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POINT OF VIEW: Life Under Lockdown

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I’ve said it before. But damn. What a difference a week makes.

Seven days ago at this time, I was still planning to attend the Tucson Book Festival this weekend.

Seven days ago there still was a Tucson Book Festival to go to.

We live in Sacramento. We had some of the earliest known corona virus cases in the US, but for weeks it seemed like it was under control.

Now we know that the Federal government, and the executive branch in particular, fumbled the response badly. And we all know why.

So here we are. Almost all public events are being cancelled. Stores are selling out of not just paper goods and sanitizer but groceries too. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions are being told to shelter in place. And the stock market seems to have no bottom.

Although we’ve not yet been told we have to stay home, many of us already are. Mark and I made our last trip out on Friday morning to get some groceries. Yes, we stocked up a bit. No, we did not go crazy. It’s difficult these days to find the rational response to all of this, and we are all doing the best we can.

Did I mention that it’s also gloomy and raining outside? The perfect weather accompaniment to the dark mood and slow-moving disaster overtaking our country and much of the rest of the world.

It’s the first time in my life I wish I lived in West Virginia, the only state in the US without a reported case.

So we’re on a self-imposed staycation, in this strange twilight-zone moment waiting for confirmation of what many of us fear – that while our government dithered, the virus was silently spreading throughout our cities and states. Waiting for confirmation that we’re not dealing with 3,600 cases, or 36,000, but maybe 360,000. Or more.

So Mark and I have decided to take ourselves out of the equation and stay home. If we’re not infected, this is the best way to make sure we don’t become so. And if we are carriers, we won’t infect anyone else.

It’s weird, being essentially stuck at home. Before yesterday, we could at least get out and take a walk. But with the rain, we really are locked up inside the house.

So what can we do?

I can write. It’s what I do, and one way to deal with the anxiety and fear that I feel coursing through the world around me.

We can work. I have no shortage of things that need doing, even if orders have slowed to a trickle for our various businesses. There are so many projects that need doing.

Mark can find things to enjoy, and laugh when the opportunity arises. Laughter is healing at dark moments like this.

And we can find ways to stay connected.

We attended church on Sunday with almost 200 of our fellow parishioners via Facebook Live, and there was a rousing group chat going on below the event video that made us all feel a little less alone.

We will be holding work meetings and personal ones via skype and zoom and other online platforms.

And I am reaching out to friends and family on Messenger, What’s App, and FB messenger.

We have resigned ourselves to the fact that our income will tank for a bit. Whose won’t? When almost everything shuts down, there’s gonna be pain.

We have to help each other through this, until things get better.

They will get better.

We are coming late to this fight, but more and more people are taking it seriously. In two months (or three or maybe four?) the worst will pass here in the US, and we’ll come together to start picking up the pieces.

I hope that some good will ultimately come from this, Maybe this is a reminder that we really are all in this together. Maybe it will prove to be a transformational event, and we will draw new lessons from this when it’s all over.

I truly hope so.

Until that happens, you’ll find me in my writing cave, dreaming of new worlds.

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