Adaptation or …?
VMcKay-Riddell, PhD © 2020
This has not been easy. I read online awhile back that introverts have a much better time adapting to isolation and social distancing. Extroverts, on the other hand…!
I miss hugging my friends. I miss our Ladies’ Lunch – we tried to do it on Zoom but it was weird, and even though Santa Fe restaurants have resumed serving limited numbers of guests both outdoors and indoors, many are afraid to eat out. I miss afternoon tea on Downtown Subscription’s lovely patio (they are open from 7 am -12 noon every day, but that’s our animal feeding time).
Of course, there’s the garden. Food being of primo concern lately, we decided to grow as much of our own as limited space would allow. So we have two corn mounds, a small field of beans and peas, a growing box (metal horse trough) full of herbs, lettuce, more peas, and spinach, a summer squash and a cucumber, a sea of spearmint, and quite a bit of wild growth: purple orach, kelites (a local wild lettuce), arugula, and some strange sprouts we won’t recognize till they develop more identifiable characteristics. I think gardening and cooking are my favorite sanctuaries when faced with difficult situations.
The only problem with cooking is that I was taught by my French-Irish mother, and I shop like a Frenchwoman. We visit the market almost every day, choose the loveliest vegetables, tenderest meats, freshest fish or poultry, and plan meals around what’s in season. However, the French method doesn’t fly well with our local grocery stores in lockdown. “What!? You again? What now? Why don’t you buy for a week or two at one time? Think of your neighbors, our checkers, your own health! And wear your mask!!!” (I can hardly breathe through the damned mask…had to improvise. See the photo beneath “From the Editor.”)
Which brings me to how I really feel about the coronavirus and its contingent restrictions.
(CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT!!!)
As a mental healthcare provider, I’m far more concerned about the real virus– rising levels of depression, fear, and anger caused by prolonged isolation, social distancing, and mandated mask-wearing– than I am about COVID-19. Reputable medical professionals (including MDs, psychiatrists, psychologists, naturopaths, and others) have repeatedly stated that the masks do not protect anyone from the virus. The only masks that might offer some protection are the N95 and the KN95. And these, to be worn primarily by medical professionals in clinical settings and discarded after each use in order to be effective, are expensive— $10.99 at last count here. Very few laymen can afford this, and while the homemade versions are quite creative (along with the bandannas, wraparound scarves, and ski masks we see) they are no protection. What’s more, being forced to wear masks all day long as some people in public service must do limits their supply of oxygen and increases their intake of carbon dioxide, which further raises anxiety levels. What does work, according to the above-mentioned medical professionals who know from their own and their patients’ experience, is living as normally as possible and developing the “herd immunity” that has protected and continues to protect most of us from pretty much any disease we’d encounter on a daily basis. (People don’t seem to realize that if humans didn’t have adequately functioning immune systems we’d have all died long ago.) Unfortunately those at the top (CDC, WHO, White House, etc.) deny this. But think about who these nay-sayers actually are. Under Trump’s administration they are not medical experts—most of those professionals were fired or have retired on their own. No, these are wealthy investors with considerable interest in a virus that demands not only the production of expensive tests, tracking modalities, and a possible vaccine, but in obedience to an apparently global directive has also very effectively imposed an oppressive authoritarian regime, not only on Americans, but the entire world population. One can’t help but wonder to what end.
What does it really mean when we cannot meet each other in person or gather in groups of more than three or five individuals, are afraid to embrace friends and family, shop in our local stores or eat in our local restaurants (wearing masks, of course –our City Council is threatening to make failing to do so an offense punishable by a $50 fine), and– God forbid! protest any of this? What does it mean when the top “experts” inform us that this virus will be around for a long, long time? That it will recur at even higher levels in the Fall and Winter, making “flu season” far more exciting than usual? What the hell is “flu season” anyway?
What does it mean?
But this is not just about me adapting (or not) to the current situation. Here are some of the ways other folks are dealing with COVID-19.
Without Reservations – Ricardo Cate’ for the Santa Fe New Mexican
“Money Money Money…”
The Irish found ways to laugh at almost any difficult situation – it’s called “gallows humor.” Perhaps if we keep laughing, our laughter will clear away the clouds of fear and anger. Perhaps then we’ll see our way through this divisive, destructive charade to its underlying purpose, and be free at last.