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Ramblings of a Stay at Home Worker

Let me begin by first saying THANK YOU to all of those front line, essential employees who are out there every day combating an invisible enemy. As I sit here in the safety of my home working, I think of all of those out there working - those who are not able to work at home due to the nature of their jobs - those who are out there taking care of the sick and others who are working in stores and businesses so the rest of us can stay at home and be safe.

And I am sure all of those out there working are thinking of those of us who are working in the safety of our homes and maybe thinking it’s like a vacation. Trust me it isn’t, but still it is much less stressful than going out into the world where unknown and unseen dangers are waiting to cling to whomever walks by. I think of all of those who have lost jobs or had to leave their jobs because of safety concerns. I think of all of those school children who are stuck at home with their parents who are now teachers and are worrying about everything from making sure the kids get their school work done, to paying their bills and having to live life behind closed doors with all the people they love the most who are now the people they just need a break from. Yes I can sit in the safety of my home working because of the nature of my job, so you may wonder as I too have wondered, what right do I have to even write about this time in history. Well, perhaps I don’t but here goes anyway……..

We started the year with high hopes of the year 2020 – you know all the catch phrases of 2020 vision and all the hopes we have as a new year begins that it will be our best year ever. At least that is what all the NEW YEAR greetings say. Little did we know this was about to be a year that would have the greatest impact on the world as a whole for decades. Little did we know that something was silently creeping around the world that would touch every one’s “home land”. So since mid-March we were suddenly aware that our world was about to change in ways we had never imagined. Well, if you are a Walking Dead fan (like me) then you may have imagined this and you may have even imagined that you might be prepared for something like this. Well, that is a great big ROTFLMBO!!! So far we don’t have a Rick Grimes and Michonne to lead the way. Well, maybe we do in the scientists and physicians as this is still unfolding. But anyway, back to my musings.

Here is what I have learned:

1. My neighbors are fantastic at following the suggestions –everyone suddenly started staying home – waving from across the yard or street – asking if we are OK – checking on other neighbors from a distance - so imagine my surprise when I got out into the “real” world of Walmart. I went to get things for my 91-year-old neighbor and my animals.

This was even several days after we were aware of the Rona stalking us. OMG! Holy Cow! What is it with all the toilet paper and paper towels disappearing? It’s kinda strange how we learn things but have no understanding of the why, no concept of the reason we learned something, but just know we have this knowledge and don’t know why it is important but know it is something we will never ever forget. So, I have learned that no matter what happens in the world, and even if I have a supply of toilet paper and paper towels, that I must buy more because there must be a reason that I will need it that surpasses my ability to understand the why. So….

#1 Buy toilet paper and paper towels – IT DOES NOT MATTER IF I DO NOT NEED IT AT THE TIME – BUY IT ANYWAY!!!

2. 24-hour news shows drive me crazy. Not one of those news shows that I have found anyway – gives unbiased facts only accounts of what is going on in the world. And then they spend hours and hours and hours with talking heads recounting and just saying the same things over and over. Same perspective coming out of a different head using different words. So you wonder, how do I know this and if these shows drive me crazy why would I listen to them – well, here is the thing – I live with someone who has it on 24/7 and me being the gentle kind generally loving person I am – want to throw her and the TV out the door. I want to scream and yell and cuss (and I don’t even cuss) and get drunk (and I don’t even drink) and my blood pressure is rising as I am writing this so let me be brief with my #2 because if I get started into all of this, I think my head will literally explode.

#2A 24 HOUR NEWS SHOWS SHOULD BE BANNED – they don’t inform – they just wrap all the news around whatever their political bias is and talk about it for hours on end.

#2B This goes for those who stand by their own political party (whatever that may be) instead of checking all facts and all data and standing on their own instead of blindly supporting whatever their particular political party tells them they should be supporting or believing. Yes, I totally realize it is difficult to get just unbiased facts and data, but at least study facts and data that go against your belief and perceptions. Study, don’t just skim and discount opposing perspectives. And on social media please keep your political views to yourself. If I want to know about a particular political person or view trust me – I won’t get that information from you on social media as a matter of fact I will hide your post (whatever it may be) or snooze you for 30 days. 😊

3. I heard stories of all of these terrible things people were saying and doing to essential workers. When I say essential workers, I don’t just mean health care – I mean all of those out there working everyday to keep us safe and supply our everyday needs. (Don’t get me started again on 24 hours news shows and social media). What I have found, after the initial panic subsided a little, that most people (meaning about at least 78% of the people I encountered) tried to adhere to the suggestions. Most were respectful, most tried to go the right way in the store aisles, most just wanted to get their stuff and get out of the store. I know the first time I went down the wrong way on an aisle I almost panicked (for those of you who know me, you know there are very very few things that can make me panic). I was half way down the aisle and realized the arrows were pointing the other way. I stopped looked around (no one in sight) and thought – “Do I turn around and go back the right way or do I keep going in this direction since no one is coming that way?” OMG! I kept going and when I got to the end of the aisle realized now I was all messed up to go down the next aisle – so I ended up having to go back down the same aisle I just came down – but go in the right direction so I could be lined up correctly for the next aisle.

#3A Sometimes the things we think are insignificant and don’t really matter, matter a WHOLE LOT in the full scheme of things. And sometimes very simple solutions (one-way aisles) can really decrease chaos in a major way so as insignificant and stupid as some things may seem – do it anyway it really does decrease the chaos.

#3B and a message for those rebels who just want to go against those simple measures just because they can. And they think that makes them something big and brave because they have the attitude “I will show you, nobody tells me what to do and this is all stupid anyway” You know what, we know we can all go against those simple measures but we choose not to because it is such a simple easy request that can make such a huge difference and it doesn’t hurt me at all and it might just help someone else have a better day. Whether I believe it or not it does absolutely no harm to anyone to follow that simple request.

4. Back to those essential workers, for a moment. I have always known this but I think this event has given others the opportunity to clearly see who is essential to our survival as a human race. This event has made me more diligent to tell those essential people that I really appreciate them and what they do. We put a big sign on our house saying THANK YOU! we left messages in the mailbox for the mail carrier. As I check out of where ever I am, I call the clerk by name, look them in the eyes and say, “Thank you. I really appreciate you being here.” More than once it has brought tears to their eyes and they actually thanked me for thanking them – how crazy is that? The mail carrier actually left a card in our box thanking us for thanking her – she said it made her day! I sent messages to a Physician’s Assistant I know personally just thanking her for being out there every day – she said I would never know how much that meant to her. I send messages to her husband telling him and her kids to hug her for me and do something special for her. And they do that anyway whether I remind them to or not.

#4 Simple kind words and actions – just like those simple measures mentioned above – makes all the difference in the world to someone. It sure doesn’t hurt me and it sure does help someone else and that in turn makes me feel mighty grateful and happy that I could bring a smile or even a tear of gratitude to someone’s life for just a moment in time.

5. Celebrities and Athletes – We hopefully have come to realize that athletes and celebrities are really not essential to our lives when we get down to the bare necessities (that sounds like a good song) of life. Sports arenas are empty, concert halls are closed and we have survived without those things and with actually little impact on our existence. But isn’t is great to see how these celebrities and athletes have stepped up to lift us up during these difficult times. Isn’t it great to see how they have stood up to help America instead of sitting down or kneeling to protest America? Isn’t it great how they have given free music and concerts from their own homes just to remind us we are not alone? Athletes offering free workouts and suggestions for staying fit. Others offering free virtual advice on how to stay calm and not let our brains go to mush during this time. Many have given so very much at this time to help us all. Hopefully we too, have put in to perspective that we are paying the wrong people lots and lots of money to do things that really are not essential in our lives. Hopefully, this will also put into perspective that those clerks at Walmart (for example) do not get paid nearly enough.

#5 Be thankful for those celebrities and athletes that have given us so much at this time – remember them when this is over and forget those that do nothing at this time but worry about their own bank accounts.

6. Technology – Love it or hate it or both – WOW where would we be during this pandemic without it? Good and Bad it has served us in so many different capacities allowing us to do things we never thought we would need to do virtually. And teaching us, we can actually do more virtually than we thought we could and it’s not nearly as uncomfortable as it used to be. It sure isn’t perfect and it sure doesn’t replace human contact but just imagine how it would be right now without it. We would have to actually use telephones for the purpose a telephone was invented for. We would have to actually call and speak to someone – or wait by the phone for hours to receive or get a message through. That is just one example – there are so many more and it only takes a minute for you to imagine what it would be like without the internet right now. Imagine that…….. no Netflix or other streaming media, not seeing the faces of your loved ones (work family included in the loved ones)- no online ordering – no grocery pick up etc.. the list is endless.

#6 GOOD OR BAD – technology has been one of the most valuable resources at this time.

And simply put

#7 Most people are good, helpful and kind. Don’t let that 22% of entitled, disrespectful, selfish and unkind people make you think the whole world is like that. Even though I know that is what you are watching on those streaming channels (good or bad technology see #6 😊). Don’t let those so-called reality shows that by the way are mostly scripted and exaggerated for entertainment value (if you can call it that) skew your view of the kinder and gentler people in the world. They are out there but they generally do not provide much material for an entertaining show. Yes, I made that 22% stat up because it is probably just as accurate and any other stat out there. 😊

#8 We have become very creative in showing love to those we love even though we can’t be with them. We have expressed that love from our hearts without spending a fortune on material things to express our love and gratitude. Let’s not lose that when the world goes back to being materialistic. We have seen so many wonderful expressions of good and loving gestures (again good and bad technology see #6). Let’s keep it going even when it isn’t the only form of expression we have.

#9 Be grateful – just be grateful – it’s bad but it could be worse.

#10 – What have you discovered during this time?

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