What has coronavirus got against me?
Last Wednesday afternoon, a friend called to inform me that an annual dinner Honey and I had planned to attend Thursday had been cancelled because of coronavirus fears.
“Geez,” I complained to my friend, “There aren’t even any cases in the county yet, are there? What’s all the panic?”
Up until that moment, the coronavirus had been a topic in the news. Now, it was interfering with me personally.
Throughout the rest of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the coronavirus cancellations cascaded. Pro basketball, hockey, March Madness. Broadway theaters and high school plays. Public schools in Ohio, Maryland and other states. And on and on.
At 9 o’clock Wednesday night, my wife and I listened to President Trump’s 10-minute national address. He spoke in somber tones, outlining efforts to slow the spread of the virus, protect public health, and mitigate the economic impact.
AFTER WATCHING SOME analysis of the speech, Honey set the DVR to catch the rest and said she was going to bed.
“I’ve been thinking about whether or not I should go to church,” she suddenly announced. “I wouldn’t care if the coronavirus killed me, but if I gave it to the girls I couldn’t handle it.”
I’m used to having to go back and connect the dots in Honey’s unspoken train of thought that leads to such abrupt pronouncements.
“The girls” are our daughter Shark and daughter-in-law Miss T, whose immune systems, for different medical reasons, are not so good. If they have to fight off the coronavirus, it could be like Woody Allen fighting Mike Tyson, except not funny.
Honey and I are in the endangered demographic for this particular virus because of our age, but we have none of the underlying health issues that would put us at greater risk.
Though I agree wholeheartedly with Honey – that I’d rather die than bring harm to our children – the question is, how much do we go about our normal lives, and how much do we hunker down?
The news media are Chicken Little, and every day the Sky is Falling. We are told not to shake hands or hug, and to use our knuckles and elbows for everything we used to use fingers for, such as turning off lights and pushing elevator buttons.
We’re supposed to practice “social distancing” from people. We’re retired. We’re already socially distanced from people.
After TV experts told us we’re not supposed to touch our own faces, I realized I touch my face all the time, a million times a day. It’s my favorite face, and it has a lot of needs. How can I not touch it?
Nobody mentioned kissing. I suppose that’s really out.
WITH EVERYONE STAYING HOME, we’ll all have time to kill, pardon the expression. I’ve helpfully assembled a list of books and movies with which you might like to relax.
Movies: “World War Z,” “Virus,” “I am Legend,” “12 Monkeys,” and “Contagion.”
Popular books: “The Andromeda Strain,” “The Hot Zone,” “Outbreak,” and “A Journal of the Plague Year.”
Classic books: “As I Lay Dying,” “Death Comes to the Archbishop,” and “Love in the Time of Cholera.”
What about yard sales? Assuming people will still have yard sales this spring, that might be the hardest thing of all for Honey to give up. I don’t think she should, if for no other reason than it will be fun to watch people trying to make change for a dollar using only their knuckles.
As for me, I like staying home. I have a hundred projects I can get done around the house and farm.
Good luck out there.