Post 48: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on…

how we defuse #lockdown-inspired tensions

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 48. 

Stressful moment, or two, or three…

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Stress. It can eat us up.

Tension. It can engulf us.

Humor. It can release the stress.

Music. It can diffuse the tension.

All good and nice, but under lockdowns, our stress and tension have increased exponentially and a small trigger can ignite a war. So how to manage?

I use humor and music. An old friend once told me, when I first moved to Beirut, to turn everything that annoys me into a humorous situation and laugh it off. I applied this for many years and still do during these difficult times.

Another friend once told me that when you are in a tense moment, imagine everyone in front of you nude. Automatically, a smile emerges, then a snicker, then you can manage better.

I still use that one as well!

And when all else fails, I find a corner, put on my headphones, and blast the music. Depending on the time of day and the stress, I go from classical music to wild dance music. Either way, I end up relaxing a bit and changing the mood.

Smile and dance…

Photo credit:

On my/his last nerve…

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Today I snapped. Oh wait, that happened yesterday, too. And the day before.

As we move toward Day 50 of lockdown, it’s inevitable that tensions arise every now and then (okay, a little bit every day). But social distancing, and the quarantine that goes with it, have a way of creating new co-dependencies. Let’s face it, Adam and I are each other’s only in-person company for the time being.

So when tensions flare up, one of us tries to make a joke. Sometimes the joke is actually funny and that takes care of that. Sometimes the joke is so incredibly stupid that we burst out laughing and the tension is gone. Sometimes, though, the joke is actually offensive and things can get more heated. At that point, a break is called for. It takes the form of music, a movie, a chat with friends…space. A little distance from one another.

One of the beautiful, positive things that has characterized my time with Adam in Spain is that nearly every night, we talk. We do that over dinner, or a game of cards, or ping-pong. We tell each other funny stories. Sometimes we debate, argue over, or discuss something – but we communicate. Slowly, we get to the point where we apologize to one another, sincerely, for whatever mean thing we said or inconsiderate thing we did. And then our good humor is restored for the rest of the evening.

After all, tomorrow is another day of lockdown, and we’ll still be each other’s only in-person company.

Attention to tensions

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Simply put, the best and most effective way to defuse conflict is avoidance. Thank goodness we have enough rooms in our house for each person to have their own space. If the door is closed, do not enter. if the headphones are on, do not interrupt. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything. These have become unwritten rules to maintain harmony in my household.

Some days that is wishful thinking. So I retreat to the only place I know I won’t be interrupted, the bathroom.

Well …..That’s the lighthearted version.

Personally, my tensions have varied in intensity, depending on the cause. I have been reassured by numerous articles validating these feelings as a normal response to a crisis. Examples of solutions offered are to breathe, meditate, go for a walk, get some sun on your face, and maintain a routine. All of which I implement in some form or another.

The most helpful aspect for me has been communicating with my friends. I have a tight group of female friends, with some of whom I share this blog, who have been pillars of support. We have been in touch daily via text, calls, or FaceTime.

In the past, because of our busy schedules and our physical distance, we did not communicate regularly and only saw each other every few months. Now we are in constant communication. We answer FaceTime calls even if we look like shit and offer support and encouragement.

The most important thing to remember is we are all feeling the repercussions of this #coronavirus crisis. Let’s cut each other some slack. Stop being so angry and disappointed in others and in ourselves.

Me and Lucy

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

I have a friendship that may end because of the coronavirus. We disagree mightily on the lockdown and generally how Americans are handling it. Doesn’t really matter whose position is what. What does matter is that my soon-to-be ex-friend so disapproves of my position that I’m forbidden to bring up the subject of the coronavirus. I’m beginning to wonder if the virus is going to separate us in more ways than social distancing did. In more ways than Trump vs Liberals have already separated us. Rather than coming together to fight the virus, I think we’re just to be fighting amongst ourselves about the virus like we do about politics.

In truth, I have no idea how to handle this. To shut up about something that is so much a part of our lives now, and likely for a very long time, means not talking about something that informs how we live our everyday lives. The friendship will likely now be about nothing more than talking about the weather.

I’m glad I adopted Lucy, my 15-year-old cat, a few months ago. She doesn’t give a flying fig about the lockdown. She had been living in a windowless bathroom for months after she was rescued from a home where they didn’t want her anymore. Now she’s living in high cotton. Her life couldn’t be sweeter. And every time I look at her, I realize how sweet my life is with her, lockdown be damned. She spends her days sleeping and relaxing and enjoying my company no matter what my opinion is about the lockdown.

This is Lucy

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Post 47: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on #music

...and our favorite #lockdown playlists

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 47. 

Bella Ciao

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

As soon as the lockdowns began, I started putting together a playlist that I called Corona Morona. 

Year of the Cat was the first song by Al Stewart. It’s been a year from hell for me. January alone was as long as a whole 12 months and it spiraled from there…

I then added: Help me make it through the night by Gladys Knight and the Pips, L’italiano by Toto Cutugno in honor of Lombardi, Dream a little dream of me by the Mamas and the Papas, Closer and Closer Apart by Mary Chapin Carpenter, to name a few.

And then came the most poignant one of all for me, Bella Ciao is placed at the top of my playlist from the series La Casa De Papel. This song was reinvented from an old Italian folk song originating from the women in the paddy fields in the late 19th century as they sang it in protest of harsh working conditions. During the 1940s, it was used as an anti-fascist song symbolizing freedom and in the case of this particular series, symbolizing protests against entire governments. 

Photo credit: Patrick Baz

It is just so exemplary of life in Lebanon, where we have been living for the past 30 years, a big money heist by the political class that rendered us 40% poorer and with Corona, we reached a whopping 60%! 

The song has been played over and over during the protests on the streets since October 2019. In Lebanon, a local artist, Shiraz even made an Arabic version of the song. 

So every morning, I blast the speakers on my roof garden while I water my vegetables and make the whole neighborhood remember that we are living a worse reality than the hostages in the series! 

Here is the Corona version!

CoronaDance the Night Away

RafifJ, Malaga, Spain

Music: it’s one of the outlets that has gotten me through the past 47 days of lockdown.

In BC days, I had my music pretty neatly classified based on what I was doing or where I was: Airplane, Rafif’s Disco Night, Pool at Alex’s Place in Crete, and Hangin’ with the Girls are just a few. Then there’s Working on Deadline (classical) and Fun Work (jazz).

Along came the Coronavirus and new playlists: Staying At Home and Trying Not to Lose My Mind.

My final compilation, called Coronavirus 2020, makes me dance as I fumble through my 7 Interchangeable and Recurring Phases of Lockdown: Anxiety, Elation, Boredom, Loneliness, Frustration, Irritation, and Happiness.

One of my all-time favorites is Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show – click to play it and DANCE.

So what else is playing at my place? Here are another 15 songs to get you moving:

  1. Car Wash (Rose Royce)
  2. Safe and Sound (Capital Cities)
  3. Missing (Everything But the Girl)
  4. You Sexy Thing (Hot Chocolate)
  5. Hotel California (Gypsy Kings version)
  6. Some Nights (Fun)
  7. I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
  8. Killer Queen (Queen)
  9. We Are Family (Sister Sledge)
  10. Where is the Love (Black Eyed Peas)
  11. You Spin Me Right Round (Dead or Alive)
  12. Counting Stars (OneRepublic)
  13. I Don’t Fee Like Dancin’ (Scissor Sisters)
  14. Can’t Stop the Feeling (Justin Timberlake)
  15. We Like to Party! (Six Flags)

Sadder Than a Country Western Song

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

My music preferences are generally pretty schizoid. When I meet a potential dating partner, one of the first two questions I ask is, “Have you ever listened to Glenn Gould’s recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and have you ever listened to Asleep at the Wheel?”

If the answer to either question is “No,” it’s time for me to move on.

It may sound strange, but lately I’ve skewed more to listening to Asleep at the Wheel and Country Western generally. That’s because I want to hear music that will cheer me up. And as sad as CW lyrics can be, they’re way more uplifting than what they’re yammering about on the news. The news today is sadder than a Country Western song. Whoever thought Tammy Wynette singing D-I-V-O-R-C-E or Waylon Jennings wailing about Luckenbach, Texas could cheer up my day.

Get Down Tonight!

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Retrieved from Reddit.
No copyright infringement intended.

At the beginning of the #COVID-19 life-changing experience and the #shutdown I was so amused to find songs that related to this situation. Some were quite funny and had me laughing and dancing. Yes, dancing in the privacy of my home, because no one wants to see me dance. I dance a little like Elaine from the Seinfeld episodes.

The Internet blew up with memes and songs containing clever lyrics and videos. Mostly I was listening to the older songs with lyrics that sounded as though they were written for the current state of affairs. Bobby Brown’s warning of Can’t Touch This was now incredibly poignant. The Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive gave me encouragement. When frustrated I turned to Queen’s I Want to Break Free.

It was Iggy pop’s song Mask, with its ironic double entendres, that took the cake. I’ll share a few of those lyrics with you, and as you read, think only of the coronavirus and the current situation.

“…..You’re wearing a mask

You look better that way

Are you my friend? Are you my plumber? Are you my God?

What do you do?

Wearing a mask, You’re wearing a mask

You’re wearing a mask, Which mask are you?…..

……critics fronting franticly in New York city, every body in L.A just plain licking ass or having it licked, irony in place of balls, balls in place of brains, brains in place of soul, where is the soul?, where is the love?, where am i?

Which mask are you? …..”

Iggy Pop

But soon I was fed up with all the songs that related to my state of mind like So Lonely, I Want to Hold Your Hand, All by Myself, and many others. Even the reassurance of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive was not comforting .

I had to switch it off. All of it. The only way I could listen to music was to find the sing-along songs that did not relate to any pandemic, fear, aloneness, or virus.

I found catchy tunes like Brown Eyed Girl, Wild Horses, and Twist and Shout are the best way to feel uplifted. Or better yet, songs with no lyrics at all, like Santana’s Europa are ideal. By the way….I’m still “dancing.”

Thank you for reading our blog! We welcome all feedback.

We often use photos we find on the Internet. No copyright infringement intended.

If you’d like to contribute a post, please get in touch! Send me an email, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment here.