Wednesday, April 22, 2020

‘The Corona Chronicles’ – Day 39

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested that people should take a break from all the coronavirus hysteria on the TV news, and instead start a journal. The journal should be address to your kids or grandkids 30 years from now, and it should describe your concerns and anxieties while in the midst of this unprecedented health emergency.

Your personal journal or diary could be called “The Corona Chronicles.” If you begin writing one in a notebook or on your computer, it will accomplish three positive things: first, it will take you away from the TV, which is never bad. Second, it will reduce your stress and anxiety levels, partly because you’re not watching the daily Panic Report on the boob tube, and partly because you’ll be actively doing something rather than sitting around worrying.
Finally, writing a journal will be a nice gift to leave for your descendants, much better than a bunch of goofy selfies on your phone. (Which they probably will never see anyway, since most cell phone photos get lost forever when your computer’s hard drive crashes. Yeah, my iCloud storage maxed out years ago, too. For posterity’s sake, you still can’t beat the ol’ shoe box filled with snapshots.)

After that column appeared in the newspaper, a few people sent me emails and asked what I would write in my Corona Chronicles, particularly concerning the suggested topics I mentioned.

OK, I suppose I should practice what I preach. The first item I mentioned was, “Put your thoughts and fears into words.” Well, I certainly have a lot of fears about this pandemic, primarily the fear of the unknown. How long will it last? Will I lose my job? Will the economy recover so unemployed folks can get back to work? Will toilet paper ever be available again in my lifetime?
Then, of course, there is the biggest fear of all: will I contract the virus and get really sick? Will I die? I’m actually not all that worried about dying (thank you, Jesus!), but the idea of going many days gasping for air and feeling like someone is holding my head underwater is simply terrifying. My worst nightmare scenario is suffocating to death.

My next journal suggestion was this: “Explain what you miss most about being stuck at home all day.” Actually, when I wrote that, I expected to start working from home soon. But it turned out the construction industry was classified as essential, so I’ve been going to my office in East Hartford every day. I can only go by what people have told me. The biggest issue seems to be when you set up your computer on the kitchen table as your new “home office,” the refrigerator is only a few paces away. One person told me, “I swear my fridge just said to me, ‘What the hell do you want now?!’”

My last writing prompt was, “Who will you hug first when the ‘all clear’ is finally sounded?” For me, that question is easy. First, I’ll hug my two daughters. (And in no particular order, because I love them both equally.) Next, I want to hug my mom. Then I’ll hug my two sons-in-law. (Also in no particular order.) After them, I look forward to hugging my brothers and sister and their families.
When Holy Week and Easter came and went, experienced by my wife and me in the solitude of our living room, I developed the desire to hug many parishioners, especially fellow members of the choir. And I’m really not a touchy-feely huggy type of person. But this social distancing thing is maddening, even for me.

There, I shared my journal thoughts. Now it’s your turn.

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