Strange days indeed. Restaurants closed, stores and malls closed, museums closed, bars closed, movie theaters closed, concerts and sports seasons canceled or delayed, the Master’s and Boston Marathon postponed. Borders are closed, international travel banned for non citizens to and from many countries.
This is not a hoax and it’s not fake news. It’s not the flu. Yes, lots of people die from the flu but we have treatments and vaccines for it. We don’t for this (yet, but we will) and that means it’s even more life threatening to those who are vulnerable. That’s the difference. That’s why we need to stay put and social distance. I can’t comprehend why that’s hard to understand, but that’s why. Simply put. Believe me or not, better yet believe the doctors and public health experts or not and while the haters and conspiracy theorists rant online about how this is all made up and overblown, be a good citizen and do it from home. Please don’t endanger your elderly grandmother or diabetic father or a friend’s grandparent with heart disease or someone you don’t even know’s whoever with whatever condition. If I’m wrong and the experts are wrong, well, we’ll all be glad, and you can be as smug as you want then. In the meantime, please abide what they’re asking you to do.
Needless to say after seven years of planning, our much planned and much looked-forward to world tour is on hold. We are staying put and doing our part to social distance until we can, responsibly, go back out and see the world and write about our experiences. It’s a bummer for us, but it’s not the end of the world, even if we can’t recoup refunds for all of the stuff we’ve already booked for this spring and summer. This too shall pass and I happen to think we will all be better people for it in the end. Maybe we’ll even share the hand sanitizer and toilet paper next time if this ever happens again.
All that said, there’s a lot of good going on in the world right now: bipartisan cooperation in Washington; companies waiving late fees for people who can’t pay their bills; municipalities aren’t evicting people; grocery stores are opening early only for the elderly so that they can feel safe when shopping; professional athletes and sports teams are paying the hourly employees in their franchises; neighbors and strangers buying things for those who feel compromised or are sick; the oft-demonized pharmaceutical companies stepping up and the government breaking down red tape to get vaccines and treatments developed and tested. Even the airlines are starting to act with human compassion and waive their atrocious change fees. Sure, there are bad people hoarding and selling at unconscionable prices things like hand sanitizer but they’ll get theirs in the end in the magical world of karma. Most importantly, we all owe a tip of the hat and thank you for the hospital workers, nurses, doctors, primary care physicians and pharmacists on the front lines. We need you, be safe, be well and bless you. Good is outweighing bad overwhelmingly. As Ellen Degeneres would say, keep being kind to one another. This too shall pass, God, society and luck willing.