Balance II

by Jon Sullivan - 2020-04-21 - Opinion

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"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth."

I don't want to live in fear. But I also don't want to die in the next few months from the virus. And as an old fat person, it's obvious this particular virus would probably just kill me with little hope of recovery. And even if I did recover, post-recovery damage includes lung, heart and kidney problems. My organs are a shit show, so my already shitty health would be much worse. I know lots of people get mild symptoms. I doubt I'd be in that group. I'd be the 1% that is just fucked.

Of course I'm not a doctor, and even if I was the science of it all is still evolving. But from what I can see, any terror I might be feeling seems well justified. And of course I know many believe the virus is a hoax or is over-hyped by the media. But for me that conclusion feels very wrong, so I need to err on the side of it being real. There are also plenty of "okay boomer" types who assume having old fat white men die off might not be so bad. I suppose 40 years ago I might have shared that sentiment. Maybe I agree now. But if given a choice, this old fart would prefer to not die drowning in my own phlegm in the next few months. Sorry to disappoint.

As I see people protesting in the street against the things intended to keep me from dying, I start factoring that into my "don't die next month" plan. And that means no matter what I do, others will be filling my world with as much virus as they can in the name of liberty. Not everyone, but knowing how lazy/selfish/cruel some Americans can be it's going to have a big impact.

Before the virus it was normal to see people coughing into their hand and then opening a door with it, shaking hands with it, smearing it all over the break room, etc. And the people most likely to do that going forward are also the people most likely to pick up the virus because 'Merica.

So......... I'm fucked. For the next year (at least) the balance I'll have to maintain is between going full-on freak out germaphobe, and finding practical but effective ways to not die.

I need to go shopping, but I need to do it using a formalized regimen of masks, gloves, sanitizer, washing, etc. I want to go to Belgium in Oct, but I need to worry about being locked in a tube with hundreds of strangers for two 12 hour flights. Same for visiting friends and family in Montana. Same for photo road trips. I have shit to do. And social distancing won't work with any of it.

Balance. Avoid all human contact or risk death. That's what I need to balance. Both extremes seem unacceptable.

It seems odd for a self proclaimed hermit to be stressing over being around people. Since I'm rarely around people. But realistically that's an exaggeration. Even hermits want to travel. I still need to shop. I still have an office job. I still live in the big city.

I'll try to balance. I'll try not to freak out and lockdown to excess. I'll try not to pretend it's trivial and die next month.

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Marilee Harrison
2020-04-21 08:14:23 : I love living in a rural area where it's fairly easy to isolate but we don't have things like grocery delivery (other than our local dairy) or restaurant deliveries out here. Going to the store is a big deal for me as I mask up, glove up, and sanitize everything so after a couple of big shopping trips, I am fully sequestered and haven't needed to leave home for anything. As you know, I am very social. I miss my music events and dinner parties, etc. I am so grateful for the internet but I have started something I haven't done in a long time, writing letters. So, necessity, they say is the mother of invention, or maybe in this case, it is taking us back to basics. I agree with you about balance. I think balance is neccessary on a global scale as well. I hope that as we all emerge cautiously and carefully and hopefully in the right time, we find kindness and compassion in much more abundance and those that decry freedom, find that with freedom, there is some social responsibility that goes along with it.

Jon Sullivan
2020-04-21 08:56:41 : I worry that the American idea of freedom means a freedom from social responsibility. I think that is the core source of objections here to most Social Democratic reforms the rest of the world gets to enjoy. Literally a hatred of social responsibility. I hope the pendulum swings the other way and people realize economies trickles up, not down. And we're all stronger when we lift up those with the least.

Marilee Harrison
2020-04-22 08:07:44 : I truly hope for that Jon!

Marilee Harrison
2020-04-22 08:08:36 : I truly hope for that Jon!

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