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 63.
Social policing is the new norm
Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia
I bet many of you know about the way the grocery stores are handling their customers these days. As for me, I had no clue because during quarantine I either ordered online or had my son do the grocery shopping. That is until this week. I finally decided I was going to do the shopping myself.
The first stop was Whole Foods. I knew to expect lines with everyone obediently standing 6 feet apart. I was happy to see the attendant wiping off other people’s germs off carts (another new normal), but what I saw for the first time was the traffic directions taped to the floor, and other stickers on the floor with additional instructions like, “Stop!” “Wrong way.” “Do not enter.” “One way only!” “Maintain your distance.” These were not makeshift signs with masking tape and marker; no, these were permanent and professionally printed.
My natural instinct upon entering the store was to tackle the grocery shopping as efficiently as possible. I walked up and down aisles, turning around halfway to get other things. Then somehow I finally looked down and noticed the signs on the floor. Oops.
At first I thought, Dang! How much money did they spend to get these made and installed? Then I started to worry that I might get into trouble for not obeying the signs. Then I was struck with an even weirder thought… will they assign traffic police in grocery stores and public spaces? Will they give us citations for walking the wrong way down a one-way aisle? Or lingering too long in one place, or perhaps for standing too close to someone else?
I can just picture it. I am chased by an officer honking a hand-held horn. Everyone slows down to see what’s going on. I am pulled over and the officer says “ma’am, do you know how fast you were walking down the aisle IN THE WRONG DIRECTION?” Ugh!
Nothing is considered far-fetched anymore. When we have a crumbling economy, an armed militia, and media chaos, a police state sounds very plausible. But the ugly truth is that we are already policing each other these days. Public shaming has become “normal.” Just as beating the heck out of the person enforcing the rules has become “normal.”
I can understand why people are moving to the country, where the population is less dense. Where the air is fresh and the birds chirp. Life is always slower and more laid back. I too am planning on moving to that utopia. I plan on growing my own produce. Maybe even have some chickens and bees.
But that does not happen overnight so until I move and am self-sufficient, I guess I will have to put up with these crazy rules around me.
Wait, these policing rules don’t apply to the country, do they ?
A conversation inside my head
RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon
I am tired
I am disappointed
I am sad
I am frustrated
I am confused
I am distraught
I am helpless
These thoughts keep turning and turning in my head. Why can’t I have a clear train of thought these days? Why is my head so all over the place?
I looked at myself in the mirror and tried to set things straight. I said to my head: “there is nothing you can do about the world…you can’t fix Covid-19…stop being depressed and get your act together.”
I went back to bed, crawled under the blankets, and cried. I cried not for myself. I rarely do. I cried because my advice to myself was useless. I need to do something for the poor refugee children, for the hungry families, I need to stop this chaos, I need to shut the politicians up, I need to help the students stuck abroad with no money, I need to fix the world.
I have always been a Type A personality: over-achiever, plagued with Catholic guilt, disciplined, obedient, and law-abiding. Bah, that is not getting me anywhere these days. I cried some more.
In the morning, I got up. I inhaled smoke from my first cigarette, looking out at the beautiful Mediterranean, with the sunrise over the Sannine mountains, and convinced myself that I cannot stop the chaos we are living in. I sucked on that fag even harder…but what can I do to stop feeling so helpless?
My answer was to keep writing. This blog and my personal journal are the two things that keep me from going mad. Yes, I am depressed, angry, and frustrated. Yes, I am helpless right now, but at least when I write, I get some of it off my chest.
To those who read my posts, I am sorry if I am always lecturing and spewing anger. For those who see some of my humor, keep smiling. For those who send me encouraging messages, thank you for holding me up. I am blessed in general. I know that, and am blessed to have your support.
And a big thank you my dear friends and family for making the past two months bearable by giving me this writing outlet. Thank you.
After all, tomorrow is another day
RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain
Today I decided to be positive all day, just to see if that would improve my mood. It did!
It’s amazing how you can set your own tone, your own level of positivity. I guess it starts with having a good night’s sleep. But it also takes conscious effort to not be bothered by the little things. Ugh, that SO does not sound like me!
[SIDE NOTE: You can control your mood by breathing deeply, exhaling, and thinking sunny thoughts. You can also push away deep, dark thoughts that will take you down a nasty road. Sometimes denial, even temporarily, can help you see things through a different lens. I LOVE denial.]
Throughout the day, I chatted with friends and family, read some interesting articles (not Covid-related!), and contemplated my future. What do I want to do when I grow up? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to live? Why do I ask myself so many damn questions?
If the #lockdown has taught me anything, it’s to be a little more introspective and enjoy the process. Doing my what-if analyses, with a positive spin on each option, made me feel optimistic and super-productive. I sent and received good vibes. I volunteered to help a client on a project. In my positive-thinking-state, I realized that I don’t need to have answers to my questions; I just need to BE.
Now at the end of my day, I’m looking back and thinking, I can do this more often. As long as the sun rises and sets every day, virtually anything is possible.
Let’s keep those good vibes going all around.
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