Post 70: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

Today we’re free-form writing.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 70.


Do People Ever Really Change?

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

I held on to the notion that the lockdown would alter some of our less attractive behaviors. Oh, how naive I was!

This week I ventured out to go to a doctor’s appointment. It’s not the first such trip I’ve made during lockdown. Typically, the highways have been pretty abandoned. But on this day, it was almost traffic as usual for 10 AM on a weekday. However, it wasn’t driving as usual. The folks on the road were INSANE!! More than they ever were before lockdown. Driving like they were competing in NASCAR. Swooping in and out between small spaces, between other cars, where tailgating was being observed. There were at least 10 near-collisions. It was as though everyone thought any minor lifting of the lockdown entitled them to revert to the behaviors of 2-year-olds.

I dropped in at a Trader Joe’s on the way home and the shoppers acted like they were members of some exalted royal family. It was a scene of entitlement on steroids.

Apparently, at least in DC, the lockdown hasn’t humbled or changed the population at all. In fact, it’s ramped up their hubris quotient.


Was there color when you were little?

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

One day, years ago, my kids ran up to me, wanting to discuss something. They were about 4 and 6 years old at the time, and they had clearly been discussing something serious among themselves.

“Mommy, was there color when you were little?”

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

At the time, I *think* I resisted the urge to laugh. I gathered them close and we talked about how blue skies, green grass, and bright flowers had been around forever. We talked about crayons and black-and-white versus color TV. We talked about how the world had changed since I was a little girl growing up in New York City. We talked about pizza and mac & cheese and ice cream. We talked about getting sick and going to the doctor and eventually being all right. We talked about how the universe took care of us and how everything always worked out the way it was meant to work out.

My kids were eventually satisfied my answers and ran off to play a new game. Every time I remember this conversation, I smile at their innocence but worry about how the world has changed for us all.

What questions will future generations will ask? Will history be kind to us?


Jeff and I are like Trump and Xi

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I buy almost everything I need from Jeff’s Amazon. This has been the norm for more than 15 years because in Beirut, I can’t find everything I need. I used to be in love with Jeff’s Amazon. Select, add to cart, checkout, two weeks later I receive my order.

It was an amorous relationship full of flirting, romance, jealousy, and sometimes arguments (when items were not available on Prime!)

And then the Lebanese financial crisis began. Banks closed, more and more items disappeared off our grocery store shelves…then came Covid-19 and lockdowns and supplies dwindled in Beirut, in the US, and worldwide.

What to do? Our spoilt lifestyle came to a halt. Going to a Dean and Delucca-style store became a thing of the past; buying organic Scottish smoked salmon became a memory; finding gluten-free baking flour became a major search on all the local store sites. Yes, serious first-world problems. Luckily, I had loads of toilet paper! So, I order much of what we are missing from Jeff’s Amazon.

That brings me why I am finally falling out of love with Jeff’s Amazon. Just like the Idiot in Chief (INC) was in love with Xi Jinping when he invited him to Mar-A-Lago at the beginning of his doomed presidency, he also fell out of love…but he tends to do that way more than I do.

I am having a love-hate relationship with Jeff’s Amazon (the one with the INC is a permanent hate-hate relationship) because of how Jeff treats his employees, especially when it came to precautions during the pandemic. The way he feels it’s his right to not provide them with a good working environment, doesn’t pay them if they call in sick because they contract Corona, lack of job security/protection from Corona, healthcare benefits, and decent pay among many of their grievances.

To put it in numbers:

  • Jeff Bezos is worth $147.3 billion.
  • The US Government is worth $123 trillion.
  • The Chinese Government is worth $63.8 billion.
  • Xi Jinping is worth $12.5 billion.
  • Donald Trump is worth $2.1 billion.

Jeff commissions Chinese products made by Chinese sweatshop workers who get an average of $3.37/day; the products are shipped to the US for Jeff’s warehouse workers to pack them for us at $15/hour. Then Jeff gets tax breaks (up until 2019), so that leaves the majority of what I pay going to Jeff.

In any idiot’s mind, the numbers are outlandish.

In a smart person’s mind, I buy from Jeff, who buys from China, who now pays taxes to the US and Chinese governments, and the two presidents fight with one another over COVID-19 among many other issues. Five entities gain, the other 2 get paid pennies. So just like Trump and Xi are having a trade war, I am going to declare my personal war with Jeff.

Retrieved from knowyourmeme.com
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Post 45: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…our best and worst lockdown experiences.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 45. 


The positives of the #Coronavirus isolation

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

The Earth is feeling #love. Yes, streams are clearer, there is less smog, the coral in Hawaii is thriving. The sea turtles on beaches are thriving. The Earth is feeling loved. For years, the environmentalist have been trying to get us to take better care of the Earth. Yet we drove our cars and polluted the Earth, suffocating it. In just one month we see improvement – when the world opens up, let’s still take better care of the Earth.  

I see families out doing activities together, not just going from one scheduled lesson to another. Yes, homeschooling is tough. Yet I see more families being involved in the kids’ education. They also have a better appreciation of what teachers do every day.  Can we hold on to these good features when the country opens up? It really is more loving.

I see creative acts of kindness in our community. Calling the elderly to make sure they are okay. Listening to one another. Playing music, clapping to show your support, wearing a mask to protect others, food being donated, and for those who can, going outside. All ways of showing love that I would like to see continue.

I was trying to explain to children how one person could show their love and that it was contagious and would spread around the world. I took a glass of water and added one drop of blue food coloring. The whole glass of water turned blue.  

When the world opens up, I want to be a drop of Love that spreads around the world.  If more would join me, it would be a better place.  

Light at the end of the CoronaTunnel

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Today the staff at the Poke restaurant across the street put up bright lights on the outside – a sure sign that there’s light at the end of our CoronaTunnel. In Spain, we’ll be “permitted” to go for walks starting this weekend, and lockdown will most probably end the weekend after that. I am on the verge of doing cartwheels!

Some 45 days into it, I’m giving some thought to the best and worst moments I’ve experienced. I’ve had wild laughter during video chats (you know the kind, the laugh-till-you-cry moments) with my closest friends. I’ve also had many sleepless, anxiety-ridden nights. Despite the anxiety, I know I have much to be grateful for: we’ve stayed healthy, I’ve had work, and Adam has been able to zip through his online classes.

My best and worst days have been every day. I’ve chatted with family and friends; the daily rounds of FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp chats have taught me who my real friends are. My best days are when I walk to the store via the beautiful sea – it is so calming, and the sound of the waves tells me the universe will be all right. My best days are when I say a heartfelt gracias to my heroes, the store clerks and the Amazon delivery guys. My best days are when I open the windows to let in the beautiful spring breeze, or when I turn to the sun, taking a moment to be mindful of the quiet beauty around me. My best days are when I see the plaza statues. In their stillness, they seem to stop time, and I take that suspended second or two to remember that good health and the bonds of family and friends are priceless. And fabulous weather is just that extra chocolate on the churros. My best days are when I walk along Malaga’s streets. They are resting now, and clean, thanks to the tireless efforts of those who disinfect them daily.

My worst days – well, they are when I inadvertently click somewhere I shouldn’t have. Suddenly I hear the voice of He Who Shall Not Be Named. My worst day is when I listen to him touting a weapon of mass destruction as a cure. Let me stop there and quickly get back to one of my best days.

As we head toward the new “normal,” I hope we remember to stay grateful for the simple things, the things that truly matter, the things we’ve learned are priceless. I hope you also manage to find your best days, every day.


Best and worst memories from a 50+ mom

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I am certain that most people on Earth have experienced a shift in some aspect of their lives during this 2020 pandemic.

I am blessed because my husband is retired and my kids are in college, which meant that we did not telecommute nor did we home school. We have been reading, walking, and reflecting a lot. But the best thing to happen during this shutdown is our divorce from the consumerist society we had taken for granted. We buy groceries only when we need them. With retail closed, we avoid impulse buying. Online retail has a delivery backlog so we only order only essential items.

The worst memory is having to listen to the stupidest leader of the free world taking “charge” of his country. Spouting misinformation and behaving like a kid in a school yard. Responding to crisis by name-calling and vindictive actions.

Best and worst memories from an 18-year-old’s perspective…

He loved the time off because he needed a break from the daily pressures of culinary school. (Culinary school is very regimented. The hours are long and vacations are few).

He has been thrilled to cook and experiment at his own pace on a variety of international foods at home.

His worst memory is the lack of schedule and self-discipline. He was sinking into an abyss that took over his life.

Although he has found a happy medium of rigid schedule and downtime, he still fears going back to “normal” life.


Moments…

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

For 45 days, our lives have been turned upside down. We are dealing with stress and anxiety and new chores and washing hands and worrying about mundane things more than on any other “normal” day.

Let’s start with the bleak…the sad memories of the last 45 days: over 2 million people starving, nearly 25 million people will be unemployed worldwide, and almost 212,000 people died because our governments in the first world acted like they are from the fifth world.

During such turbulent times, though, you sometimes do or see something that is hysterically funny and because of the stress, you end up in giggles far more than it deserves. That’s part of stress relief.

One of those endless giggle memories in the past 45 days is when the Lebanese government, (bless them, ha) voted to legalize Cannabis for medical and industrial use. Really.

That, in and by itself is funny, but the funniest is a post I read online the next minute:

Nouh Zeaiter is a well-known “El Chapo” in the Bekaa (where weed is grown). And since, unemployment is high in Lebanon, the joke was that he is the only one hiring in the whole economically devastated country!!!


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Post 9: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

Here’s our installment for Day 9. We’re chronicling our experiences during the #COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines, and other restrictions. Mayya S. in Herndon, VA, came up with the idea for us to share our experiences.

Care to join us? 

A mother’s dilemma

Tina F. in Fairfax, VA

I have two children. My 21-year-old daughter is in college and works as a nurse technician in the coronary unit at INOVA hospital. She already lives at home. Her college will begin online classes and her job is obviously secure. She has not really had to modify her work life because of the #Coronavirus. But after her 12-hour night shift at the hospital I greeted her and asked about the state of the hospital and she said, “the shit is going to hit the fan in a couple of weeks, Mom” and disappeared to shower off her hospital germs and sleep.

My son is 18 and is attending culinary school in New York. Last week his university moved up Spring Break and sent the students home for an extended 3-week break. Since they are on a year-round school, that meant they were utilizing the 2 weeks of summer break too.

He has been home for a week and yesterday he was told that the university will be closed until at least May 11. They are going online with classes, but as a hands on learning school this will be a challenge.

We gave my son a well-deserved several days off; he is on break after all. As a matter of fact, we have all been watching more TV and binge eating. But his isolation has become a concern for this Mama.

At 11:00 am I knock on his door.

“Sweetheart, don’t you think its time to get out of bed? “

“Why?”

“Well, so you can get things done and give yourself a sense of accomplishment?”

“Like get what done?”

If it were a normal day I would have yelled GET A JOB! But I said, “I don’t know like….”

“EXACTLY! There’s nothing to do!”

Well, that’s not exactly true. My husband and I have given him household chores like taking out the trash, changing light bulbs, etc. And most importantly, going to pick up food for everyone. He accomplishes these tasks in record speed, then retreats to his cocoon with his PS4 and online streaming.

At dinner, I told him that I would like to spend some time together and asked him if he had any ideas about what we could do. His answer was vague and evasive. My suggestion of ping-pong was scoffed at. Then he said, “We could play Monopoly!” A glimmer of hope washed over me. “Sure, honey, that’s a great idea!”

“Ok, maybe tomorrow” and returned to his room.

Prices have gone up since Tina was a kid!

My question to you all is, how do you get through to your adult children who are stuck in this unprecedented limbo? Especially college-age kids, who have discovered their independence and think any time spent with their parents is being a loser.

Tomorrow after Monopoly I will start a new strategy. I just have to think of one.

***

Time to Stop Brawlin’
and Start Compromisin’

Sunny, a Global Cowgirl® in Frederick, Maryland

Life in the time of Corona is chock full of dire messages from the Dark Side, but what about a message from the Light? Of course, today’s medical town criers obsessively tell me in this time of Corona there’s just one degree of separation between me and the Grim Reaper. But I’ve been to the near-death rodeo a few times before and no horse has bucked me off yet. So, I’ll just do what I’ve always done—saddle up, shove my boots in the stirrups, and show this latest horse the meaning of true grit. And if I get bucked off? Well, everyone gets bucked out of Life eventually.

What fascinates me more than getting thrown by Corona, is the valuable lesson it’s sending me. Compromise. We need to stop our brawlin’ and start compromisin’.

Politicians and government officials may talk compromise, but, if the proof is the pudding, then the pudding they’re serving us is rancid. The willingness to compromise in this time of Corona—and after—rests with us, we the people. Right now, the US, and the world, is on a train headed toward a mountain where no one’s dug a tunnel. I think Corona is gonna kick our petards into the next life if we don’t put down our dukes and come together to send Corona packing.

Is compromise and peace between the human species possible? When I get discouraged, I reread a message I wrote to myself after going to Antietam Battlefield. It is a reminder from the Light that compromise is possible…

Burnside Bridge

Battlefield of Peace

Peace. Countries around the world search for peace with guns and megaweapons drawn. We’ve even got war colleges dedicated to developing new ways to fight for peace. All of this done in the hope of achieving this elusive human yearning.

While my own life is full of vexations, frustrations, and anything but peace, I’ve found a place where I can feel and even “see” the peace I ache to experience all the time.

Ironically, the spot is on a battlefield where the bloodiest single day of fighting in American history took place. September 17, 1862. The Civil War’s Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland.

Antietam Creek ran red with the blood of Union and Confederate soldiers. Over twenty-three thousand were killed, wounded, or missing.

There is a bridge that runs over Antietam Creek—Burnside Bridge. When I stand in the center of the bridge, I see a delicate cloud coming up from the earth, blanketing battlefield and creek. Within the cloud’s mist swirls a Light not of this world. Looking into the mist, my mind and body go calm. All worries evaporate. The air is pure, and with each breath, I’m filled with the cloud’s peace. I can see the misty cloud and feel its serenity every time I stand on Burnside Bridge.

There is something else. I sense the presence of the soldiers who died there, Union and Confederate. There is no rancor between them. Each body released its soul, and these thousands of souls made a peace among themselves that is beyond our understanding here on earth. They rest in harmony at Antietam.

I return again and again to Burnside Bridge to feel the unfettered peace that stretches out to enfold and caress its visitors, no matter the horror of our personal or political battlefields.

(from A Global Cowgirl Takes Stock of Life’s Lessons, being released in Spring 2020)

In our battle with Corona, I hope I’m able to lay down my discouragements, frustrations, and anger around the battle and use this time to see the Light in every person. To open myself to the compromises we’re all going to have to make to stop that train from running into the side of the mountain where no one’s dug a tunnel…at least not yet.

***

Another Sunday

RJD in Beirut, Lebanon

Today is another Sunday in Beirut. Oh no sorry, it’s Monday, Tuesday? Not sure anymore. Reminds me of an old movie called “If it’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” https://youtu.be/n2lEC58jtMI (for those who need an oldie but goodie to watch!)

So on this Monday, it is the beginning of our second week in quarantine. Realistically though, for me, it started yesterday when the military actually stopped people moving and gathering. Essentially, that prolongs our 2-week quarantine.

Most friends I am connecting with are starting to feel the worry and anxiety. Boredom, fear, loneliness are setting in. To stay busy, I cleaned out our pool room and opened pool season early (it’s okay to do that when days and weeks seem endlessly intertwined.)

In the process, I blasted the speakers with Lebanese Revolution songs and danced and sang as I cleaned. It was quite an outlet.

Tomorrow, Thursday, I mean Tuesday, it’s going to be planting day in hopes of seeds bringing new life which will help us see the light at the end of our tunnel. I am sure there is one…I want you, all my friends out there, to not despair and stay with me to see the light. We shall overcome.

***

Gratitude

RafifJ in Malaga, Spain

Day 9. Cold and rainy in Malaga. The wet streets are oddly beautiful. The rain makes the only sound that breaks the silence in this city that used to be so full of joy and merriment.

The news is more disheartening than the cold rain. More than 33,000 cases reported, including nearly 4,000 health workers. Lockdown extended to April 11. No flattening of curves in sight.

Calle Larios in Malaga

Being on lockdown teaches you to be thankful. Maybe guilty, too, because there are so many who are sick or suffering, and you’re thankful for not being one of them.

Going to the supermarket becomes an exercise in introspection. You appreciate being outdoors. You become grateful for the legs that take you to the market; the arms that carry back your purchases; the money that made the purchase possible. We’ll get through this somehow.

Clapping Time, even though short, makes you realize that you are applauding someone who may soon be your doctor, your nurse, your caregiver. This virus knows no race, religion, nationality, or income level. Let’s get through this, somehow. #StayHome. #StaySafe.

***

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