to an outdoor, hotel beach bar, too.
When Jacques and I flew home on JetBlue, we were literally the only two people on the whole plane. Still, there were many things we did not know or understand, even then, among them that we are not safe, and we cannot get away.
I have grown a healthy respect for the virus and its fury, as well as good doses of fear I keep in check with hope.
Professionally, both of my brothers, restaurant owners, and I, a solopreneur—and the majority of my clients, and hundreds of people we know and love and hundreds of thousands we don’t know—are taking an enormous economic hit.
And I’m guessing things will get much worse before they get better.
Personally, the virus has also been devastating. I cut my trip a week short, as my pregnant daughter was in the hospital in the throes of a health crisis; she gave birth to my granddaughter Phoibe Mae DeJesus on March 29, 12 weeks early.
How tragic that, after her husband left her at Baystate, he could not return. I could not visit her either; no visitors allowed at either of the hospitals she was a patient at. I could not even take care of her son, my grandson, because I was self-quarantining with Jacques at home.
On Wednesday, I can see Eli and Sally again. It will be weeks before I meet wee Phoibe, and while we wait for her to come home, Sally and Tommy cannot visit her together—only one at a time.
How absolutely surreal. All of it.
I hope you all are safe and not living in fear or the virus or the fallout.
Many of us are finding ways to cope. Jacques and I are working out a lot together each morning—hiking, doing bootcamp workouts, running, walking, rowing, and doing a 30-day yoga challenge, too. We are cooking, enjoying meals, spending lots of time on the phone with our mothers and children and siblings, and we’re binge watching Netflix. I am working as needed. I hope to do more creative writing as well.
I wonder what we all are learning from the experience?
I would be lying if I said I knew whether I was learning anything.
Before I read this article, “The Coronation” by Charles Eisenstein, I was beginning to form the inklings of thoughts similar to his, though.
The summary of Eisenstein’s essay is this, in his own words,: “Covid-19 is like a rehab intervention that breaks the addictive hold of normality. To interrupt a habit is to make it visible; it is to turn it from a compulsion to a choice. When the crisis subsides, we might have occasion to ask whether we want to return to normal, or whether there might be something we’ve seen during this break in the routines that we want to bring into the future.”
My wonderings are along those lines. Are we creating a new normal? Might we lose our grip on entitlement?
What will we decide we can do differently, when we can once again do what we want? Might more people choose—and be allowed—to telecommute, to bring more peace, less traffic, less hardship on the planet?
Who might we become as Americans as a result of COVID-19?
How long will it take us to get there?
What are you all wondering?
How are you coping?
I’d love to have you chime in here.
I want us to all, really, be all together in this.