It’s a rollercoaster.
I’m fortunate to have a full-time “day job” outside of The Reader that quickly moved to have as many people working from home as possible. I’m fortunate I’m still employed with insurance. I’m so grateful. I know others who are not as lucky. Meanwhile, working from home comes with its own challenges – the cats don’t understand why they aren’t the center of attention while I’m desperately trying to focus and get work done, stressing them out. Still trying to find the balance.
Then there is getting in the work zone and feeling relatively okay for a time only to raise your head and realize: Pandemic.
I’m not complaining. I have plenty to be so thankful for and hope my situation stays stable. But it’s frightening seeing the devastating daily death toll, the tragic human losses in Italy, Spain and then New York City… cases creeping up in Nebraska. The eerie resonance of a pandemic plague creeping across the nation while the transformative religious observations of Passover and Easter are marked in new ways, socially distanced ways.
The economic devastation of people out of work, the it-could-be-me sooner-or-later fear is all just overwhelming. Makes it hard to concentrate. The let’s-reopen protests, the conspiracy theories. I guess that’s the down-side of the internet. Anybody can post anything and apparently get some traction following their ideas. People now believe “alternative facts” are a real thing. I was trained as a journalist. I don’t buy it. A fact is a fact.
I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Frustrated. Scared. Exhausted. I’m trying to stay positive. Again, I know that so far I am in a good situation. But it’s hard not to grieve for those who have lost loved ones, jobs, income. The uncertainties are also overwhelming and if you look at the history of the 1918 pandemic or pay attention to the news regarding it or current predictions, the hard reality is this may go on for months, 12 to 18 months.
Meanwhile our musician community has been stopped in their tracks, months of income vanishing in a few days. The cancellations continue as do the efforts of musicians performing online to gather some income with virtual tip jars. The service industry workers are either thrown out of work or thrown into the front lines. The internet is full of music from some of my favorite artists, while I’m too distracted to pay proper attention. My home-away-from-home, Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar is just one of so many small business that are shuttered, so many small businesses closed and so many people economically thrown into crisis. Businesses and livelihoods on the verge of being destroyed, lines for food banks filling huge parking lots, people being turned away after hours with no food.
All this while we try to manage the spread of a virus about which so little is known and keep people alive. I finally found toilet paper in the store.
I used to find CNN’s Chris Cuomo pretty annoying, now his show is appointment TV as he battled Covid-19 while broadcasting from his basement, a humanizing experience he shared, turning his program into what maybe was the real reality show of the moment. His big brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefings became my lifeline about the same time after seeing the two banter on CNN. The governor’s fact-filled, calm briefings that focus on the importance of family life, how every life matters and trying to keep people safe amid untold frustrations and being rocked along with all of us as New Yorkers died in emotionally-incomprehensible numbers … Governor Cuomo’s caring, civilized talks have become a soothing oasis for me and many others in a sea of panic, misinformation and lack of real leadership on so many fronts when we need it most.
So please keep breathing through the distress, depression and uncertainties. Find joy, comfort and reassurance where you can. Honor your feelings. Support others where and how you can. Connect where you can with appropriate safety measures.
If you are on a rollercoaster too, know you are not alone.