“LOADING…” By Robin Chappell

COVID-19
Photo Credits: CDC/Alissa Eckert

You know that feeling? That deep and nagging emotion that never holds a truly particular name, but you just can’t shake it. The majority of America is nearly one month into being urged to stay inside of their homes due to COVID-19, a worldwide sickness…a pandemic that seemed to drop from the sky and turn everyone’s lives, plans, and dreams inside out. A blanket of fear has covered and changed what was once a bustling and extremely busy population into a now slow moving, mask wearing, toilet paper hoarding mass of turtles. I’m not here to contribute any facts or rants because I’m one of the Americans that are quite numb and confused as to what is going on. The few occurrences that I decided to venture out were disturbing and too irritable for comfort. There are only a handful of people allowed in grocery stores, store clerks are acting in the likeness of tyrannous nurses yelling at everyone to stand six feet away from each other in line, which is usually marked by the various colored tape they’ve placed everywhere for measure.

As if things weren’t already complicated and impersonal, it now feels as if things are leaning toward the once outlandish predictions of science fiction movies. Schools are planning to continue education from the comfort of online classrooms at home, court dates, important city and county locations, the DMV, tag renewals and overall socializing are planning to be done electronically only or at least until May 31st. I am an intelligent individual, but when something this serious takes over in a short amount of time, I’m always in the shadows for about a week or so before I speak on it or blog it. I feel it’s better to let the facts manifest than ever to state an opinion based on Tweets, Wikipedia solid facts, or other people’s frustrations. So here are a few things I’m just constantly questioning and that I have personally observed (based on fact) since the pandemic has spread.

1. Toilet paper hoarding??

“On the one hand, [the response is] understandable, but on the other hand it’s excessive,” Taylor, a professor and clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia, told CNN. “We can prepare without panicking.”

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/09/health/toilet-paper-shortages-novel-coronavirus-trnd/index.html

What I have been the most confused by since the pandemic began is the toilet paper hoarding. Americans have been doing an extreme overkill on buying nothing other than…toilet paper. I’ve been trying to figure out if COVID-19 entails the symptoms of chronic diarrhea. Maybe it’s to mummify themselves in protection from mucus and germs, but either way…it’s irritating. Those with an I.Q. higher than 20 should know that running out of toilet paper will never be the end of the world once it becomes logical you have actual soap and water inside of your home. If every single roll of toilet paper ceased to exist on Earth I feel as if there would be this disappointing mass of people screaming because they have no idea what to do if they decide to defecate. While the rest are taking showers and wondering what everyone’s so upset about. In reality, they are creating issues for those of us who know this fact and would just like to purchase a pack or two of toilet paper like logical citizens…only to find the shelves completely empty thanks to those with two carts full of toilet paper all because they went into an epic panic.

It’s not only pointless, but its displaying the selfishness of those whom possibly never took the time to use that much toilet paper in the first place. I saw other people standing around in search of just a couple of packs of toilet paper due to empty shelves and an individual with a cart full of it wouldn’t even spare one with an expression of “tough luck” written all over their face. Nothing of importance is being bought in bulk and missing from the shelves, benefits such as medications (i.e. cold remedies, preventatives, and first aid kits), safety supplies like radios, light bulbs, laundry detergent, maybe even Pedialyte…but TOILET PAPER?? I wish the best of luck and health to those with houses full of toilet paper, and cabinets void of any antibacterial Dial soap. May God have mercy on their souls.

“It’s all due to this wave of anticipatory anxiety,” Taylor said. “People become anxious ahead of the actual infection. They haven’t thought about the bigger picture, like what are the consequences of stockpiling toilet paper.”

-Steven Taylor. Author of “The Psychology of Pandemics”

2. Nobody Knows What Really Caused It

I’ve heard guesses on the cause of COVID-19, from the government creating it in order to effectively depopulate Asia to it already being in existence and being enhanced to cause panic and distract from the election. There has even the suggestion of a monkey in some foreign country causing the virus, then somehow it spread from person-to-person by travel. First it was said animals could not contract the virus, now a lion at a New York Zoo has the virus, thanks to his handler, and it’s now discovered that pets have the possibility of passing it around. There are new updates everyday and no matter how calm they appear, I honestly believe no one FACTUALLY knows anything.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Fingers are being pointed in several places and conspiracy theories are at an all time high. Upon visiting a package store to grab some “spirits” for my spirits, an old man slides up to the register with a concerned head shake in an attempt to start a conversation and says, “You just look smart and like you have something to say about all of this going on!” Face full of confusion I answer with, “What do you mean?” With another shake of his head and a serious expression he says, “Can you tell me what’s going on around here with all this coronavirus stuff.” I chuckled and paid for my stuff saying, “I tell you what, when you figure it out, please come and let me know.” He laughs but then proceeds to go into the real bulk and point of this conversation. “I’ll tell you what’s going on and what they’re doing!” He says now with confidence. “The government is going to change the currency and it’ll no longer be the American dollar! That’s where the 2 trillion dollars they just pulled out of their ass came from! Money is going to be all digital!” I looked at him with a smirk before walking away. I mean, who’s to say his point isn’t valid? Or anyone’s for that matter? Can we truthfully tell each other what’s going on? No. Think of what you already know right now besides numbers of cases and death tolls? Facts are missing and holes are being formed in the facts.

Right now, we are on strict orders to venture out for only essentials. Like toilet paper (ha ha), prescriptions and household items. I am a resident of Alabama, which happened to be the very last state to confirm any cases out of the entire country. We are now at 2,241 confirmed cases and 65 deaths. I’m not sure about the cause of it here, but it’s most being blamed on travel and person to person contact. I never believe the exact cause of the pandemic will be discovered, but upon looking at any cleaning product with the ability to kill 99.9% of germs, the coronavirus can be found on the list of illnesses on the back. This makes me ask even more questions, which then just gives me a headache! What are some of your opinions on the cause and the cure?

3. Most People Can’t Stand Themselves

What do you love about yourself? I’ve discovered through social media and social distancing that a lot people CAN NOT stand to be around themselves for too long. People are on literal pins and needles just waiting to get back to the bars, with friends, and outside of their loneliness so they can feel something, literally anything besides silence and the rhythmic boredom of their own breathing. There wasn’t very much thought put into what would happen for some people if they could no longer interact with the world; and the reality is life altering for most. We can no longer slither onto a bar stool with the freedom of ordering a cold and delicious draft beer (sigh). Through this beautiful and blissful spring weather, we are void of music festivals, public alcohol tastings, barbecues, and even simple park time for children. All that is social and gave us comfort and routine has been snatched from beneath us too quickly.

Photo by Sofia Garza on Pexels.com

Every blog and news segment offers new suggestions to beat the complacency of quarantine; ironically board games, scavenger hunts, and cleaning up are a few they’ve thrown out. I believe the affirmation of most individuals loving themselves becomes transparent when it needs to be proven. We aren’t confined in boxes, cells, or underground prisons…just the absolute and safe comfort of our own homes, with our things, yet it’s so apparent that rules create anxiety and people would rather be out in the world with friends where the danger is than to seethe alone. I understand there are both introverts and extroverts, I’m hoping this time helps extroverts slow down and appreciate the essence of hanging with themselves. The beauty in being confined is being left alone with the person who matters most…YOU. Being confined and becoming more personal with family and significant others wouldn’t hurt either. I have the believe in slowing down to really look at yourself, and analyzing your flaws, as well as your positives.

4. Little Proof Raises Reasonable Doubt

Nobody wants to be sad about something as serious as this. I’ve been praying daily for my loved ones to remain in perfect health and dodge the entire pandemic. As if things aren’t bad enough, I’d never like to possess the addition of grieving because someone didn’t happen to wash their hands and catch it. Honestly, I know not one soul who’s been diagnosed, nor does anyone that I know speak of anyone. So, forgive me if it’s there’s a little doubt about everything being as serious as they make it. As with all humans, when something isn’t presented directly and there’s no legit proof, then we start to question things. Then, come the conspiracies theories, government bashing, and assumptions of them trying to destroy the entire human raise for their own selfish gain. I’m not stuck on one well known reasoning and factor of everything going on, but I’ve never been one to fall for anything either. I’d rather do my own research or see how everything unfolds; plus, I’m just really ready for everything to be over and life to resume it’s normal rhythm. The terrible part in all of this is that NOTHING will ever be the same and it will take quite a while for everything to seem normalized. I’d just like to know that there is something in living color that I can feel panicked about, but at this point I don’t see anything but panic and preparation for the worst on a television screen that doesn’t seem to be taking place around me or my family…and I’m thankful for it.

5. The Process of Emerging

Photo by Leo Cardelli on Pexels.com

At this point, the pandemic has taken more lives in New York than 9/11 ever did. Deaths are climbing each day and the lock down is predicted to continue until the end of April, but could be extended if the numbers do not change. I’m curious to see how everything will fall back into place once everything is over. How will jobs and shifts be continued? How will small businesses be able to get back up and proceed with all of the goals they had for their business to thrive this year? What will be done about the 6 million Americans that were forced to apply for unemployment? It’s all a huge whirlwind in my head and I’m anxious about the process, because not only was I hired into a new position; but also am in process of moving to a new home. Everything happens for a reason and maybe the Earth needed to pause for a moment and appreciate its existence, but I pray that everything falls into place. Our sad excuse for a president makes everything appear as if it’s a circus act so terrible it makes you cringe everyday. We need all of the help that we can get and need to support each other now more than ever.

I wish everyone nothing but the best and that your days are productive and positive enough to carry you through the rest of this very eccentric and unexpected year!