May 25-May 26, 2020

“Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

What kind of destiny are we forming? It was a hybrid weekend. Part opened up and part locked down and not at all “normal.” For me nothing since January and February of 2020 has been normal, so those are my standard. Those months had open stores, open beaches, open churches, birthday parties, and vacation plans. Now going anywhere seems daring. I was daring twice this weekend.

Saturday we went to Lowe’s to buy a bag of sunflower seeds for the birds, rabbits, and squirrels and potting soil for my summer planting projects. This time there was no line to get in and few people inside. We wore masks, went straight for what we wanted, and then I went back to the car while John checked out. I did look at a few plants, hoping to find some basil, parsley, and mint, but I felt rushed and left quickly. The rushed feeling came from within, a weird nagging in my head that said, “You shouldn’t be here.” It was illogical and uncomfortable.

I’m a big believer in neural pathways, and mine are changing. It’s not fear of COVID. It’s change of habit. The part of me that likes to stay home is winning because it’s just easier. Like raindrops on a window, my neurons seek the path of least resistance.

Sunday, with nothing planned, was a relief. I joined Zoom church at 9:00 AM and Zoom family check-in at 6:00 PM. I didn’t like Zooms at first, but now I look forward to both. Zoom church has familiar faces, beautiful psalms, and singing. I sing joyfully right here at my desk. Zoom family check-in brings the faces of my children and grandchildren, little Kira and lately my sisters-in-law as well. We check in from Atlanta, from Springfield (Virginia), from Pensacola, from Honolulu, San Diego, Palmdale, and Rancho Santa Margarita. We share news about the family and COVID and what’s changing this week. Zoom has become a pleasant habit.

Monday, Memorial Day, was really different. John and I packed beverages and snacks and actually went to a friend’s house where she and her daughter have been “sheltering in place.” This was a first for all of us. We sat around the patio table, properly distanced, and talked, and sat in the jacuzzi two at a time. We ordered box dinners for pickup and John picked up Ozzie and brought him back so we could stay longer. Ozzie loved it and we all had a good time. Being with old friends feels different, but comfortable.

Regulatory fog

Opening churches is big news this weekend. The President has called for it, state governors are laying down their conditions (or not), churches are laying down their conditions (or not), and the regulatory fog is getting thicker. Here’s what I like: the Catholics are considering choirs opening in their phase three. Choirs may be last, but at least they’re in the queue.

Here’s what I don’t like. The state government discourages hugging, singing, shaking hands, and potluck dinners. I’m not saying whether they’re right or wrong at this particular time. But my neural pathways reject a church with masks and no hugging or singing. At least with Zoom, the smiles and songs are still there.

The Episcopal Church website says to be patient, there will “likely be a lag time between the lifting of restrictions by local authorities and the implementation of new diocesan protocols. ” https://diocal.org/covid-19-advisories . And that’s okay.

Now it’s Tuesday. Back to my “new” routine, which feels normal now. Writing all morning. Nap and walk in the afternoon. Tending to the dog, the fish, and the garden, filling trays outdoors for the birds, rabbits, and squirrels. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, but is it me?

“But I will find new habits, new thoughts, new rules. I will become something else.”
— Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))

What will we become?

Today’s Notable Headlines

“Coronavirus updates: Barbershops, hair salons can reopen in most of California, Newsom says,” Sacramento Bee, May 26, 2020. https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-updates-california-reports-lowest-151150663.html

“California battle over reopening churches isn’t over despite new coronavirus rules,” Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-26/california-battle-over-reopening-church-isnt-over-even-with-new-coronavrus-rules

“Humans ‘not meant to be alone’: Many Americans haven’t seen or touched another person in 3 months because of COVID-19,” USA Today, May 26, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/24/covid-19-pandemic-keeps-many-americans-seeing-touching-someone/5228464002/

“Is coronavirus canceling summer vacation for 2020? It depends who you ask,” USA Today, May 26, 2020.https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-canceling-summer-vacation-2020-110040258.html

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the events of these days from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.

You are on History’s Edge.

One thought on “Pandemic Days 76-77: Going Out

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