Seismic Shifts

I am a couple of days late with this post (I’m trying to post Tuesday and Friday for school, not that it’s a hard and fast rule). As everyone knows, the last week has been kind of incredible with the spread of COVID-19, and it’s only the beginning of the curve.

My month started with having to take my mother to the ER for a different ailment. The day after I got her home, one of my best friends (going back to my bachelor’s in college) had his father unexpectedly die. Four days later, another friend from that circle had her father die, unexpectedly. I’m grieving for both of my friends and I haven’t been able to give them any support other than virtual. With the new virus, I have to extraordinarily careful – my mom is at risk, I have risk factors, and I have to care for her.

I’m not the only one. The National Center for Trans Equality posted this link on what trans people need to know. Some trans people are at more risk just because they’re trans. I’m old enough to appreciate that we can even have a conversation about how something affects trans folks.

COVID-19 has interrupted many lives so far, and as of today, the Ides of March, the interruptions are just the beginning. As of right now, Americans are amazed that we have had to cancel so many events, gatherings, festivals, meetings, going to work, or going to school. Some still think “it’s not that bad” or that they’re safe because the higher risk is to the older folks. No one is really safe, though. It’s a shock to our American system – I’ve seen some young adult people assert that being told to stay home is an assault on their freedom. That the virus isn’t that bad. I suppose everyone is free to be stupid. It’s irresponsible to put oneself and others at risk because of selfish “freedom.” But, Americans don’t do well with thinking about more than how something affects ME.

Which leads to the second observation – hording. Because some people are so short sighted as to only think of themselves and not the greater community, we have shortages on our shelves. Profiteers have gobbled up hand sanitizer to turn around and sell it online to a high bidder. Toilet paper is hard to find. Other supplies are running because of greed and selfishness. We will need to move to another model where we help each other, as another example I saw tonight – where a woman who badly needed paper products for herself and her baby was able to make a trade with her friend circle – paper products for pasta and other food.

When I went to the store to pick up some things for myself, I marveled at what was gone. I knew about the TP and tissues. Hamburger. Yogurt. Pasta. Sauce. Canned food. Soup. What occurred to me, with the food stuffs, is that Americans also have lost the art of cooking. The Campbells’ Soups that were left on the shelves were the ones that are used to cook with! The creams of —— (name it. There’s even a cream of bacon now). All of the “heat and eat” soups were gone. I’m glad Cooking is an Eagle Required Merit Badge again, seems we sorely need it. Most of what was gone were the “quick and easys.”

Watching all of this unfold – Americans younger than I (and I’m almost 50) – have NO IDEA what it means to not be able to get anything they want, anytime, by walking into a store or ordering online. The idea of short supply of ANY ITEM is beyond us. I barely remember not being able to have anything I wanted at any time. I remember a stupid Texas Blue Law (related to no alcohol sales on Sunday – I couldn’t have TOYS on Sunday either!!!) I know Amazon has spoiled me, but even without Amazon – many of our stores can get us anything we want. Waiting is weird. We might have to go to rationing. That’s going to change our culture in a hurry.

Another cultural disruption is that Americans do not know how to stop. We are on the go all the time. Always doing, always going, the culture moves us and pushes us – if we’re not doing something, going somewhere, something is wrong with us. We’ve amped up more in the last couple of decades with technology, we’re always one call or email away from work – if that’s the type of work we do. Some people are hustling all the time just to survive; working two or three different part time jobs with no benefits.

The culture we’ve enabled and become over the last twenty to thirty years is going to come to a screeching train wreck this month. It’s going to be catastrophic change for younger folks who don’t know any other way of life.

I am disturbed that young people are so lost. They don’t know who to trust. The media has been portrayed as evil. (and to be fair, some parts of media are not trustworthy at all – but we’ve failed to teach young people where the “meat” is compared to the bubble fluff.) They don’t trust our leaders or our government. I’ve heard young people assert they’d prefer anarchy and starting over. My God. The loss of life in something like that would be staggering; but they can’t see the cause and effect.

That lack of cause and effect leads me back to where we are going to suffer. Folks can’t understand science. They can’t interpret data. They stubbornly hold on to “MY FREEDOM” over any sense of “OUR COUNTRY”. They’re not seeing that we’re all in this together, and I fear this will be our downfall.

At the same time – I can’t blame young folks for thinking that way. Our Country has FAILED them. They’re drowning in debt, can’t earn enough money to raise a family (which is what most people are driven to do). My grandfather drove a beer truck. My father complains they grew up poor – but he had three kids and they were able to buy a house, the one my grandmother died in and my aunt still lives in. Too many people who serve, protect, take care of all of the basics of society…. cannot afford to live. I’ve seen posts about “eat the rich” – what Bloomburg spent on his short Presidential campaign could have fixed so many problems that our American CITIZENS are living with; who can blame them for their anger?

But for today, I cooked for me and my mom. I had a good visit with her. I’m keeping in contact with those I love, via the technology that we have – tech that was fantasy when I was a child. I am doing my best to be safe, keep hope and joy alive, even though I fear history repeating itself may render the story I’d like to live moot.

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