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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Eighteen months, I figure. Based on the four influenza and two coronavirus pandemics of the past 100 years, eighteen months seems like a reasonable length of time to achieve a measure of stability. What’s more, we have six months of experience to build on as we go forward. Time to restock, manage expectations, and prepare for the winter to come. I’ve made some decisions, some preparations, and a few changes.

My ongoing thesis is that now is not the time to get COVID. Research on the long-term effects is just beginning. To understand long-term effects, you have to have a long term to look at. Longer than six months. In six more months we can accumulate some meaningful data and sound analysis. Using the same logic, I plan to get my vaccination in about six months. Even the best research cannot condense a year’s long-term effects into three months.

So how to approach the next six months? I’ve already made a few changes and I plan to make more. I think of them as physical and mental upgrades, but the boundaries blur .

Living like a Hobbit

Physical Upgrades:

  1. Overconfidence may bring an upsurge in the fall and winter, so with each grocery order I’ve added a little extra to the pantry. I might have to live like a Hobbit.
  2. A fall mask and a Christmas mask are part of the prepping, plus a box of generic disposable masks as needed.
  3. I will continue to avoid stores by shopping on line.
  4. But I’m seeing friends a little more, in ones and twos. Conversation is therapeutic! Outdoors preferred–taking a walk together, having lunch with outdoor seating, visiting on the patio or on the beach. Distancing and/or masks as we deem appropriate.
  5. My two weekend trips (the forests of Yosemite/Sequoia and the beach in Carlsbad) have been so uplifting that I’m planning to do more. Next trip is to revisit Yosemite Dec. 4-7. Always have something to look forward to.

Mental Upgrades:

  1. Mantra for the fall: Reduce negative news noise. So I’ve disabled most alerts on my devices. I don’t need KTLA-5 alerting me each time the governor gives an update.
  2. With McLuhan in mind, “The medium is the message.” I’m now reading my news sources online during the day and avoiding the reverberating sound bites of television news.
  3. After dinner comes a welcome time to learn (economic or medical podcasts, history documentaries) and escape (film noir, old comedies, sci fi, light sit coms–like the Brit box gem “Waiting for God.”). Last Saturday we stayed up until 2 AM watching YouTube videos of our favorite songs. And I woke up at 8:30, in time to get dressed for Zoom church at 9!
  4. Practicing the piano more, singing to Pandora: music always gives me a lift.
Getting in the mood

Fall decorations, cooler days, earlier sunsets welcome in a new season. A good time to reconnect with emails, phone calls, and cards. This Thanksgiving and Christmas will no doubt be different. But in the middle of it all, maybe we will find something worth keeping.

YouTube videos I’ve loved:

Covid Mask (from Monster Mash) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dThiYFgI_g

Quarantine (is not quite over): (from Billie Jean). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygdB-ZE0daY

22 Musicals In 12 Minutes w/ Lin Manuel Miranda & Emily Blunt, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_TvKH-qEJk

Today’s Notable Headlines

“The Road Ahead: Charting the coronavirus pandemic over the next 12 months — and beyond,” STAT, Sept. 22, 2020. https://www.statnews.com/feature/coronavirus/the-road-ahead-the-next-12-months-and-beyond/

“50 fun things to do this fall (take your pick),” CNN, Sept. 22, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/22/health/fall-fun-things-to-do-wellness/index.html

“First Day of Fall: The science behind it,” WRBL, Sept. 22, 2020. https://www.wrbl.com/weather/wx-facts/first-day-of-fall-the-science-behind-it/

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 pandemic experience 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.

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