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Gimme Shelter

March 23rd, 2020 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Health | Personal

Last night I wanted to make macaroni and cheese, so I went to the pantry and found that we didn’t have any macaroni.

It was a simple moment when the fact that we’re dealing with something like no one has ever seen before became clearer. Because we can’t just run out and buy some macaroni, it has to be a decision that gets made now. Should we go? Who should go? What precautions should we take?

It has now been more than a week since I’ve been out of the house for something other than walking the dog. The last two weeks have been a wild ride. I can barely remember what’s been happening day-to-day. We’ve been mostly okay, except when we’re not.

I am very aware that I am the person most at risk in this family unit – I have asthma and a history of pneumonia and bronchitis, and this virus gets into your lungs.

I am very aware of how lucky we are – we are both able to work from home which means we still have incomes and we don’t have to worry about childcare. My bosses also seem to understand the extra mental load we’ve all taken on, trying to understand everything that’s happening day-to-day, being bombarded by news, and also not really able to think about it and knowing there’s no set end date.

I have used the word unprecedented over and over again. I am trying to imagine what the world looks like after this. Will people understand that the government should be able to provide for us? Will they realize what it means when we come together as a society to care for the most vulnerable? Maybe on the other side of this we have legitimate conversations about bettering our health care system, raising the minimum wage, providing a universal basic income, supporting teachers… the list goes on. Maybe after we’ve all taken a step back from our day to day lives we realize that things could be better, should be better. Maybe we realize the real damage we’re doing to the world around us.

But then again, there are still people out there not listening to public health officials, putting other people at risk because they’re too dumb or too selfish to realize that they could hurt other people even if they don’t get that sick.

The thing that currently bothers me the most is that my father studied situations like this. He taught people how to plan and how to react and how to communicate effectively. In this type of situation I would have called him and he would have helped me figure out how worried I should be.

He would also be completely fascinated, and I miss those excited conversations.

He would not be dealing well with having to stay at home. Though he would probably be in London and lord knows he’d have a lot to say about them right now.

I will try to keep busy – keeping up with the knitting, baking, puzzling, art-making, journalling that I’ve been doing so far. But changes come quickly and part of my job is to know what’s happening and figure out if and how to respond.

Not turning off the news makes this all harder, but not knowing just isn’t something I see as an option.

All we can do is what we can do. I shall try to be zen and think back to Cuba.

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