A Time Like No Other

Well, here we all are in the midst of a pandemic. In my memory, it is a time like no other. Schools and theaters are silent. The shelves in grocery stores are empty. Our town’s library is closed. Even 9/11, a horrible event, wasn’t this bad. People could still go out, meet each other, live their everyday lives. Schools weren’t shut. The library remained open. The coronavirus, a tiny but potentially deadly enemy, has taken away normalcy.

When the coronavirus struck China, I took note. Right from the start, it seemed to me that this was not business as usual, equivalent to, say, a cold or to the seasonal influenza. This particular virus, a novel virus, was something our bodies had never encountered and was terribly contagious. In addition, the mortality rate was much higher than the seasonal influenza. The numbers are still in dispute, but the death rate from the novel coronavirus is anywhere between 1% and 3%, compared with 0.1% from the seasonal influenza.

Even worse, perhaps, was the novel coronavirus’s rate of infection. It just swept through people, overwhelming hospitals and the medical community in China, making a bad situation even more lethal. Nevertheless, for a while in January, it looked as though China just might be able to contain the novel coronavirus. But no. Our society is too mobile. People travel from here to there without a thought, and cheap airfare encourages them to do so. We consider it our God-given right to go where we want whenever we want. Perfect conditions for a pandemic.

When the coronavirus spread to other countries, I knew it was only a matter of time before it would come to the U.S. Our mobile society all but guaranteed it.

Several weeks ago when the shelves were full, I stocked up on groceries and that precious material—toilet paper. A week or so ago, Clif and I began practicing social distancing, an unfamiliar term before the novel coronavirus. I felt a little foolish to turn down invitations to go out with friends, but I figured better safe than sorry.

I don’t feel foolish anymore now that the novel coronavirus has come to the United States. As it spreads daily, the novel coronavirus is something to be taken seriously. In fact, Clif and I consider it our civic duty to stay the heck away from other people. It is true that eventually we might become infected. However, if we can help it, we  want to avoid being part of the first wave of sick folks that overwhelms the medical community. What’s happening in Italy right now is heartbreaking. They didn’t take the coronavirus seriously and now  there are too many sick people and not enough supplies. This means many doctors are having to make decisions about who lives and who dies. Elderly people are dying without anyone to hold their hand.

Over the next few weeks or months or however long we stay home because of the novel coronavirus, I will be writing about how it has affected various aspects of our lives. Along with staying the heck away from other people, I feel it is my duty as a writer to face this horrible pandemic and to record my experience from the hinterlands.

But I will also continue to record what is going on in our very own backyard as winter turns to spring and the flowers begin to bloom. That is part of dealing with the virus, too. The return of life is a great consolation.

So dear blogging friends, stay safe, be well. And we will try to do the same.






62 thoughts on “A Time Like No Other”

  1. One advantage to living rurally is our limited exposure, but we have family and friends in crowded areas. Hoping you and yours are safe. How is Dee doing living in the city? I’m sure you must be worried, at least she is young and strong.

      1. You bet. According to the CDC, Clif and I are elderly and should stay put. How lucky we are that we work from home and don’t have to go out to earn our keep!

    1. Yes, yes! Dee is doing well. She is working from home, and since she is an extreme introvert, this suits her just fine. Thanks so much for asking. Hope your sons are safe and well!

  2. I too have been monitoring the situation for a long time and have cancelled holidays and all sorts of things until the end of May. I decided to self-isolate last Wednesday, just one more thing I had to do on Thursday, and since then I have been at home. Everyone I told last week thought I was wrong/mad/strange …… but now it is obvious that it was right to do so.
    3 – 4 months of quiet crafting feels like a huge gift to me. I am lucky, I can easily do this, I have my art, my yarny crafts and a ready made social life online.
    My Mum’s Care Home is closed to visitors, it is the right decision. I hope she does not die without us there, I will be very sad, but she is at the far end of dementia and will know little about it.
    I am mainly treating this time like a game and thinking of creative strategies, for instance I set the alarm to go shopping at 6am on Sunday morning – I was the only one in the shop, the shelves were full.
    My grandchildren can come and see me from the end of my garden if they want to and we will do silly waving and dancing – and of course we have Facetime.
    I have been batch cooking for the freezer in case I become ill and have stocked up on Paracetamol. I am 67, with no underlying health issues, if I get the virus, I will be scared, but I think I will be ok.
    Stay safe and healthy Laurie and Clif.

    1. I was so moved by this comment. Also, makes me smile to think of you and your grandchildren and the silly waving and dancing. Oh, I hope your mom doesn’t die alone. Stay well, be safe. And keep in touch!

  3. Our kids keep asking us “have you seen stuff like this before?” They are trying to gauge their level of concern. And we say Y2K was weird like this and 9/11 (being near Philly between New York and Washington) was a real freak out. But this is different. We are not used to the idea of NOT being able to go out and do what we want and buy what we need. LOTS of other people in the world are. But we are not. And the thought of needing hospital attention and not being able to get it – because the system is overwhelmed – well – that is brand new to us.

      1. For me, for many of us, it is truly a time like no other. Now we must rise to the occasion like those folks did in the 1600s when plague came to their village. What a story!

    1. So well put, Jodie. This truly is a time like no other. Y2K was different because it was something we could prepare for. I know this because I lived with a geek who did this for the small organization he worked for. Across the county, other geeks were doing the same thing, and 2000 came without a hitch. 9/11 was a freakout, that’s for sure, but at least we could still meet with friends and do the ordinary things of life. Well, onward, ho! Stay safe, be well. And keep in touch!

  4. Our borders are closed to non residents, but schools still open. Gatherings of more than 500 are banned, and some other events have been closed. We have cinema tickets for the weekend and am in two minds whether to go. Our office is still open though am working at home some days. All so scary. Friends in Germany are stuck in the towns where they live.

  5. We’re here at home. We have gone for a ride in the car to witness the fine weather and oncoming Spring. I will do a lot of gardening this year, spend time outdoors. This is a gift. Here in small town Maine, it’s easy to go days without encountering a neighbor, so self quarantine is easy to maintain.

  6. We are slowing things down here in Canberra too, we are going to garden, read, write and follow up on family history. Time well spent will keep our minds quiet.. & ever hopeful of a vaccine in the near future.best wishes in Maine ..💕

  7. It will be a testing time. Luckily, cycle rides by elderly people are allowed so weather permitting, I shall be able to take some exercise.

  8. We came back early from SC as this issue escalated. I brought some supplies from SC and found some locally this morning. As you noted, things are closed like our favorite library. I will be able to do this for a couple of weeks, but I sure hope we aren’t talking months because that would start to infringe on the ability to live life. Jodie made two interesting points about Y2K and 9/11. Y2K seemed so technical and out of our reach, we talked about it but left it up to the IT folks. It was like waiting for the sky to fall, but it didn’t. 9/11 gave us a common enemy which caused us to band together, grieve, and wave the flag proudly. This situation affects each individual’s basic human needs, and in general we aren’t behaving nicely. We’re spending hours each day talking about toilet paper. I’ll stop right here. Stay safe, friend.

    1. So glad you are home! I have been worrying about you. Y2K could have been bad except the geeks came to the rescue and had everything under control. I know this because I live with a geek who was doing his bit for a small organization he worked for. As were geeks all across the country. That’s why the sky didn’t fall. 😉 9/11 was a terrible time but not as bad as this. Sigh. Let’s hope the scientists come to the rescue, and let’s hope that we, as a society, decide science is worth funding and supporting.

  9. Do you also get the feeling that the entire situation is surreal, Laurie? When we watch the news, it resembles a disturbing movie. Too bad we can’t simply turn it off and be done with it.

  10. Thank you for your thoughts and, as you are going to be writing more about it all in the coming weeks and months, maybe you could write us a happy ending. 😉

    1. I will do my best. There actually are some positive things to write about, and I will feature them in upcoming posts. Don’t know if they will make up for the bad, but there is at least a glimmer of light.

  11. Here in the UK the government is planning to instruct all over 70’s to self-isolate for 3 or 4 months. It will end just as I turn 70! but I will still stay home more han usual if only because so many events are being cancelled. I spoke to some friends who are 70+ on Sunday and they were hoping this measure will be brought in – what better excuse to avoid meetings and have more time in their own garden? I am so lucky to live here with a strong community so lots of people who will help me get supplies if necessary, plenty to do without going out and places where I can walk without getting close to others. I too will keep on blogging – I might actually have enough time to write more!

  12. I feel lucky that it’s just husband and me and our dog. Much easier to manage than those with kids in school or elderly living with them. For me, I don’t anticipate that much change. Sure band was cancelled, concerts I would have attended aren’t happening, play dates with the dog and friends will be postponed. But overall, I get to stay in my house, hunkered down, much like we live anyway. I am feeling bad about the health care workers, the servers in restaurants, the people now unemployed. I’m checking on my elderly and sick neighbors, I’m cooking more food so that husband can share it with his brother who typically went out to eat for every meal and now can’t do that. Otherwise I think we’re lucky here, to be able to function pretty much like we have always done.

  13. It is interesting to see how people respond and deal with the current situation in different countries Laurie and keeping a written record will contribute to our understanding of the bigger picture later. Wishing you and your family stay safe and well xxx

  14. I’m 61 so just over the age line. Luckily I can work from home though at this moment things are not so busy. I write reports. Friday I’ll have a meeting over video conferencing. The garden is surely a haven for my sanity, though things are just starting to happen. Stay well.

    1. Very glad you can work from home. Yes, it is just beginning. On the excellent show “On Point,” I heard a guest say this would be a marathon, not a sprint. Thank goodness for the garden. You are ahead of us, and I look forward to seeing pictures of your flowers. As for me, I swept the patio yesterday and found it a cheering thing to do.

  15. We’ve also been paying attention since the beginning and taking safety measures for weeks. We’re following the social distancing and other recommendations and even with those I have a constant worry since I’m around family that absolutely cannot be exposed and our county has the highest rates in the state. I’m glad you’re recording the experience since I often see my thoughts reflected in your writing.

    1. Oh, I hope you and your family stay safe and well. Such a worry when vulnerable people are at risk. Also, thanks for the kind words. My way of dealing with the situation is to read and write. It’s what I do. Other people have other ways. No one way.

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