Today I got some bad news. Okay. Wait. Everyone take a deep breath. I don’t have the virus. All my people and my horse are fine. Not that kind of bad news. Thank goodness!!! No. Today I had a job interview. It seemed like the perfect fit for the perfect job. And it probably was. There was only one problem. I had to move. To another state. And … I can’t do that. (Deep sigh.) Game over.
In normal, pre-coronapocalypse times, the above scenario would not have affected me so much, but a good amount of time has passed since my interview, and I still feel like bawling. WHY?! I’m not a big crier. In fact, I cry more when I’m angry or at a sad animal movie (why do they ALWAYS have to be sad? Why do they always involve death?) than I do when I am actually the sad one. Well, the reason is simple. After weeks of being shut off from normal human contact and interactions, my emotions have had enough. More than enough. Breaking points are imminent, and today I think I must have reached mine.
I tend to be a “glass half full” kind of a gal. (Again with the “not a big crier thing…) I have weathered a lot of storms in my 51 years. I’m like a weeble; I might wobble, but I will get back up. (Oh C’mon! Please tell me I’m not the only one that remembers that toy!) And I think most eventers (and really most horse people) tend to have that kind of outlook. The harsh reality is we’re kinda used to hard knocks. Hard knocks go hand in hand with horses. But this coronavirus thing … It is truly a horse of a different color.
Yesterday afternoon my husband, my seven year old son and I took a walk through our neighborhood. In a very welcome break from a particularly wet month or so, we were treated to a glorious, cloudless blue sky and temperatures in the upper 70s. (It was so warm that my child thought it would be big fun to “swim” in the creek that runs through said neighborhood and catch crawdads. I have the next Steve Irwin on my hands.) What was heart wrenching about the experience were the people we chanced upon. Controlling the spread is not just about touching or social distancing anymore. It’s becoming more and more about total isolation. And not just the physical kind. It’s so sad! People are afraid to even make EYE CONTACT with each other. And the shock that registers when you smile at them…it’s as though you shot a bullet their way.
In my last blog, I talked about the need to stay grateful in the current climate. And I am grateful. I am very blessed that my family has stayed healthy. I can still go to the barn to see my pony and ride, which in these days of homeschooling and closures is probably the only thing keeping me sane. And I realize that a lot of folks are not so lucky. Hospitals are still treating people for things other than COVID-19, barns are closing, and more lockdowns are happening everyday.
In a world that feels increasingly like that old Bruce Willis movie “Surrogates,” we CANNOT become used to not interacting with each other, whether through a smile, a nod, a wave or a simple “Hi!” We must find ways to break the monotony of our isolation. Facetime, Zoom, TikTok, Boomerang, YouTube … whatever ya got. Babies are still being born; kids are still catching toads and riding bikes; books (and blogs) are still being written; my horse is still a spearmint hog (he prefers the green mints;) my cat still wants to eat my guinea pig; and the sun is still shining (sometimes.)
Take this crisis seriously, yes. But also, remember that we are all still human. I hope. (I might have watched too much science fiction lately.) We are all feeling the pressure of being stuck at home or stuck alone or stuck at home alone. And don’t forget those of us fighting this thing from the frontlines: the healthcare professionals and firefighters and policemen, even our military. ALL of us could use a little grace and a little caring and a little humanity. And for sure we could use a little laughter. So post those funny memes and videos. Laughter is the very best way to break the monotony. And hopefully, very soon we will all be able to get back to doing what we love. Maybe we’ll even find new things we love, which is one more way to break the monotony.
Stay safe, try to laugh, and hopefully soon we can…