Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Be Kind. Be Aware. Be Safe.

Someone made a comment to me the other day about the absence of posts about the COVID-19 pandemic on my social media streams. They were mostly referring to my personal Facebook account. "You're usually outspoken. Candid. The only thing I've seen on your Facebook wall about the pandemic is the face mask bands you made." Well. There's a reason for that. 

Most of the posts I've seen about the COVID-19 pandemic has turned into virtual fighting matches. Lines have been drawn. People are taking sides. And, nine times out of ten, it turns into a political debate. 

Since March, I've seen posts blow up into vicious, hateful bickering matches over toilet paper, the designated hours for the elderly to do their shopping, wearing face masks, stay at home orders, landlords not being able to evict tenants for not paying rent (rent freezes), the stimulus checks, the extra $600 for those who are on unemployment, the cancellation of fairs and fireworks, etc.

I've seen videos of people rushing into retail locations and fighting over toilet paper and popular non-perishable food.

I read a comment back in March written by a woman that will forever be embedded in my brain...

"I hope all the people who hoarded flour find weevils in their bags and die of the Corona Virus."

The list goes on and on and on. I could write a daily blog column for several months about the various debates surrounding the entire COVID-19 pandemic. 

But, I'm not.

The COVID-19 pandemic isn't just something that affected the entire world and made history. It presented us with a monumental situation that most of us have never experienced. That situation, being COVID-19, stemmed off into hundreds of other issues. 

Non-essential businesses closed.

Hundreds of thousands of people were laid off or lost their jobs.

Schools closed.

Toilet paper and other paper products, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, etc., disappeared from the store shelves.

Food and other necessities disappeared from grocery store shelves too.

People were/are quarantined for an indefinite amount of time.

Wearing a mask/face covering became mandatory.

Again, the list goes on and on and on.

At the top of the list, it presented all of us with a whole new dimension of fear. And, that fear wasn't the same for everyone because despite the popular euphemism, "We're all in the same boat," very few of us were/are in the same boat. 

For example...

A married couple who both experienced being laid off and had to go weeks without income isn't in the same boat as a couple who remained employed because they're essential employees.

A landlord who relied on payment of rent to pay their mortgage isn't in the same boat as a landlord who is financially able to erase 2 months' rent from a tenants tab.

The only thing I'm going to address about the COVID-19 pandemic is the emphasis on kindness. I know it's hard. Trust me. I've had my days. Lisa is an essential employee. We're both grateful that she wasn't laid off, but at the same time, it's been stressful because she's out there. Working. Grocery shopping every other week and running the occasional errand. 

I have not stepped foot into a grocery store or any other retail location since the first week of March.

We've also had our fair share of personal concerns. We make our kid's meals and treats here at home. We rely on boneless chicken breasts, lean meats, fresh produce, flour, eggs, peanut butter, etc. I also rely on yeast to make homemade bread and other bread products. 

Thankfully, we've been fortunate enough to find these ingredients when Lisa visits the grocery store. Or, we've been lucky to have family and friends who have kept us stocked with ingredients like flour and yeast

What hasn't changed is our efforts to spread kindness whether it's in the form of a hot meal, freshly baked goodies, a card, small gifts, and encouragement.

I decided to present all of this because today our state began phase 1 of reopening. The bickering has fueled up once again. People have become divided. Nasty. Hateful.

I'm certain things are only going to get worse in the next month or so when our state continues to reopen and rent, mortgage, utility, and other payment freezes are lifted.

We need to remember to be kind.

Just. Be. Kind.

Some people will dash to their hairstylist or to the nail salons to get long-awaited cuts and colors and manicures.

Some people will push through the doors of Kohl's, T.J. Maxx the moment they open their doors to shoppers.

Some people will be the first in line to dine outdoors at their favorite restaurant.

Some people will choose to stay at home.

Some people will be afraid to return to work.

Some people will wear masks.

Some people won't.

Some people will continue to not live in fear.

Others will.

Some people will only flirt with the idea of going out because they're afraid the COVID-19 pandemic will be a repeat of the Spanish Flu.

Some people will go forth with their Summer plans and festivities.

Some people will decline invitations and postpone cookouts and pool parties until next year.


Be. Kind. 

Be. Aware.

Be. Safe.

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