As countries across the globe have closed their borders and are in lockdown because of Covid-19, people are coping differently. Some are getting impatient and bored for not being able to do what they normally do, like going out with friends, eating out with family, or going to Church. Others do not mind staying at home for an extended period. It’s like staying in for a long weekend, probably watching Netflix like what most of my friends are doing.
Where we live, there is no total lockdown. People can go out anytime to buy groceries or go to the drugstore, although we are being constantly reminded through various media outlets to stay home or to wear masks when going out and to practice social distancing.
Surprisingly, Covid-19 has been politicized. There are those individuals who rally against wearing masks, social distancing and the shutdown of some businesses. They express their displeasure and consider these preventive measures as limiting their freedom. What an irresponsible, selfish, and reckless behavior. These people may be asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19, and, by not wearing masks, they can transmit the virus to anyone they physically come in contact with. Such a behavior violates the right to life of people.
At the beginning, that is, three months ago when Covid-19 has started to infect some parts of the US, I began to worry when people started panic buying. At the flip of a finger, toilet paper, hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, bottled water, and some food items were quickly selling out.
My initial reaction was to stock up on rice, bottled water, and other essentials. I didn’t want to be left behind with nothing for my family if everything shuts down. It was a matter of survival of the fittest for me. Prioritizing the common good never crossed my mind.
Early on, an eerie feeling has come over me as I begin to feel the impact of coronavirus. There are very few people in the streets. Las Vegas, a favorite destination by many tourists, has become like a ghost town. The famous Las Vegas Strip is empty. Many hotels and restaurants have closed. There are no shows to watch. Almost everybody is staying home.
My wife and I continue to stay home most of the time. It is not based on a personal whim. It is, to a certain extent, imposed by the current Covid-19 breakout. But I have gotten used to it. In fact, it has given me ample time to reflect, listen to our CD collection every morning, write articles, and do some yard work.
Cabin fever has never been a problem for me. Though it’s a struggle at times, I find ways to make myself busy. My wife and I walk regularly around the neighborhood. We watch a movie at Amazon Prime Video almost every night for entertainment. Lying on the sofa watching TV and falling asleep at times can be a good form of relaxation. Most of the time we sleep in – something that we have not done for years – and end up having brunch to start the day. My habit of having a night snack that I learned as a Jesuit in training eons ago has come back. I am drinking beer a bit, but my wife has noticed a growing beer belly, giving me a friendly but stern warning; I got her message.
Overall. I have managed my life quite well during this period of Covid-19.But it will probably take some time before things get back to normal. I still hesitate to hug my grandchildren for fear of contaminating them. I still have not hugged my daughter who works as a physical therapist for almost three months now. I still have not given a bear hug to my son-in-law. I still have not watched the Dennis Bono Show, a free celebrity show from the showroom of the Southpoint Hotel. I still have not eaten out with my family nor worked out at the community center gym.
The travel restrictions have thrown all the travel plans we have in disarray. Thus, we will miss the first birthday of our youngest grandchild who lives in Texas. My wife and I have made it a family tradition to attend the first birthdays of all our grandchildren. But Covid-19 has made that impractical this time. Our scheduled river cruise in Europe is cancelled. The summer jaunt in Hawaii remains uncertain.
But Covid-19 is not all uncertainties, problems, or difficulties. There are positive sides to the crisis.
Despite all the government restrictions to mitigate the pandemic situation, I was able to attend a memorial Mass via Zoom for a cousin and an aunt who recently died in the Philippines. I am able to religiously attend virtual Mass every Sunday on TV. I also was able to witness the high school virtual graduation of my niece in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who graduated at the top of her class. I was able to attend a Zoom family celebration of life for a niece. I can chat with my brothers in the Philippines anytime I want via Messenger.
These innovations have made living under covid-19 less stressful for me. They might not be the perfect responses to my needs at this time, but they have made whatever challenges caused by this pandemic less burdensome. Social media has made me connect with my loved ones and friends, making our relationship with each other strong and alive.
Life continues in this time of contagion. Like time, there is no stopping it. We live it the best we can.