Meanwhile in Our Neighborhood…

As I am writing this post, we have not yet had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our town. That’s not to say that we have not had all the madness that is accompanying the virus. Schools are closed. Shelves are empty. Traffic is pretty light (except around the shopping centers). Doctor’s offices are rescheduling routine appointments and Walgreen’s keeps calling every other day wanting to switch my mom’s medications to 90-day refills (newsflash Walgreen’s…we already get 90-day refills). And as it usually happens in an emergency/disaster/unusual situation, people almost inadvertently do the opposite of what is recommended – like socialize in public places and hug one another.

You may know from past posts that I’m a magnet for over-sharers in public places. It’s as if I have a sign on me that says, “I’m an excellent listener. Please tell me your life story.” And usually, I don’t mind. It’s how I meet some interesting people and learn some really cool things. It’s how we first learned about our favorite hobby (letterboxing) and how we found the $5 all-you-can-eat salad bar at the diner across town. But, I can’t help but think…if this virus is spread primarily through social contact, why are so many folks talking to and touching each other in the grocery store, the breezeway, the gas station, and even the car wash?? I’ve held conversations with, reluctantly shook hands with, and been hugged by more people this week than on the day of my grandma’s funeral.

My sister says that I’m surely going to die now. But then again, she also fussed at me for not buying toilet paper so I’m not sure I believe her.

Personally, we pay very little attention to the media and rely instead on the facts – what we see for ourselves and what we learn directly from reputable sources (like the CDC and WHO). Sadly that’s not the case for everyone. The media can and does make a meal off of our fears and the sheer reporting of the madness is often what drives the madness itself. This virus (or pandemic, as it’s being called) has disrupted so much for so many (either real or imagined) that I wanted to take a moment to check in and let everyone know that our life has been pretty much normal (aside from the hugging) this week.

We got some good news. The seeds we planted last week are starting to sprout and my interview for the freelance editing position went well. I’m just waiting to hear back from the HR department regarding next steps.

We experienced frustration.¬†We had to go to Walmart, Kroger, Food Lion, Save-a-Lot, and Dollar General to get my mom’s weekly groceries and supplies because of scenes like this:

We also had our share of sadness. Our housing survey took us into a neighborhood that had been almost completely destroyed by the recent tornado. A former co-worker’s husband committed suicide. And a local missing person story that we’ve been following for weeks did not have a happy ending.

We worked. On our housing surveys, our garden plans, and met with a contractor to fix a rotting column on my mom’s front porch.

And we had some fun. My mom took us out the dinner one night. We made a chicken-less pot pie using flour tortillas for the crust on another. We watched TV, read a book, and had a chance to stop by Sprouts to do our kind of bulk shopping – for nuts, seeds, grains, and dried beans.

In short, we got up every day and just went on about the business of living.

I’m not making light of the situation, nor are we burying our heads in the sand when it comes to what’s going on with COVID-19. We are concerned, mostly because we have an elderly family member and one with a congenital heart problem, but concern doesn’t mean we need to panic or buy into the need to panic. We’ve learned over the years that bad things happen every single day. We can’t control that but we can control what we focus our own attention on, and now, as always, we’re choosing to focus ours on just doing what we can to live our best life every day.