Things I’ve Learned
Random things I’ve learned about living through the COVID-19 outbreak:
- It’s hard to wash my hands for twenty seconds. I’m told that singing “Happy Birthday to You” twice is about 20 seconds, but I haven’t actually tested this. Anyway, I find it hard to make myself wash my hands for that long. It’s much easier to make myself wash my hands twice. It works out the same, but doesn’t go against any long-standing habits.
- Also, the first two verses of the Brady Bunch theme song are around twenty seconds when I sing it.
- Local supermarkets have online ordering with either “deliver to your door” or “deliver to your car” options. No one will actually deliver to our farm, but we tried a $100-ish order at the local Fred Meyer, and it worked out fine. With online ordering, you not only don’t have to enter the store, they don’t even get a chance to touch your credit card.
- Similarly, McDonald’s has curbside service. Their app is really awful until you add the things you actually order to Favorites. Then it’s suddenly good. (Karl, my autistic son, still orders ten Chicken McNuggets, no sauce, a small fries, and a large Diet Coke, no ice, plus straw every single time—and at every opportunity.) Now it’s just a few clicks.
- Lots of people, including most so-called leaders and experts, don’t understand the concept of exponential growth or any of the other basic mechanics of viral infections. Instead, they spin a spinner to decide which kind of bogus black-and-white thinking to apply, then believe it with all their heart. But reality does seep in through the various cracks in their noggins, and everyone seems to be getting clued in over time. A heartbreakingly long time for most of them, they they really are getting there.
Things We’ve Done
And here are some of the things we’ve done:
- I’m taking more walks and otherwise taking health more seriously.
- I put in-person sessions in my (very) part-time hypnosis practice on hold. Skype sessions are still hunky-dory. Not that my downtown office building is crowded, but I’d feel like a big silly if I got sick after not taking this precaution.
- I work from home, but last month I avoided a chance to travel to a meeting at my employer’s headquarters, partly because of coronavirus concerns.
- Karen’s self-employed (she sells used books on Amazon) and all the venues that would be kind of scary (library book sales and such) have all closed anyway, so it’s time to clear out our backlog. Not that we an actually ship anything to Amazon right now: they’ve turned off the spigot for the moment.
- Karen and I canceled all sorts of commitments on our own initiative about 24 hours before they were canceled anyway by new restrictions. But we didn’t know that.
- Hand-washing, using paper towels instead of shared towels to dry hands, wiping down surfaces more often, etc. Not everyone who comes into contact with a coronavirus patient becomes sick; not even close. But simple things to limit the spread within the family are good, especially since people tend to be infectious before they show any symptoms. Unless you have a time machine, it’s best to take steps before there’s any obvious need.
- Taking the outbreak seriously without freaking out. Freaking out is exhausting: I can’t recommend it. Nor is imbecile denial gonna buy you anything but a thick ear.
Time to Panic?
Here’s something weird: people keep talking about “panic.” What panic? Try this scenario on for size: You realize that everyone’s going to be staying home for once instead of being out and about for most of their waking hours. Therefore, you need more food in the house and, after a brief delay, more toilet paper. So you go to the store and make purchases to match your changed circumstances. So does everyone else.
“Panic,” they call it. What a bunch of maroons.
Obviously, the supermarket situation will quickly return to normal. How quickly? Already happening. It’s a problem that solves itself. People concerned about infection aren’t going to make fifty store visits to get everything on their list. They’ll look at their fellow shoppers with a wild surmise and decide that, on second thought, that’s about enough shopping for now.