A New Reality

I kind of didn’t want to write about the Coronavirus. It’s filling our social media feeds and affecting all our lives, and it seems so overwhelming at times. Then again, it would be silly to go through this part of history and not document the experience. Twenty years from now when our lives are thriving once again, I want to tell my grandchildren, “This is what happened when you were a bun in the oven (grandson) and when you were a wee one (Avalon), and this is how the humans on Earth united to get through it.

When I was 16 I wrote a small poem for a class, which comes to mind now.

Reality is like a cat
on a foggy day
It stalks, knowingly, to its prey
And then -- it strikes.

Although I have been watching Covid-19 spread across the world, and had noticed the news, the real reality hit me last Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was a very fun weekend for us. We were celebrating my best friend’s 50th birthday by having her and her husband come join us in Massachusetts for a ski/snowboard weekend. They arrived late Friday night, but we couldn’t hit the slopes until 3 PM on Saturday due to the types of passes that Chris and I have. We spent the morning walking around, looking at the Internet, and texting our children.

I knew the virus was in New York, which is close to our Massachusetts place, and we get a lot of people visiting the resort from New York City and Long Island. That’s part of why I love it there. I warned Jan and Stephan before they arrived to see if they still wanted to come, and they were up for it. It made sense since after all, we weren’t eating out, and we would be on the slopes in the fresh air when we were out and about.

While they were there, things started to get a bit more real. Our kids called to say that their ski resort was closing. Suddenly four out of six of our children didn’t have jobs (later that situation changed, and Deer Valley found ways for all of them to keep working — we are so thankful). And Stephan, a teacher, was notified that the school he taught in was going to close, and he would have to get all his lessons ready for online education. Jan is an accompanist at a local college. Her job ended as well as the college closed early for the semester.

After snowboarding I went to get a drink from the water fountain in the commissary, and saw signs on the door about social distancing. It jarred me enough to let the water run a bit before drinking, and I used a cup instead of sipping straight.

On Sunday, the resort closed for the season–almost a month earlier than usual–because of the virus. We wanted to get back to Northern New York to be with Mom so she wouldn’t have to go out, but I had two full days of work so we couldn’t travel easily, and we had to pick up some medication at the pharmacy.

Empty, snowy slopes.

It’s so interesting how quickly your mind adjusts to a new way of life. I managed to make it into Walmart and to the pharmacy desk and out with my medication without touching anyone or anything but my own credit card and the bag of medicine I was taking home.

For the next few days, we didn’t even go to the hotel lobby, pool or sauna, even though there weren’t many people out. We were possibly overreacting, but we didn’t want to go back to Mom carrying any sort of germs that could get her ill. Even then, it was still unnerving knowing that we could be carriers without being symptomatic, and we talked with her about our concerns. She encouraged us to go back home anyway.

Driving north was interesting. There were signs on the highway telling everyone to stay at home, and traffic was definitely a bit more scarce. We got to New York and scrubbed our hands thoroughly before greeting Mom. We used elbow bumps instead of hugs to keep our human contact safe.

This electronic sign says:
Stop the spread
Save lives
Stay at home

I don’t think we could be in a safer place. Today we got our second case in the entire county. As I write this I’m sitting on a log at the beach, dictating into my app.

Everyone that is walking by is maintaining a proper distance, and I’m seeing a lot of happy faces. As Chris and I walked the beach on Friday, families expressed how great it was to be out together since school was shut down.

But even surrounded by sunshine and happy faces, reality crept in as you can see by the messages others left on our beach:

Quarantine 2020 It’s Corona time!!! 3-18-20
It’s Corona Time

Chris and I have been working like normal, but since we aren’t traveling as much as we usually do (we had to cancel our trip to Niagara for next week now that the borders between the US and Canada are closed, and the casinos are shut) we have extra time for things like spring cleaning. Evenings are spent watching movies with Mom and finishing our 1,000 piece puzzle.

I know that I am much more fortunate than many. My job is safe, and I’m used to working remotely. (If you are new to that, you might appreciate some tips my colleague wrote). I’m even used to attending church online as a regular practice. I’ve been doing that for years. There is no learning curve for me. I also live in the country, which allows for fresh air and places to walk.

My heart goes out to colleagues and friends who are cooped up in small apartments filled with people, trying to work.

Once again I am grateful for the company that I work for, because they understand that children are now around more as my colleagues are trying to do their jobs. We are all working together to become more flexible in our daily tasks, yet be there for customers.

My work in support is a little bit different from our BC (before Coronavirus) life. We are getting more people needing to set up online stores because their brick-and-mortar stores are shut down. We are getting people who lost their jobs, and people who just need someone to talk with. We are doing our best to be there for everyone, but it’s emotionally draining seeing all that everyone is going through. It’s all so incredibly sad.

Yet out of the sadness, the good arises. It’s so wonderful seeing people sharing tips, poetry and resources for exercising, gaming, lessons, activities, etc. The memes, albeit mostly dark humor, are witty and very funny for the most part.

Screengrab of a Twitter message from Thoughts of Dog - The human has been working from home the last couple days. And every so often. They let me participate in the video calls. The other humans cheer when they see me. I am the only thing holding their company together

Families are spending time together, and we are seeing the world as a single unit rather than a bundle of people existing in separate entities. Concerts, ballets, museums — all available online for everyone now.

I know this is just the beginning. It might be a really long time before we can travel back to Massachusetts, and this is most likely going to get tougher before the healing begins, but you know what? This isn’t new in the scope of history. Mom is reminiscing about the polio scares of the past. And the earth kept rotating in spite of the Spanish Flu and Black Plague.

In live chat support, I’m used to people signing off with a quick goodbye. Now the new norm for ending a conversation is what I’m going to leave you all with now. This, too, shall pass. Let’s all be smart about it and have the eradication of the virus happen sooner rather than later.

Be safe, my friends.

13 responses to “A New Reality”

    • Thanks. My hat is so off to all you educators. Thank you for all you are doing as everyone adjusts to changes.

  1. Another great Blog Chrissie, as is your norm, could be a career, lol. We in the Country, on a 50 acre plot of land here, are so fortunate. We ventured to our local Yacht Club, 1/4 mile away, which is closed, for a glass of Josh Chardonnay and a Guinness. Just us, no one else there, save for two Eagles flying overhead. Such a tranquil setting by the water in the Land of the free, Home of the brave. We are being tested, let us prevail. Did the online pew sitting experience also. I bid you and your Artist, Peace and Safety. Hi Mom!

    • Thanks for the kind words. Your situation sounds like perfection if one has to isolate. I’m glad you can enjoy that. We wish the same for you as well, and I’ll pass you “hi” on to Mom. She will appreciate it 🙂

  2. “This too shall pass” was one of my mom’s favourite expressions. It’s how she got through some difficult times financially and otherwise. It’s certainly a truism. As Stephen Colbert would say, it’s got “truthiness”! Loved this post. Take care, Chrissie!

  3. Good afternoon, Chrissy, and thanks for this little spontaneous “slice of life” that you so proficiently put in this article. Why did you tell me your blog was boring when we talked earlier? Please don’t be so coy. I loved the family picture. Stay safe in that northerly hideout where you can have all the fresh air you need. Un baccione. Arrivederci.

  4. A lovely presentation Chrissie, and yes it is interesting now how our world is changing and refocusing more on what is important. I think there is a lot of good God can bring out of this, as he makes all things work together for good for his children. I think Jig-saw Puzzles with be one item in high demand. 🙂

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