Loribeth posted her own answers to some great journaling prompts about life in the time of COVID-19. It’s easy for this time to become a blur of working, cooking, cleaning and feeling like every day is the same. So I liked this idea of these prompts, and I am shamelessly copying it.
When was the moment you knew this was serious. Where were you, and what happened?
I had to track this story for work, so I knew that the virus was likely to spread and become a worldwide pandemic when Wuhan was shut down by the Chinese government on January 23, 2020. I hoped that the lockdown — which kept expanding throughout China — would contain the virus. But the experts I was following on Twitter (like Scott Gottlieb and Helen Branswell) were pretty pessimistic.
Looking back now, is there one particular news article or story that stands out to you?
The moment it became real for me was when I saw the infamous tweet that went viral on January 25, which was widely dismissed and criticized at the time (and has since been deleted). But in retrospect, Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding was incredibly prescient and, mostly, correct if also controversial.
What was the first meme that caused you to laugh out loud?
“Boman got dressed…here.”
What have you observed in your community that has been heart-warming?
Lots of neighbors have put teddy bears in the windows for kids to find in their daily walks, and have posted signs thanking the essential workers.
What has been the biggest change to your everyday routine?
Since I worked from home before this, the biggest changes have been 1) Not driving kids around to their activities 2) Everyone else being home and 3) SOOO much more cooking and cleaning than before.
How has family life been altered in your home?
The twins have much more screen time than before. This is because of schoolwork, but we also let them do a lot more online collaborative activities with friends like Minecraft gaming and House Party groups watching Netflix shows like “Outer Banks.” We’ve been much more lax about what the kids can and can’t watch, as well.
What have you learned to do because of this pandemic?
Uhhh…not much? I’ve re-learned how to deep-clean the kitchen and bathrooms, and I am cooking a lot more. But I haven’t learned how to play an instrument, or anything like that.
What change has created the most disappointment for you?
I have been disappointed that people I know who are very privileged are breaking the rules, while also complaining over the lack of freedoms. Also, I can’t deal with friends indulging in the Sweden debate. Sweden is in a totally different situation than the US. Their citizens are healthier, enjoy access to universal healthcare and suffer less from poverty-related health problems and obesity. And still, their death toll is higher than other comparable countries, like Denmark.
Meanwhile, the essential healthcare workers I know who are putting themselves at risk every single day are conducting themselves with such grace and humility, even patiently listening to those complaining about not being able to get their hair done. (I can’t say I am doing the same.) It’s the best and worst of human behavior at the same time.
What has surprised you?
What has not surprised you?
That the virus spread so far, and so fast.
What about the future creates feelings of worry or fear?
The economy is a real concern. We have to re-open it, and we have to do it right. Both are extremely difficult tasks.
Being on the West Coast, I am alarmed that there might have been a different, more contagious strain the East Coast has been dealing with. Yikes. What happens when it spreads here?
Finally, I’m worried about fall / winter 2020. The 1918 flu killed a lot of people in the fall and winter.
What have you truly enjoyed about sheltering in place?
Watching movies with the whole family, spending time with our lovely dog Sally and our daily hikes.
Who or what has impressed you in a positive way?
I continue to be humbled by our essential workers. The doctors, nurses, delivery people and grocery store workers who put themselves on the line every day are amazing. They deserve our everlasting gratitude.
What will you do differently when life normalizes?
I will definitely wash my hands a lot more than I used to, and take precautions when I am around large groups of people. I have no desire to go to concerts or the movies right now, but maybe that will change?
What memory or moment will talk about in ten years?
I think I’ll always remember when my husband and I went to the local grocery store right before the shelter-in-place took effect. There was an apocalyptic vibe in the air –people seemed fairly panicked — and we bought all sorts of supplies we never would have purchased before. Like a 5 pound piece of corned beef, for example. But the scary scenes in movies of people fighting over the last bottle of water, like in World War Z or Contagion, luckily never became a reality.