Post 55: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on going “touchless” in the new normal

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 55. 

Can’t touch this!

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I think we have all developed #coronavirus paranoia when it comes to touching anything. I know that I am very conscious of how many items I have to touch when out in public.

Many public places already have automatic doors, as well as touchless toilet flushers, faucets, and hand dryers. In some European cities, the public toilets go through a full automatic sanitation after every use. However, we are only at the tip of the iceberg with this technology. Many other public items should become touchless.

On any given day, I can touch so many public dispensaries such as a ticket machine, an ATM machine, a postal stamp machine, a snack vending machine, and a gas pump.

In March, while I was visiting England and people were still in coronavirus denial, I was buying a train ticket from a machine. It was so vile. Not only had it never been cleaned, but it was obvious that someone had spat on it. I was not going to waste my sanitizer cleaning the entire machine so I held my breath, got my ticket, and sanitized the hell out of my fingers.

No! Gross! I cannot do it anymore. All these machines must become touchless. I think this will be easy to accomplish. Much like the parking apps available today; we should have apps for everything.

Apps that can handle payments and produce tickets at public transportation machines. Maybe we can have a passcode in the app that allows you to access the retina recognition for high-security machines like ATMs. I’m not sure exactly how this will be implemented, but I am confident someone will design the solution.

Items to address:

  1. ATMs
  2. Ticket machines
  3. Mail drop off boxes
  4. Vending machines
  5. Handles made for passengers to hold on to in public transportation compartments.
  6. Rails of stairs and escalators
  7. Elevator buttons
  8. Touchscreen slot machines
  9. Touchscreen soda machines

Until such time as these items become touchless or controlled by an app, disposable clean finger covers (not gloves, but something like the rubber finger condoms worn by chefs when they cut a finger) should be available next to all machines. Of course, they should be made from biodegradable material because you know people will start littering.

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Contactless…no thanks!

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Many new ideas will emerge to help us (at least for the coming few years) as we navigate the presence of the throned germ in our lives.

One of these ideas is a key that helps us deal with opening the door, pressing keypad buttons, carrying things. Another is the contactless card that one scans over a credit card machine when making a purchase.

In the Far East, society functions using one’s own phone to make payments, board public transportation, and many other daily tasks in society.

I would probably purchase such a key and use it when I am out and about, but my question here is more philosophical than practical: What will being so worried about contact do to us as humans? We are a species that loves a hug; we are made to be in physical contact with one another. Will we start having relationships with an Orgasmatron soon, like in Woody Allen’s Sleeper?!

I am going out a bit more than I used to now that the lockdowns are beginning to ease. I smile at people I see; they don’t smile back because they don’t see my masked smile in the first place! I feel really silly smiling now.

A friend passed by the other day. We didn’t hug or do the 3 cheek kisses after not seeing one another for a long time. It feels awkward, emotionless, and cold.

What about when I want to thank someone profusely with a warm handshake? The key doesn’t do the job here and I, for one, am not looking forward to being impersonal in my contact with people in the future. I am a junior dinosaur on many levels, but then videotapes, CDs, and DVDs are a thing of the past that I did get over…

You’re on camera 🙂

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Virginia

Many moons ago, I worked for a company that specialized in biometrics. They were among the industry leaders in fingerprinting and retinal scanning. At the time, I thought the technology was pretty cool – but somehow a little creepy. I mean, who wants to have their retinas scanned so they can go to work? But that was back before iPhones looked lovingly at your face before letting you in.

Over these 55 days of lockdown, I’ve been thinking about how touchless technology, including retinal scanning, can solve problems: less bacteria, fewer infections. Better controlled pandemics, improved overall hygiene. But there are down sides, too. Touchless and other types of technology can help Big Brother take even more giant leaps.

If you use Face ID on your phone, guess what? Big Brother is probably making faces at you from behind an invisible screen. Want to get ahead at the airport? Just smile into the camera and skip to the front of the line. Your trusty airport security is watching.

Want to take public transportation? In most big cities, you can already link your phone to an account that gets debited every time you take the bus or the train. No germy turnstile to push, no coin or card slot to touch. And the authorities know exactly where you are and where you’re going. They might even know who you’re going to meet.

Vote by phone! Now your political preferences are known, and you didn’t have to touch a grimy voting booth. Shop online! Now your consumer profile is public, and you didn’t have to leave your home.

Whether providers use retinal scanning or other biometric technology, let’s face it: our eyes are not just the windows to our souls; they’re the keys to our bank accounts and personal data.

I could go on and on – there are so many examples of how super-sophisticated technology has invaded our daily lives – but here’s an essential point: what we thought was creepy and futuristic 10 and 20 years ago is today’s reality.

And is that reality so bad? With Artificial Intelligence, biometric information can help identify hotspots, predict future pandemic outbreaks, and perform contact tracing.

Do the risks of more invasive technology outweigh the benefits?

Either way, from this point forward, I think “touchless” and the “new normal” will – pardon the puns – see eye-to-eye and go hand-in-hand.

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

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.

Post 49: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on the #MiddleEast

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 49. 

Today is free-form writing.

Just play nice

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I have been reading articles from different sources, like the Washington Post, the Times of Israel, the Christian Science Monitor, and Haaretz on how Arabs and Israelis have been putting aside their differences and showing solidarity in the medical establishments in #Israel. Although this a lovely vision of Arabs and Jews helping one another stay alive during a pandemic and a promise of unity, it’s actually a farce. It’s a mask or a Band-Aid on a very infected wound of what has festered into a gruesome, unequal existence. These stories are an attempt to present Israel as benevolent. The Israeli government pretends to exude understanding and peacemaking while undermining international law and arrogantly moving on with its apartheid agenda.

The Israeli government, with the backing of the US administration, is dangling a rotten carrot while planning a systematic annexation of the West Bank and confiscation of more #Palestinian land.

The American peace proposal introduced earlier this year is also a shameful pretense that the USA holds the interest of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. No one in the world other than the USA and Israel considers this a fair plan, especially when the Palestinians were not even consulted.

In simple terms, the Palestinian situation is equivalent to a squatter taking the large house. He gives the owners the outhouse and the shed under the condition that he can store all his shiny new equipment in the shed, giving the owner a tiny space in which to live. All while demanding that the owners stop complaining and being disagreeable because the squatter will take the shed anyway.

The world community has tried to intervene on many occasions. In the past, Israel has scoffed at international laws, bullying its way into creating settlements on Palestinian land. Although this is illegal under UN resolutions, no action is ever taken against Israel.

Now as the world’s attention is diverted by the coronavirus crisis, and while the Arab and Israeli medical community plays nice, the Netanyahu government again defies the world, weaseling its way into an annexation of land that never belonged to it.

Yesterday, British politicians wrote a letter to the UK prime minister urging him to lead the world in sanctions against Israel. The European nation has condemned the annexation as illegal, and the United Nations warns that the annexation is “..undermining the prospects for peace between the two sides..”

I am a pacifist. I believe in equality. I am a Palestinian, and I refuse to accept that this land was God-given to the Jewish people, or that they have the right to slaughter my people. Show me where God says …. “go and get this land with force. Kill the indigenous people, destroy their villages, and drive them out. And if they don’t leave, force them to live as third-class citizens.”


RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

The Paris of the Middle East (actually, formerly “the Switzerland of the Middle East”), Lebanon was long known as a delightful, perfect combination of Arab culture with Western flavor. Its location on the Mediterranean Sea meant you could ski and swim on the same day in April and May.

The sun and ski part is still true.

Now, we are neither the Paris nor the Switzerland of the Middle East. Nor are we affluent, productive, or stable. What we are, though, is educated, creative, and resilient.

But what we are notorious for is our trendsetting: For 30 years, we only operated the public and private sector on a corruption basis. Washington, Moscow, and many other capitals have only learned to become really good at corruption in the past 10 years.

We have been laundering money for mafias, drug dealers, and Ponzi schemers for more than 30 years. We can actually write a “Corruption for Dummies” manual. The West laundered that money for us. There.

In October 2019, most businesses in Lebanon cut employee salaries by 50%. The West followed suit in February and March. By Christmas, we furloughed or laid off 55% of employees. In April, the U.S. unemployment rate was 30 million.

And then came Corona. We were one of the first countries west of China that declared lockdowns. You all followed suit.

We were the first to run out of groceries (well, that is also because we don’t have money to import anything!) and you all followed suit again. We were the first to have protests due to unemployment, hunger, and poverty from  lockdowns and utter inequality.

Beware what will happen to you next. Remember we are the trendsetters.

Being Mindful

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

I walked up the mountain today, going nearly all the way to #Gibralfaro. It was the first day of the gradual easing of restrictions in Spain.

Everywhere around me, joggers, hikers, bikers, and walkers were celebrating their first freedom in 49 days. The sun was shining in the blue sky and the sea shimmered below – a perfect day to start the gradual phasing to the new “normal.” Next week, some businesses will open; the week after, restaurants can open, although at limited capacity. We will slowly go to a new “normal” in this little corner of paradise.

As I stood at the scenic overlook, breathing in Malaga’s majesty, I felt a wave of guilt so strong it almost knocked me down.

What happens in parts of the world that are NOT corners of paradise? In #Syria, #Covid-19 is just another form of death. For refugees, and those who have been displaced – sometimes multiple times – “normal” for the past 9 years has meant barrel bombs, starvation sieges, and imprisonment. “Normal” has meant hunger, fear, and the daily loss of loved ones. How do we define “normal” when medics and hospitals are not applauded, but deliberately targeted? What is “normal” when a government deliberately gasses its own people?

So many of us are privileged. We talk about our need for freedom from lockdown; we lament our graying hair and expanding waistlines. We join fitness classes and prepare elaborate meals. We even plan what we’re going to do when we’re out of this quarantine prison. Syrians – and so many other displaced peoples – are not so lucky.

We have the privilege of knowing our lockdowns will be over soon. If we truly take away lessons from the past 49 days, I hope they are that we need to be more mindful. Not just mindful of nature and Earth; let’s be mindful of greed and the lust for power, and how destructive they are. Let’s be mindful that no matter how bad we think our experience has been, there are millions of people who have had it so much worse, and for so much longer.

I hope, in our new “normal,” that we’ll be more grateful for what we do have and less judgmental of the have-nots. I hope the new “normal” means not more restaurants and salons, but fewer wars and less killing. I hope the new “normal” means justice for all.

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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.

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.


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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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. 

Post 29: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

We’re friends and family from around the world, sharing our experiences and thoughts during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 29. Important Note: WE DON’T ALWAYS AGREE – nor do we have to! We post our opinions, and those of our guest bloggers, with no censorship. No copyright infringement intended WRT photos in this post.

Today we have free-for-all posts.
Tomorrow we will rise to the WRITER CHALLENGE
we got from a loyal reader.

Moving on

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

I keep imagining how we will all transition back to our “normal” lives. I don’t know if we will even want the same life we had pre-corona.

It may not even be in our control. Everything in this world progresses and changes. Nothing ever remains the same.

The weather can start off beautiful, warm, and sunny in the morning, then end up with a deluge of rain and hail. The four seasons maybe predictable but some plants don’t make it from one season to the next. At times, perfectly healthy plants are eaten up by other predatory insects or animals.

I bring this up because now more than ever we need to understand that life is such a gamble. One day you could be on vacation in the tropics, not knowing there will be an earthquake or tsunami around the corner. “What incredibly bad luck,” we all say. Other times you could be attending the most boring party and suddenly you discover the love of your life. “What a lovely coincidence,” we all say.

Your money is safely working for you in the stock market, only to crash in a matter of days. Then the schools that keep our children safe and educated suddenly close. “WTF?” we all say.

So why can’t we just be happy and appreciate what we have? Why can’t we be kind to each other and to our planet?

When the world hits that restart button will we all run back and do exactly what we used to do? Even though we know the unpredictability of the world still exists and can change in an instant?

Will the return to our old life be enough? Will rushing to purchase the venti latte on the way to the crowded metro in the hopes that we make it to work on time be rewarding? Will we just continue to tow the party lines regardless of their power hungry politics?

I’d like to see people demand more. More pay for the everyday workers who have become “essential employees.” More reform in healthcare so it can be affordable for all. More attention to and care for Mother Nature, and more tolerance of others who look and sound different. We all saw on the news around the world how this pandemic took its toll on everyone. Hopefully we will pay attention, because now we realize that it can happen to us.

Maybe Papa Bernie had a point after all…

Love is in the air

Y., Barcelona, Spain

When I first heard about the #Coronavirus and before it became COVID-19, for some reason the first thing that came to mind was John Paul Young’s song “Love is in the air.”  And I kept playing that song over and over on YouTube and in my head, imaging scenes of what’s going on. I even sent it to some friends on WhatsApp.

But these scenes, although they were filled with love, were completely different from “Google-image-search” type of love scenes. Instead of getting closer to those you love, suddenly you wanted to distance yourself from them. Instead of people out happily gathered celebrating a shared love, we saw people celebrate love by staying home. And suddenly the basics, the essentials, our love became clearer, as did its lack and absence.

I leave you with the lyrics of “Love is in the air.”  There’s never been a better time for this song, in my opinion. Love is in the air, and it’s all around us. We just have to see it without getting too close before they discover a cure or vaccine. Basically, we’re gonna feel like dicks in a condom for a while, believing that love is in the air. You can sing it in your head using JP Young’s voice or the huskier Tom Jones remake. 

Love is in the air, everywhere I look around
Love is in the air, every sight and every sound
And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyes

Love is in the air, in the whisper of the tree
Love is in the air, in the thunder of the sea
And I don’t know if I’m just dreaming
Don’t know if I feel safe
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when you call out my name

Love is in the air
Love is in the air
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Love is in the air, in the rising of the sun
Love is in the air, when the day is nearly done
And I don’t know if you’re illusion
Don’t know if I see truth
But you’re something that I must believe in
And you’re there when I reach out for you

Love is in the air, everywhere I look around
Love is in the air, every sight and every sound
And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyes

Love is in the air
Love is in the air
Oh, oh, oh, oh

John Paul Young


RJD, Beirut, Lebanon

Today, Easter, was the first really beautiful day in Beirut, weather wise. Off to gardening I went. We have a beautiful roof overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with a 360 degree openness.

I took out my gardening outfit (shorts and t-shirt) and went to the roof to plant.

During these Corona times, I will not have to bring down my summer clothes since we look like we will be stuck at home anyhow. I will just keep things ready as they are for next winter!

After a nice long shower, I got dressed in my going-out outfit and joined our Eritrean housekeeper for our usual Sunday Eritrean coffee ritual.

When done, I changed and got into my lounge wear and did some chores around the house. I am now in my PJs and ready for bed.

Oh I forgot, I carried my handbag when I went “out” for coffee!

Oh, these Corona times are driving all of us crazy. Happy Easter and blessed Sunday!


RafifJ, Malaga, Spain

Some days I just don’t know what to write, but I feel that putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – is part of what keeps me going during these CoronaDays.

My routine has evolved from BC (before Corona): now Clapping Time and frequent video chats with family and friends are sacred, and I plan my day around them. My inventory of basic necessities is different, too – having an adequate supply of soap is more important to me than my BC habit of owning shoes of every conceivable color and style. Even the old salon luxuries seem pretentious and frivolous – I mean, who do I think I’m kidding with the hair color?

As we near the end of our CoronaPrison – because surely lockdown will come to an end soon??? – I wonder how soon I’ll revert to my old habits, if at all. I suppose we all need to prepare for the new “normal” as we adapt to whatever social, environmental, and cultural rules that will inevitably accompany our journey to After Corona (AC).

Whatever happens, I hope that AC, I will continue to observe Clapping Time, even if privately. I hope that AC, I’ll always honor the heroes – not just the medical professionals, but the grocers and the truckers – who really did serve on “the frontlines” in the fight against this nasty virus. I hope that AC, we will not abolish human contact as a survival mechanism, or find out that we’ve become hermits.

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

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

Post 22: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

We’re a group of friends and family in various parts of the world, and we’re sharing our experiences and thoughts during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. IT’S DAY 22.

Important note: WE DON’T ALL AGREE – nor do we have to!
We post our opinions, and those of our guest bloggers, with no censorship.

Normal got us here, so was it all good? 

Hadi Madwar, Montreal, Canada

Life through/under/despite/consequent to COVID-19 is compelling me to approach the notion of “normal” with caution. I no longer understand what normal is, what it was, and what it should be. 

That I’m privileged enough to spend time writing a blog post about the notion of normalness whilst others live in the face of a virus that the world is yet to fully understand – be it through the nature of their uninsured day-jobs, the density of their living spaces, the rationality of the government in power –  is enough of a reminder to me that to call anything ‘normal’ at this point is not a matter of fact, but a matter of perception. 

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And my perception of normal is tied to what I choose to remember of the past.

What was once a few weeks ago normal – being with friends and family, sitting next to somebody in a classroom or at work, aimless movement in the city, the dream of long-distance travel for the sake of escape – has been relegated to nostalgia. Perhaps it’s too early to make such a statement, but I’d argue that that past should remain nostalgia. 

Svetlana Boym, the Harvard scholar of late and an expert on the concept, defines nostalgia as such:

The word “nostalgia” comes from two Greek roots: νόστος, nóstos (“return home”) and ἄλγος, álgos (“longing”). I would define it as a longing for a home that no longer exists or has never existed. Nostalgia is a sentiment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one’s own phantasy. Nostalgic love can only survive in a long-distance relationship. A cinematic image of nostalgia is a double exposure, or a superimposition of two images—of home and abroad, of past and present, of dream and everyday life. The moment we try to force it into a single image, it breaks the frame or burns the surface.

Going back to the pre-COVID past feels like an invalidation of the now. What home would I be going back to? The things we loved, that involved the people we loved, have become actual vectors for the spread of disease. Any desire to relive the scenes of the past running in all our minds is a liability issue at this point. 

In short, today, nostalgia kills. I’m not a killer, nor is anyone around me. So at what point did the perception of normal fail us all?

Corona Dazed 

Roula B., Falls Church, Virginia

Ok, I get it. Wash your hands, cover your mouth, social distance, stay home! But there’s a limit to what I can accept, because some things make sense and a helluva lot doesn’t in this media hailstorm we’re under. Here are some #COVID-19 responses that don’t make much sense to me:

  1. In New York City, people who are caught not social distancing are thrown into crowded jail cells.
  2. Seeing people driving alone in cars- with windows closed- wearing masks.
  3. Taking away car window squeegees at gas stations, but allowing those same hands to touch the gas nozzles.
  4. Closing fields, nature parks, and dog parks.
  5. The removal of all public scooters, but keeping public bikes circulating. (parked 6 feet apart!)
  6. The shutting down of public water fountains. What are the homeless supposed to do? And there have been so many of them visible on the street lately. Maybe because they stand out more in the emptiness?

I am jealous of Sweden and the way they’re calmly and wisely handling this situation with acceptance and deeper vision. The Swedish government is taking the utmost of care to avoid panic and preserve the citizens’ normal lives and liberties while searching for good solutions. Most importantly, the government trusts the academics, scientists, doctors, and their citizens to play a part in social survival. 

Submitted by Roula
no copyright infringement intended

Imagine that, TRUSTING people to cooperate and make the best decisions for themselves within government guidelines and recommendations. And the people CAN be trusted because trust is a two-way street!

Who among us trusts their government or media, anymore? For more on Sweden’s response, read here, here, and here.

In America, the government takes advantage of each crisis to gain more power over the people, to own us more and control us more. We have already been stripped of so many liberties in the aftermath of 9/11 and given up so much of our power to the varied industrial complexes. This crisis seems to be taking aim at our rights to gather and assemble, as well as our right to the pursuit of happiness.

I see it coming, folks. I see all the non-COVID-19 related carnage, which will cause much more lasting damage to our societies (Even the old prune Henry Kissinger agrees). The suicides, the crime, the bankruptcies, and the desperation will surely give us a drastic paradigm shift. But in which direction? It’s still too early to tell, but I’ve got an ounce of optimism left in me that says we the people can rise to the occasion… with the right leadership our eyes can be opened to a better way of existing and coexisting.

Inward and onward..

A woman’s best friend

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

A member of my family who has not received any attention in my blogging is my lovely dog Scottie. He is a hound mix and came into our lives exactly a year ago.

We had just experienced the pain and grief of having lost our dog Remington. We rescued Remi (also a hound mix breed) 6 years ago. But Remi developed a tumor on his spine and it slowly made him lose all sensation in his legs. We loved Remington and thought he was the perfect dog. His loss was devastating. But in the midst of our grief, Scottie came along. Scottie was an exceptionally trained dog. His owner was a young man who recently got married. Both he and his wife were nurses and were looking to find a good home for Scottie. Nurses work in 12-hour shifts, which meant Scottie would be home alone for at least 14 hours some days.

It did not take much to convince us to take Scottie in. When we compared photos of the 2 dogs it was hard to see the difference between them. Both are predominantly white with brown patches on their head and they are exactly the same size. It was like a sign from the heavens. Remi was telling us, don’t be sad, here is my younger brother.

As a child, I did not like dogs. I grew up in a country where people only had vicious guard dogs (or so it seemed). I was petrified of them because you never knew when one would jump the fence and chase you down the street. So it took a lot of convincing to even get our first dog Remington.

But I soon found out that dogs are amazing creatures. They are loyal, lovable, and truly a woman’s best friend. Now we have Scottie. He is so gently and loving. I cannot imagine life without a dog.

Scottie has been getting a lot of walks and attention with everyone home. I wish I could know what his thoughts were about all this #coronavirus madness. But I think I know.

Every night when we let him out into the back yard Scottie would run out do his business and run back. Lately he has been ignoring our calls to come home. One night we thought he had run away. We called and called for Scottie but there was silence. We drove around the block looking for him, but he was nowhere.

Finally my son spots him in the neighbors yard and after some coaxing Scottie came running home. Apparently he had discovered a break in the fence and had gone off wandering.

I finally understood how Scottie felt about this “stay home” order. By the end of the day he too just needed some time alone.

@$*^ You. No, @$*^ YOU!

RafifJ, Malaga, Spain

When the world first learned about social distancing, many of us started keeping in closer virtual touch. As our governments began imposing more restrictions on movement, people around the globe increasingly reached out to one another. Friends who had not been in contact for years suddenly materialized. A short and sweet, “hi, how are you doing?” was often enough to bring back nice memories and rekindle old friendships. In other instances, our close friends became even closer as we huddled together – virtually – in love and solidarity. Many people talked about how communities were coming together.

Now as we enter weeks 3 or 4 of lockdown, some bonds are fraying. The #COVID-19 numbers are really up – practically TRIPLE in some countries in the past week. Our anxieties are also growing exponentially and we’re all trying to figure out who’s next, what’s next, and why.

Retrieved from Queen Laurel on Pinterest.
No copyright infringement intended.

We’re also playing the blame game…On social media, more people have started to point fingers at others. I mean, I know we blame governments for everything, but I’ve been seeing entire nationalities maligned or being offered up as sacrificial lambs for testing. Minor disagreements are erupting into real hostility. Former friends are taking potshots at each other.

Since we cannot understand the #Coronavirus, we have to find a scapegoat. Because we’re frustrated, that other person must be a jerk. If we are anxious, it might be because that other person with whom we disagree is an asshole.

On Facebook, I’ve seen more insults and more toxicity than ever before. People used to be polarized over national politics; now it’s over who went out, who stayed in, which leader is doing more (or less), which governments have become facemask pirates.

Put on your big girl (or boy) pants, folks! We have a long way to go before we can start adapting to what will become the new normal. (More on that tomorrow). Let’s stop the fighting, the escalations, the silliness before THIS becomes the new normal. You can’t control other people’s statements, but you CAN control how YOU react. The moral of the story is, if you can’t say something nice, walk away. Or just STFU.

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