Post 42: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 42. 

Today: free-form writing.


Why I’ve Come to Despise the Hypocrites Who Call Themselves the Press

Charlotte, Metro Washington, DC

As I sit here in a Gimme Cap about to hop on a Zoom call, I feel my fury toward the #press growing exponentially. Why am I “attending” a Zoom call in a Gimme Cap? Because my roots, after a month of hair salons being closed, make me look like a skunk, and I’m now starting to look like “Geezer Godiva” my hair’s so long.

Why is this setting off fury in me about the press? Because I listened to it for about a few nanoseconds a day and hear a prominent female anchor criticizing a state for opening, among other things, hair salons. She says, “Why are they opening hair salons? They are hardly essential?”

REALLY, PRESS B*TCH!!!!! You old geezer. You’re telling me no hairstylist and colorist hasn’t touched your locks in the last four weeks. You’ve got no roots showing. Your hair hasn’t grown so much as an in the last month. And no one’s styling your perfectly styled and sprayed down hair every day before you do on the air? What is YOUR secret? And besides, why is it so essential for you to look good on camera, and not important for me to look good on camera when I’m on Zoom everyday trying to make a living.

And don’t get me started on all your female and male colleagues who look equally well-styled above the neck every day on the air.

You in the broadcast press are busy lecturing us schlubs at home to stay at home for the health of nation, but you flannel-mouths are using bootleg hair folks to keep you looking good? I don’t think it’s essential for you to look “good” on camera. I think it’s essential that you truthfully report the news AND walk the talk you preach to us.

But I’ve learned not to expect much from members of the press and professional yammers broadcast from their fancy kitchens and dwelling digs while “chatting their opinions” and lecturings to us common folks. Is this where your bootleg hairstylists come to do your hair? Or do you go to them?

I’m going to close with a rambling about one doctor who’s clearly “auditioning” to be the next Sanjay Gupta. The newly shorn male anchor welcomes her to the show, and there she sits in warm lighting highlighting her magnificent head of just-styled hair. Behind her you see her fireplace ablaze and a wall festooned in truly gorgeous masks from Africa. And outside the sliding glass door near her, you see the palm trees of Los Angeles.

If the press is going to talk out of both sides of its mouth about getting your hair done, what else are they double-talking us about?


Let them drink Lysol

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Hey, Trump supporters! Your leader has offered a possible cure for the Coronavirus. Will you follow his medical advice? Have you started drinking Lysol? Taking those Clorox tablets yet?

Get yours while supplies last!

You want to liberate yourselves? You think it’s un-American to be under lockdown during a pandemic? If you think you should end social distancing because your freedoms have been curtailed, TRY THE CURE!

If you believe your First or Second Amendment rights have been violated, TRY THE CURE.

Help your country thin the herd. My family is not expendable to me, but you are. So get out there and socialize with like-minded folks! Sarcasm aside. Think of what you could accomplish: you could free up jobs; they’ll be back eventually. You could liberate hospital beds. You could save the country lots of stimulus money – maybe I’d finally even get my check.

But best of all: you can make America great again if you TRY THE CURE.

I know you’ve all seen the picture on social media. I have no idea who created it, but thought I’d share it here anyway. Definitely no copyright infringement intended, and I hope whoever designed this gets an award.

Leadership, Wherefore Art Thou?

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I, for one, am outraged and appalled – not only because the president is using the forum of the White House daily briefing to spout harmful theories. But also because no one is able to stand up to him and silence his BS.

Sarcasm or not, the president is wasting the time of reporters, his health committee, and the general public by using the podium to invent cures and ranting insane and dangerous ideas.

We need leadership! This is no longer just a coronavirus issue. People’s anxieties in the United States have shifted from the coronavirus pandemic to the lack of real viable information. Governors are handing out conflicting messages. The president is making “sarcastic” remarks. It seems our future varies, depending on which leader we choose to follow.


The positive side of #Coronoia

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I tried all day to see the positive side of the lockdowns and being stuck at home. I spoke to a few people to see how they are feeling. Here in #Beirut, the news has been very depressing this week and most of the friends I spoke to are feeling the weight of the political and financial uncertainty. Our nationwide mental well-being is on the verge of a major psychotic breakdown!

Then, it dawned on me that we need to turn our negatives into positives. When we listen to the news, all we hear about is how bad things are. We forget, in that moment, to look at the positive outcomes.

For one, when we look at #Corona numbers, we always read how many cases and how many deaths. Today, I looked up how many recovered cases there are. Worldwide, the recovered cases are over 812,000, that’s a 28% recovery rate. In small #Lebanon, with its population of 6 million (of which almost 1/3 are refugees), we only have 704 cases of #COVID-19. Of those, we have 143 recoveries; 20%! For a country that’s financially bankrupt, economically devastated with barely any public funds spent on health care in centuries, that’s a major positive.

Then, when I look at how people are working together, helping the needy, neighbors helping neighbors, I find positivity. Humanity. We are also having conversations about the new normals and not going back to hurt our environment like we used to. That’s another positive.

Are we going to be poorer than we were, worldwide? Yes, we are. Same happened in 2008 and we all recovered. Some more than others. I am sure that many businesses are going to shutter, but many new concepts, ideas, and ventures are going to fill the void and change things around. Survival of the fittest. And as Lebanese, we are endowed with the creativity to make things happen. That’s yet another positive.

And when the world re-opens and we resume the normalcy we were used to, maybe one of the positives will be less greed, fewer wants and needs, and more compassion. What we need right now is a light to begin to acknowledge that we will leave the tunnel. Watching the news, reading the articles, and staying glued to social media is not going to change what is happening. Being aware, having faith, and embracing the changes that will happen is what we should focus on.

Dealing with fragile feelings in a place like Lebanon today seems impossible. But what I know is that we, as humans, throughout history, turned the tide. And this worldwide standstill was very much needed in order for us to assess, accept, realign, and persevere.


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Post 16: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

Day 16. Still think it’s just a flu? As of this writing, Spain has recorded more than 85,000 cases; the U.S. is approaching 150,000. Imagine the numbers in refugee camps and other densely populated places where residents cannot socially distance or wash their hands. We’re still writing every day, though, as we get through this difficult time. Join us!

My Corona Blues

RafifJ in Malaga, Spain

Most days, I’m positive and grateful. Some days, like today, I’m not. On days like these, I pace around my apartment, feeling like a caged animal. Days like today don’t feel very productive even though I have work to do. My timing is off on everything, it seems, and I am irritable. I have nothing to say, nothing to write. Everything sucks. Do you ever feel that way? The thought of having another two weeks of lockdown fills me with despair.

Suddenly, my eerily-quiet street – the one where customers at Drunk-O-Rama & the Poke Bar & the disco & the Flamenco Museum used to keep the neighborhood awake and buzzing until the wee hours of the morning – wakes up. It’s Clapping Time.

With the very first clap, I remember who I’m clapping for and why. The neighbors are clapping too. My biggest issue? Not that I don’t have food or shelter; it’s that I miss my other child, the one in Virginia. But he’s alive, I’m alive, the webcam is alive. I also miss the sea, and it’s not going anywhere.

Clap Clap Clap for all those who are taking care of us – Clap even harder, because their smallest challenges are an entire universe bigger than my greatest irritation. With every clap, my mood improves. Too bad Clapping Time isn’t longer – I’d be freaking ecstatic.

I swing back to grateful me. And then:

I read Tina’s post (below) and it puts a smile on my face. I read RJD’s post, too, and realize that things will be all right, after all.

Thank you, ladies.


An Orange Man’s Fairytale

Tina F. in Fairfax, Virginia

The scene; an orange man steps up to the podium with his cronies on either side of him. They all wear arm bands emblazoned with the orange man’s face on their right arms. The orange man holds up his small hands with his fingers splayed out in salute. Everyone else does the same and they chant “We’ve Made America Great!”

The orange man speaks:

“I want to tell you a story. I’m a really good storyteller. Not too many people know that about me but I have an uncle who was a storyteller. I know everything about stories because they are directly related to the stomach…. When I was in my mother’s stomach I knew I would be a great storyteller. It’s a really great thing ..the stomach….

Well, here is my story:

The Chinese people, well you know they make things. They make cheap things that put our great American people out of work….but they make things – Well, they made this puny virus and they were showing it off to the world. They love to show off, but we can show off better than they can. No one else can show off like we can. So we let them have their time and now it’s our turn. We have the biggest virus now… it’s really a beautiful thing.

We have the most infected people in the world. Thanks to me. But no one ever says nice things about that! … but there you go…. people will thank me later.”

People in the audience cheer and cough.

“The lamestream media keeps getting in the way with a distorted version of my great story. If I were their boss I’d fire their ugly asses…unless they had nice boobs. I like boobs.

This virus is big. It’s the biggest virus I’ve seen….And I’ve seen a lot of viruses.

I built a wall around all of America. A big, beautiful, powerful wall. We will keep the virus to ourselves.

But our wall is unique….one of a kind…it makes the wall of China look like it was built a long time ago. Ours is so great…it has a door in it so we can sell our agricultural products to China. People think I don’t like China… I like China….. I like China so much I’m sending them the medical protective gear so they can see that we like them and so the world can see that America does not need protection.

And another wonderful thing…that door does not let people come in…no it is an exit door. I will be sending the Mexicans, Arabs, heck all brown people…maybe even Obama…I’ll send them out through that door. And anyone who is not nice to me too. So watch your back, you could be next through my door.”

The audience cheers and coughs and gasps for air…..

Tina F. bio: Tina graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and then received a Master of Arts degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia. In 2006, and after 17 years as an Interior Architect, Tina decided to re-focus her career on photography. She is the founder and owner of Depicting Life Photography, based in Fairfax, Virginia, and serving the DC Metro area. A lifelong learner, Tina loves to stay current with technology and new techniques.


Mindless Sunday; Many Thoughts

RJD in Beirut, Lebanon

So I took a break yesterday from Coronoia, from life, from the blog, from my work as my husband’s executive assistant. I pretended it was a normal Sunday.

On Sundays, I have a ritual. Coffee with the cats in the morning on our terrace watching the beautiful Lebanese mountains and sea (first thought, a sea contaminated by anything and everything. Second thought, how beautiful the mountains look without the pollution cloud!) Then, after breakfast and a nice jazz playlist curated by my husband, I go back to bed and catch up on my favorite series (haven’t done that since, well…) 

After a takeout lunch, I catch my husband up on the daily news and events (I didn’t have much to share because I didn’t read anything, so it was brief!) Then, I have my “self-care home spa;” a long bath with music and bubbles – no champagne! Followed by a body scrub, oils and moisturizers, a facial scrub, and masks. Clean PJs and back to watching series. 

In Corona times, I have had to add the manicure, pedicure and guess what? A haircut (thought: no not the bank haircut in our deposits!) I never thought I could do it but I did and it turned out just fine! According to my mother (thought: one remarkable lady I might add) after years of watching someone give me a mani/pedi and cutting my hair, I should have the basics down! 

Still not many more thoughts. Then, a dear friend called and we had a long catch-up conversation. She tickled my brain and thoughts started pouring out. At 8, Beirut clapped and cheered for all those amazing people in the medical, food and other sectors that are sustaining us during these difficult times. 

By 9, I fell asleep for 12 hours straight. Woke up ready to start the week with many projects on my mind. I am going to be busy planning for next month, April. That’s a thought! 

RJD Bio: From Beirut to London to Ithaca to Washington, DC, and back to Beirut, she has enjoyed a contented and grateful life adventure. RJD has had a full career spanning graduation at The George Washington University in 1985 to opening Beirut’s first personal training studio in 1997; in 2000, it became a full-fledged Pilates studio. Today, with Corona, she is a blogger/housewife who takes care of her husband and 5 cats. Down the road, she is hoping for more travel, writing, and possibly going back to school for a Master’s degree.


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Post 8: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

Growing in both numbers AND size! We’re chronicling our experiences during the #COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines, and other restrictions. Special credit to Mayya S. in Herndon, VA, who came up with the idea for us to share our experiences.

Care to join us? 

RafifJ in Malaga, Spain: Still Percolating

I’m having a hard time articulating my thoughts, so I will simply put this out there: I’m really pissed off. Sometimes we need to let thoughts percolate a little before we can articulate them, and that’s what I’m doing – percolating. Like coffee. Yum. Coffee and…a cookie. Oh wait, I ate them all.

Rana-Nature pic

RJD let me use this screenshot. No idea where it originated. No copyright infringement intended.

Seriously. I usually use (silly) humor to deal with painful subjects, but I’m running out of humor. The more news I read and watch, the angrier I get. About how so many people put money over basic human decency. About how corruption and greed are destroying the planet. About the injustices of the world, like war and refugees and homelessness. Maybe, just maybe, this global pandemic will teach us that all these evils and injustices are really unnecessary. 

Like I said, I need my thoughts to percolate a little more. In the meantime, we have some nice posts below and I hope you enjoy them!

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Sunny in Frederick, Maryland: The Universe Throws Me a Bone

The TP gods smiled on me today.

Went to Costco to pick up a prescription. There, in the middle of the store was a lone package of 30 rolls. No one was in sight around it.

charlotte tpI sidled over and gingerly picked it up, expecting someone to jump out and yell, “THAT’S MINE!” But all was silent. I scurried over to self-checkout and then made my escape.

For three days I’d been stalking Costco for TP to no good end. Some days the universe just throws you a bone.

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From RJD in Beirut, Lebanon: Quarantined Introspection

In moments between waking and naps, between meals and keeping busy, I reflect and introspect about life and beings and earth and spirituality. So interesting to note that many cultures do not wear shoes inside their homes. With the age of Corona, no one should. Even without Corona, no one should. Especially in a dirty city like Beirut.

Other cultures greet one another with palms together and a bow. Namaste. Obviously, they are the smart ones, no? They don’t spread as many germs that way…me thinks…In the U.S., my sister and mother practically used to disinfect their eyelashes until they figured out that sterilization reduces immunity. In the age of Corona, we are disinfecting and sterilizing but I worry about our immunity. My hands definitely are not happy! Don’t forget to moisturize after washing.

socially distant hug ranaThoughts keep going through my head…more positive some negative. Today, I came to the conclusion that our quarantine in Lebanon needs to be extended (like Spain) for another few weeks, especially given the numbers of people gathering in various areas. The military and the police are holding down the fort today. For me, the quarantine really began today, now that people are getting tickets for being outside, or are being taken to jail for violating the lockdown. Definitely another two or three weeks more.

That brings me to how I am going to fill my time. After the jokes and making fun of ourselves (today’s best is: “My family and I are going for a picnic today, we are heading to our balcony!”), I think it is time to become more productive. Tomorrow, I am going to start a new regime…will tell you about it when I implement. For now, Beirut time, 5 pm, clapping time is here…

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Norma B. Wallace in Bend, Oregon: Acts of Kindness

In the middle of this chaos and craziness, simple acts of kindness are appreciated. Yesterday on a hike, I had to go over a high ridge to get to the River that was my goal. The rocks I had to climb over were wet and muddy.

A young woman with her two dogs first asked if I was okay with the dogs passing me. I was. She then said to be careful; she had already fallen twice. I wondered if I should continue. I started to crawl.

Norma and Puffin

By way of introduction, this is Puffin.

She encouraged me to go on—over the ridge it was fine. She showed me a better way, then waited below until I was on top of the ridge and okay. I thanked her and she just said, “Of course.”

It was so beautiful on top to see the mountains. Then I walked down to the River and relaxed. Soaking in the sun and listening to the sounds of the water. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy those moments if that woman hadn’t encouraged me.

***

 

Tina F. in Fairfax, Virginia: Sunday Bloody Sunday

Today I joined the ranks of all the morons who think they are smart.

Yes, my friends, I had the brilliant idea to wake up at 6 am and head over to our nation’s capital, Washington DC. My husband and I were being so clever….Since everyone was staying home, the plan would be simple: we drive in and get a few photos of the cherry blossoms near the famous Tidal Basin (a place we have avoided for years because of crowds) and drive right back.

You see, I’m a photographer. My husband has become my driver so I can pop out of the car and photograph with no need to park.

Tina blogWell SURPRISE, SURPRISE!! We ain’t so clever after all!! So many people had the same idea. Apparently, there was such a large crowd there yesterday that starting today, the park police decided to close the roads and parking lots surrounding the Tidal Basin. Do you think that stopped the diehard cherry blossom seekers? Of course not! People were out en masse.

Can’t drive to it? No problem, we will walk. WTF?? Entire families were out for a stroll, not worrying about keeping their distances. I had my mouth and nose covered and kept a hefty distance from anyone I saw. I walked in the middle of the closed roads while others strolled on the crowded sidewalk. I managed to snap my shots and got the heck out of there.

Homeless-TinaToday I understood why we have to implement total lockdowns. In Washington, D.C., we should be next because this lack of judgment is disconcerting. We are all morons. Myself included.

But on an even more important note, as I walked back to the car I saw something that hit me hard.

Do you think a lockdown will help get these people indoors?

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Roula B. in Falls Church, Virginia: Hunger Games

I woke up this morning feeling like a million bucks, except that I woke up a much fatter version of me of a month ago, so add $50. Yep, the pounds are creeping on as an added ‘benefit’ of this lockdown/social distancing thing. Frankly, I don’t even know where my town falls on the hunker-down scale anymore. There are lots of rumors but also a kind of hush around the DC area with all the closings. The roads and highways continue to be quiet, but we’re still allowed to shop for food and essentials with ease. Most restaurants and cafes are operating on take-out basis only, so food is one of the few things widely available and accessible. It’s a double-edged sword. Stay home, you eat; go out, not much to do but buy food or eat it. Well, now that I’m aware of the problem, I can tackle it…. after I finish this last bag of avocado oil chips.

So I woke up feeling great because before I went to bed last night, I got a message from a yoga friend asking if I was willing to participate in a taping of a Kundalini yoga class (a trio really) given by my favorite teacher guru. She and I would be the only students while the teacher taught us and the camera. A rare opportunity to get out and do something half-normal with real people who I know and love. How could I pass it up?

You see, in an effort to serve the community and to survive, many of the yoga studios in the area have gone live online and/or relied on studio recordings. I’ve tried and enjoyed some of those classes, but there’s nothing like the energy and vibration one gets from practicing with a group of people in the same room. We’re all breathing and moving together (well, for the most part), shifting the energy and sharing this cerRoula yogatain oneness that’s held and guided by the presence of a teacher who’s walking around assisting students…with BARE HANDS!

I guess I’m also heavier because my body is sad. Our bodies NEED to be close to others in space; to move, touch, hug, and kiss. This social distancing phenomenon is making my body so sad it wants to eat all the time because it’s now only allowed to freely touch or kiss food and drink. I already miss normal yoga classes with live people. I already miss teaching yoga. The building where I live has closed off all community spaces, so I had to cancel my last two classes.

After taping the Kundalini class this morning, I hopped in my car to head home when my alarm went off. I had set it to alert me that Marianne Williamson’s Global Prayer for a Miracle was going to happen at noon EST (in five minutes). Since I happened to be very close to my favorite outdoor meditation labyrinth, I turned the car and made my way there. I recited the global prayer tearfully.

I think I’ll be returning to this labyrinth regularly in my foreseeable, restricted future. An open-air space with nothing to eat and a chance to move the body and relax the mind is exactly what’s needed right now. Grateful.

***

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Post 6: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

We are still trying to go global! A few friends and I are chronicling our experiences during the #COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines, and other restrictions. Tonight we write from Fairfax, VA, USA; Beirut, Lebanon; and Malaga, Spain. Special credit to Mayya S. in Herndon, VA, who came up with the idea for us to share our experiences.

Care to join us? 

@rafifj in #Malaga, #Spain

Day 6 of #coronavirus lockdown. I’ve been alternating between upbeat (went out, felt the sunlight, bought groceries, heard from friends & family) and devastated (count in Spain is now 20,000 and rising about as fast as everywhere else in the world).

Happy to work productively; crushed to learn about Italy’s military deployment.

Up. Down. All freaking day.

What is going to happen to us? Adam and I play around with what-if scenarios over dinner as we try to address his anxieties over high school graduation, Fall semester, and the inevitability of a prolonged lockdown.

Despite being in near-constant touch with friends and family, we feel alone. 

Blog 6_rafifMeanwhile, #Trump’s press conferences continue to be shitshows as he dominates the stage and spews idiocy when he should let the experts do the talking. What’s up with the press corps? Why aren’t journalists walking out en masse?

Here I go on my downward spiral.

But wait! Let me think nice thoughts. Clapping Time is always the best part of the day for me. For tonight’s event I called family in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and McLean, VA, and kept them on speaker so they could hear and clap with us.

Solidarity from around the world. But we’re still on our own.

***

Tina F. in Fairfax, VA

After feeling down and rather stressed out yesterday, I decided to heed the advice of my fellow bloggers. Although my husband and I are under self-quarantine, the outdoors is not off-limits (yet). So we took a drive to the country and looked at nature. Walked in the fresh air and took pictures of how nature is metamorphosing into spring regardless of the stock market crashing and the shortage of toilet paper. The cows are all out in the pasture no social distancing enforced upon them, but it looks like they instinctively know.

Yes, my friends, I feel better today.

Later I will make a list of things to accomplish daily.

Tina_Blog_Day 6

Photos by Tina F.

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RJD in Beirut, Lebanon

In Lebanon, we kiss three times when we see someone, even if we saw them yesterday!

We also hug a lot! And we double dip all our food!

This morning when I woke up, I couldn’t stop giggling: I am going to finally be liberated from all 3 of the above!!!! Thank you life-post-Corona.

We also tend to overreact and out-do one another. It’s just the way things are.

With life-post-Corona, we are all going to claim that we survived Corona. All 4 million of us! We will share stories of who got sicker, which hospital did a better job, the BEST doctor and nurse in the country, and who got more visitors while in the ICU.

What we don’t do well during the Corona lockdown is heed to the advice of the authorities. Not all of us anyhow; there was the Corniche incident on Sunday.

Yesterday, there was a spike in the numbers because some areas weren’t taking things seriously. Just like students on Spring Break in Miami. Except we don’t have Spring Break – what we have is “going for a coffee at the neighbors” or “I can withstand Corona, let’s go hang out.”

Today, my husband (who is 74) and I needed to go to a bank appointment to get money (that’s just how things work over here now – Blog 6_Ranaanother story for another day). Waiting in the lobby to get to the bank, there was no social distancing. The security guard handed out gloves with his bare hands.

The worst part was that the guard removed his mask so he could smoke, then blew smoke in all our faces. Then he took our temperatures.

HELLO? Anyone out there?

So I smile at what happens in life-post-Corona and get depressed at life during Corona. I think I will walk to the kitchen now…daily exercise…make a cup of Afghan Sweet tea and call it a day.

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