If I Had a Nickel…

If I had a nickel for every time a blog idea has come to me lately when I’m either in the middle of something (like cooking and needing to stir) or driving or have no quick access to paper and pen to jot the idea down….. Well, since I’m only talking in nickels, I’d probably only have enough for a small cup of coffee at the local convenience store, but still… So I’m going to start writing about something that’s been on my mind lately and see where it takes me….

Can you believe it’s been a year now since we were “officially” told that our country was in a pandemic? Remember back in those initial days when we were all struggling to find out what was going on, and when fear made people hoard toilet paper(I still haven’t figured out why that item!) and we faced shortages? Remember when disposable cleaning wipes then became out-of-stock as well (that one makes sense to me). Remember when we were at 100% lockdown except for basic needs companies? Our local Dollar Tree was permitted to remain open because they have about 5 feet of OTC medicines on shelves in the entire store! Convenience stores that also sold gasoline were allowed to remain open and you can sure bet that people also bought milk, soda, prepared hot foods, snacks and cigarettes at the same time. I could still go to see my chiropractor because that was considered essential. I think, if we hadn’t been so afraid and panicked, that we might have found better ways to decide what were and were not essential businesses, or limit those who had some essential products to be allowed to sell only those. In the meantime, employees of essential businesses were expected to go to work every day and take chances with their health, but owners/operators of businesses who only have one customer in the building at a time were closed because their services were considered non-essential. Yet, we wanted those 25 or 30 or 50 or more employees in the grocery stores at the same time plus customers and that was less risky somehow?

And now, we have vaccines and even a simple mind like me understands that a vaccine isn’t a cure, doesn’t make you immune to the virus. I don’t even want to go into that rant!

And now the United States has had over 500,000 deaths as a result of this virus or complications from it. Based on the fact that the last count of people living in the US (2019) was over 328 million, some people consider that “sad” but in comparison to the number of residents living in the country, a relatively low number. I want to ask them this hypothetically: “If you had 328 million in investments and someone swindled you out of 500,000 of those investments, are you likely to think to yourself, ‘oh hey, that’s sad, but I still have plenty of money left so it’s no big deal?'” Yea, I think not!

And we have Trump and DeJoy to thank for what is still happening with the Postal Service because of removing and trashing sorting machines in order to delay mail-in votes (in case they were for Biden). I posted on another social media platform recently that 3 of my 4 recent Priority Mail boxes were not delivered in the time promised and which I paid for! I actually drove 15 minutes out of my way to ship something UPS, which cost me more than the USPS, because of this! I’m not so much angry about the delays, because I realize the USPS is doing the best it can, but if they can’t deliver in the promised time for which I paid, I think some sort of refund should be issued! And now there is talk about privatizing the Postal Service and taking it out of the hands of the executive branch of the federal government. Just think about – imagine – the rise of charges when it is corporation-run and the corporation wants, of course, to make a profit from owning it! We all complain each time the price of stamps rises by a few cents each – imagine the services you are currently receiving are cut in half and the prices for the services we do still offered are doubled. I believe that part of the reason the USPS is in the red is because we all have technology on our side to make getting a message to someone instantaneous! Send a text, send an email… Of course, in another 20 years’ time, no one will even know how to write or use a pen or pencil!

So here we are – a year into the pandemic and honestly, the only thing that’s greatly improved is that you can now once again buy toilet paper!!! The news on the horizon about these new variants of the virus doesn’t look promising for the near future and I’ve read reports that we need to be prepared to still be wearing masks into 2022. When the vaccines first came out, a lot of us were sure we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think we were all naive and that light we see is actually the headlight beam of an oncoming train…

Do You Remember?

Let’s face it. The pandemic has been a part of our lives for at least nine months now, President Trump not having declared the Corona virus a national emergency until March 12th. Here in the US, the political turmoil that should have ended with Election Day in November continues to plague us and I suspect will do so until at least January 20th, if Inauguration Day goes off without a hitch. These two things have taken all of our focus and are why we all agree that the year 2020 pretty much sucks! Well those, and the toilet paper shortage due to hoarding!

But the year didn’t start in March with the announcement that the virus had become a pandemic! In January, these events made national and international news: the Australian Wildfires the Iran-US Conflict, the Ukrainian Plane Crash, the Taal Eruption, the plane crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

And February had its share of note-worthy and unpleasant news: a gunman attacked a Greyhound bus and, on the same day, a shooting occurred at Texas A&M University, a ruptured gas line in Corpus Christi, Texas caused massive destruction with flames reaching over 150 feet, the Boy Scouts of America filed bankruptcy as hundreds of sexual abuse claims made their way into court, an over 206 million gallons of sewage that made its way into Fort Lauderdale’s water supply was discovered, a mass shooting occurred in Milwaukee, as well as a shooting outside of a popular Atlanta restaurant.

Other shootings, and fires, and riots and so many other things happened in 2020 besides the pandemic! But we seem to be so caught up in the anxiety of the pandemic that we’ve forgotten all of the lives and property lost because of other terrors that have ripped through the world this year.

2020 was yet another year that we lost many beloved celebrities. And, as usual, California had to deal with massive brush fires. Joe Exotic, who found instant fame as the “Tiger King”, was convicted on two counts of murder-for-hire. Megxit, when Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, chose to leave the Royal Family and the country, happened effective March 31st, 2020. These are some other things that made national and international news in 2020.

But we’re so fixated on the pandemic of COVID-19! Yea, it’s still really scary for each and every one of us. This virus knows no gender, no race, no age, the health of the person it affects. We can be very proactive about protecting ourselves from contracting COVID, but the only 100% guarantee is to live alone in a bubble and have simply no contact with anyone! One person I know has completely barricaded herself inside her home, only venturing outside to walk around her front yard if no one else is nearby or to relax in her back yard if no neighbors nearby are out. But her husband goes off to work every day, and he could bring the virus home to her without knowing. Her son played some sports early in the school year, and while she masked and distanced herself from the crowd of parents also there to cheer their sons on, the boys played without masks, and the game requires physical closeness and some possible physical contact, so….

Again, we simply cannot guarantee ourselves 100% prevention without that bubble. And yes, we’re all anxious about the second spike happening, and yes, we want it to be over. I’m simply suggesting that we remember that there are trials and tribulations that affect someone in the world every day. Let’s not forget to care about those things and those people, too. There will be car accidents, and house fires, and sadly, shootings that will occur every day in some part of the world. People will lose their loved ones, not even necessarily from the COVID virus, and will be dealing with pain and grief. We need to remember that the world will keep spinning on its axis and the calendar pages will keep turning as days and months go by.

Be proactively careful. Mask up. Use social distancing steps. Avoid being in a mass of people, including your loved ones. Limit your exposure, but don’t let the precautions limit you. There is still hope for this world, and hope in each of us. Let’s quit obsessing about something over which we have no guaranteed control. More than ever, reach out to the needy in any way that is safe to do so. Be kind to everyone, and especially the ‘essential workers’ who risk their lives by going to work every day so that we have and/or able to get what we need. And pray for those who experience loss in any way during this pandemic. Let’s all work together!!!!!