There is something very strange about living through this global crisis in a relatively small, semi-rural community. It feels very far away. It feels like something that is happening to other people.
This is dangerous, and we must all be on guard against not taking this seriously enough.
My town is incredibly fortunate. Most of the folks up here have money. Most of the rest of us have been here for a long time. We have yards. We have neighborhoods that are optimal for taking walks. We have quiet dirt roads, where drivers know to look out for hikers, bikers, deer, elk, dogs, foxes, coyotes, etc. We have dogs to walk, and plenty of space to stay six feet away when we catch up with our neighbors, walking their dogs.
Self-isolating in a community like this is essentially an enforced staycation.
The more you stay home, the more distant things seem. It makes me wonder if the massive wars of the last century felt this far away from the folks back home. Perhaps they did until the dreaded telegrams began to arrive. This will get a lot more personal for all of us it hasn’t hit yet when it impacts someone we know. It certainly doesn’t feel distant to people in New York City.
It also feels a lot closer to home when you watch good reporting. This is our first really large national crisis with such a plurality of media sources. I find myself missing Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw. The voices of authority for me are Judy Woodruff and Hari Sreenivasan, but there have been several excellent pieces on the NBC and CNN apps on our firestick.
I think we have to give a lot of credit to our reporters, bringing us into the real situation. It is essential for those of us who are fortunate enough to be untouched so far. Reporters are doing a difficult job without the many of the tools of their trade, and often remotely. On the whole, they have risen to the occasion.
But still, in an era where we can all broadcast, it is hard to know who to trust. Are you reassured by the Cornell doctor who said in an online Q&A that if you follow all the rules, and sanitize your hands relentlessly, you are unlikely to get this? Or do you take your cues from news stories advising you to sanitize your groceries? It’s confusing.
There is a danger that, as things get more confusing, people will tune out. This will seem more, instead of less distant, and they will relax their vigilance. I don’t know how you keep this from happening, but I fear the consequences. Keep tuning in to reputable news sources. Keep making this real to yourself (without going overboard and throwing yourself into the morass of anxiety and depression, of course!)
Signing off. Stay safe, everyone, and take care of each other.