The End of the World as We Know It

Here I am, there you are. Each and every one of us is in hibernation mode with different challenges to face. On this day, I am in relatively good shape. My fridge, pantry, and freezer are full. I have never had so many boxes of pasta on my shelf all at once. And yes, I did buy one more 12-pack of toilet paper this morning. I don’t know what’s coming. None of us does.

I have a job I can do from remote. Not all of us do. This worries me. I am worried for everyone on the planet, the food service workers, the bar owners and bar tenders, restaurant owners, small business owners, the farm workers, the tourist industry workers, the airline workers, the uninsured, the undocumented, the homeless, anyone who was already on the edge of any given precipice now being pushed over into the void. Will there be help? Yes, I think so. Will it come fast enough? Hopefully. How long will help last? My worried voice says, we have no idea. My faith-in-humanity voice says as long as we need it to.

I don’t have young children who need to be home-schooled and are soon-to-be bouncing off the walls, if they aren’t already. I do however have a son at UW-Oshkosh. I trust he will be all right, working on his music degree from remote for the rest of his junior year. All the percussion majors at his school were told to go back to campus briefly and pick up a couple assigned instruments to work with. Owen got steelpan (the metallic drum played in Trinidad and Tobago) and a glockenspiel. Will there be pleasant sounds of music coming from the basement of his dad’s house? Yes, there will. Still, I worry. When will this end? When will he be able to continue with his schooling?

The other day, I said to him, “I can’t stand all the uncertainty.” He said, “Nothing has ever been certain. mom. You have never been in control. Give it up.” Wow.

With that in mind, I am doing the things I can do. I spent the day yesterday cleaning and disinfecting my house. I mean, I never imagined my house to be infected before. I just wanted to make sure every surface was wiped clean. The scent of lemony Lysol is in the air. Somehow, that is bringing me comfort. I organized my spice cabinet. I need to know where my spices are for all the cooking I will be doing. I want to believe that we will get through this and we will do a major reset on priorities and how the world operates. I keep thinking of the R.E.M. song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” That song was released in 1987. I had just moved to Los Angeles to start my first job. Owen would not be born for 11 more years. It was another world. The lyrics continue, “and I feel fine.” Do I?

No, not yet. Not until we get to the other side of all this and I can see that we really have made a leap, that we really have evolved away from focusing on differences to focusing instead on connectedness. Mother Earth could see we would not make the leap without a major, immediate threat. The dire predictions of global warming just weren’t getting through our thick heads. It hurts to think we needed a fast-spreading virus that is going to kill a lot of the most vulnerable people. I have to stay on track with, but the helpers will help. Good will be victorious in the end. I pray this is true.

Yesterday I made a donation to Project Hope Foundation. It’s the least I can do. If you feel so inclined, please do that too. Usually, the crisis is somewhere else. We can help and send thoughts and prayers and then get on with our lives. With Covid-19, this is not the case. The crisis is everywhere. I don’t need to tell you that, do I?

I guess I am reminding myself. For the first time ever, the notion that “we are all one” is really being driven home. We are connected. To each other, to the plants, to the animals, to the oceans. Let’s work together to do it right going forward. It’s the end of the world as we know it. Let’s work on how we can make it not just fine, but much, much better. What else can we possibly do?

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