The Little House on the Praire series and Camus' The Plague give you a distant sense of what living through deprivation or plague is like, but neither of these shows what it's like to live this as interconnected and interdependent and global as we are now.
I know at the heart of things, people are always people and these cycles are always filled with rumor, distraction, disbelief, and (eventually) violence along with great kindnesses, unexpected blessings, and a reset of society.
To be less cerebral and more day-to-day, I have been teaching from home since Tuesday, March 17, 2020, because of the quarantine caused by COVID-19 (a virus). I love it. I offer small daily assignments online, students have until 2 pm to finish, and I teach one class a day for 45 minutes. It's efficient, and I get to be home with my son and create a true home while (currently) being paid.
I don't follow the news much; just enough to keep up with numbers and closures. This experience is shaky enough without adding intentional sensationalism and infighting to the emotional mix.
South Carolina currently has public schools closed through March 31 and colleges closed through the end of the semester.
Bars and restaurants were recently closed but allowed to run curbside and delivery to continue providing employment (other states are taking a heavier hand).
Local plants are starting to voluntarily (as far as I know) stop production. Manufacturing and the inland port are a huge source of income for us, so this is terrifying to many. Some companies are providing two weeks of pay; others are being less generous.
Local stores are offering hours for senior citizens so the most vulnerable can come in without fear and without having to fight for supplies (toilet paper. TOILET PAPER is the obsession du jour). These stores are also shortening hours to do thorough cleanings. Some of these precautions make me wonder about the actual hygiene of everything!
It takes a week for me to recognize the truth of a situation. Usually, I focus on one thing (biscuit making, leather working, etc.) to absorb the shock, cry a week in, and then move into the new phase. I haven't hit crying yet!
Today, I went out to find groceries, buy paint in the eventuality of a full lockdown (I want the house sparkling by the end of this!), and get art supplies to teach the kids art. Everyone was out! All of the kids out of school were with their parents doing the same as I was. So we're not really self-isolating; we're congregating differently.
However, I think we are doing this as a way to make sure we're ready for government-enforced quarantine.
The country is split: half think we're overreacting and this is a world-wide government power grab. The other half believe that COVID-19 is real, terribly dangerous, and the government hasn't done enough.
As long as we can keep our property and basic rights, our family can take of itself.
And this is how: we're putting in the garden (it's that time, anyway. We're planting more), we have friends we can trade with for meat, I'm getting fishing gear, and we'll make sure our neighbors are okay.
My greatest worry is the long-term. People are talking May, June, July, etc. Now, in one way this is good. If we go online for efficiency and transparency, all that money put into real estate SHOULD be returned to the taxpayers.
If this changes the way government and schooling are done as well as some business, great. The change is overdue.
If this brings manufacturing to a halt and institutes more regulations, not great. I guess a rise in cottage industries might happen. I do wish I had an alpaca or two right now.
All of this speculation is real, but it's also a distraction from genuine worry.
Trust in the Lord and do good. That's what my focus is.
Leatherworking in time of trouble!