Wednesday, March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Diary - Life During Wartime

We're all thinking about and talking about the Coronavirus. We can't help it.

On top of the worry about the virus, we're watching our economy come apart at the seams as people are forced to stay home and not work. Restaurants and bars are closed or are only serving food via delivery and carry out. Many states have banned large gatherings. Houses of worship are closed. Shows and concerts are canceled. Tradeshows, conventions, and conferences aren't happening. Schools are shuttered. Colleges and universities are closed for the year. People are told to not travel. Most stores are closed. Casinos across the country have shut down. College and professional sports seasons aren't happening or are postponed.

March Madness did not happen. The 2020 Summer Olympics have been postponed until 2021.

These are hard times.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I still have my full-time job and continue to work from home the same as I have since 2014. Our entire staff team is now working from home which requires some adjustment for those who are used to working in the office at least three days a week.

To combat that isolation some are feeling, we're doing creative things like having a virtual happy hour every Thursday. We all log in to Skype for Business, fire up our webcams and cut loose. I mean, cut loose as much as one should in a work environment. We're a pretty careful bunch.

From many conversations, I'm learning that I am not alone in what I thought were my weird and over-the-top concerns and newly-acquired habits.

We wonder how to handle the mail deliveries. Spray it with Lysol? Let it sit for 24 hours before handling?

We have detailed conversations about how long this sticky virus lasts on surfaces. We Google for answers.

We tell tales of madness involving bags full of takeout food, what amounts to a decontamination procedure with clean dishes, hand sanitizer, and a group effort to not bring potentially virus spreading Burger King bags into one's home.

The dirty hands/clean hands swap.

We whisper about wearing latex gloves in public.

The pushing of Clorox wipes onto loved ones and strangers.

A dog who got a bath because a neighbor petted it right after returning from a trip.

It's only been two weeks.

On the flip side, this struggle is also showing us some extraordinary acts of kindness. People are pulling together while keeping their physical distance. Social media is full of stories about people pitching in, helping out, and doing good.

I had my own taste of that last night when I walked into my parents' house to find that they were Facetiming with all three of my children. My kids never had the chance to live near their grandparents so this was especially touching.

My dad marveled at the fact that they were right there - dialed in from New Hampshire, Georgia, and from across Highway 56. Mom and Dad can see the roof of Nate's house from their front windows, a fact that still rocks me back in wonder. Who would have ever guessed that would happen?

My grandson Samson gained control of his mom's phone at one point. He displayed his new phrase "night night." Chloe turned into a frog, a mouse, a giraffe, a monkey, a rabbit, and a chicken.

"And she's the educated one," Dad said.


Be well. Stay home if you can and especially if you're sick. Wash your hands. Tell someone you love them.

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