Doing the COVID19 Ramble

So what to write about? Its another weekend and the keyboard and I are staring at one another. I honestly thought that this was the keyboard’s weekend to figure out a topic, but I guess not. So, I will spend the majority of the day, cheering on the blinking cursor on the screen. Sooner or later, that damn thing has got to win. What exactly, I’m not sure. Sort of like the pod-races, I’m at a loss to totally understand the rules. but I’ll watch….because its shelter-in-place and I am looking for some excitement.

How about we ramble on for a bit? It worked for Led Zeppelin…

So, while I was sitting here, the movie “The Martian” was playing on the television. Its a movie I enjoy quite a bit because its about improvising. Astronaut Mark Watney improvises to stay alive on the planet Mars with very little foodstuffs available to him. At the end of the movie, the character makes the following observation to a class of Astronaut candidates in a classroom.

At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.

The quote, for me, is an interesting to recognize in this particular time frame. Currently, we are fighting a global virus that has the capacity to kill its victims within five days. Our medical professions are struggling to keep people alive, while research professions are solving the problems to find a vaccine and/or cure. Let’s leave the politicians out of this for the moment. Let’s realize that the quote from the movie is actually an accurate depiction of where we are right now. We are trying to solve the problem of staying alive. To do that, we are solving smaller problems – medical supply issues, shelter-in-place orders, personal masks made of whatever materials we can find, staying away from each other – each one of those is a potential solution to slow the spread of COVID19. That’s right its not meant to stop the virus, only slow it down. The slower infection spread will keep our medical facilities from being completely overwhelmed – even as this has happened in various places. The point is that we, as a collective species, are trying to find the solutions. At least for the most part.

Now we can bring the politics into play. We’ve got a knucklehead President, here in the United States, who cannot fathom the problem – even when his own hand-picked advisors are telling it to his face in the middle of a press conference. He makes suggestions for people to inject themselves with disinfectants to “cure” themselves of COVID19 (don’t even think about doing this, people), as well as promoting drugs that are meant to manage other diseases are cures for this one (proven to be ineffective by several studies). Instead of being a helpful part of the solution, this President becomes part of the hurdles and obstacles that have to be overcome. And I haven’t even mentioned his idiotic statements concerning the delivery of supplies to some of the hardest hit areas in the United States. Add to that, people that are protesting the state governments to re-open now, so that they can go shopping again. Brazenly holding up protest signs that proclaim that the virus only targets the weak. It doesn’t; though, individuals with pre-existing conditions, the elderly, and those with weaker immune systems are at greatest risk of death from contracting the virus. But let’s consider this more of an obstacle to get around than part of the problem.

Now, I’m not a scientist. Nor am I part of the medical professions. I have friends that are part of both. I am a researcher, but not the right kind. All I can do is step back, and let these people solve those problems. I can take precautions for myself though. I am a diabetic (Type-II), I have an immune system that has been weakened recently (within the last two years) by a bout of pneumonia, as well as a diabetic seizure related to extremely high blood glucose levels. I stay in the house as much as I can. I only get out to get groceries, and even then I order through the app and do a pickup – rather than shopping in the store. Its become an issue of grocery lottery. I never get everything that I put on my list. There is always something that is out. I deal with it. I make due with what I have on hand. I improvise. For nearly a week, I wiped my ass with Kleenex because there was no toilet paper to be had anywhere nearby. And I sure as the Nine Hells was not going to go on a search-and-destroy mission to find some. The last grocery runs have yielded good old butt paper, so the world has started rotating on its axis in a proper manner. When I am out and about, I wear a mask. I know its not 100% effective, but its better than going around without one. When I am out and about – I stay away from everyone. I keep my distance. Why? Because I know my immune system sucks. I don’t want to catch this. And I sure as the Nine Hells don’t want to be in a hospital or die. I have enough to live for in my life.

Yeah, its not really doing the math and solving the problems, right? Or is it? I know that my immune system can provide a path for this virus to enter my body and fuck me up good. I stay away from people. I calculated the odds of staying away from people versus interacting with every schmoe I met on the street. I choose the method with the safer odds. I stay in the house instead of running all over town. Why? Because I calculated the odds that it is safer for me to be in the house. I wear a mask? Why? I wear them because it lessens the odds of me catching the virus when I do have to be out in public. I am doing the math. I am solving the problems. And hopefully when all of this final settles down and the virus can be held at bay for a huge majority of the planet’s populace – I get to live. Because I do want to live.

My meditations with my Gods have shown me that this is the Storm that I have feared. Not the unraveling of a capitalistic “empire”. I still have faith in what the United States will do going forward, and faith that the Constitution will provide the pathway for that to take place. I have faith that American voters will change that tide, by coming out in larger and larger numbers. No, the Storm is here and its COVID19. How we weather the Storm will be up to each and every one of us. We cannot come together in manners that we know and understand. Rather, we have to rally around one another from a distance, and help each other to be strong through these times. That’s what our larger Pagan community should be about, and what our smaller, local communities, and “tribal” groups should be doing now. Helping one another, being there, supporting each other. Your friend can’t get out for groceries? Email them and ask for a list. Go and get it for them. Have them order the items on an app, get a delivery time and place from them – and get it for them. We can be innovative in this time of need for others. Even if we can’t give them the hugs we all so richly deserve.

–T /|\

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