Monday , March 30 2020

Coronavirus – An Abundance of Caution

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.

I am a rock,
I am an island.

-Paul Simon

I keep hearing and seeing the term “an abundance of caution” in relation to people’s behavior in dealing with the coronavirus, which is a world-wide pandemic. My children’s schools – which have closed – both sent letters home using the term to explain the closures. The term was used by my employer when we were told that we would be working from home, and it has been used in communication I have received from doctors, dentists, and even utilities.

The term – as I understood it to mean before this crisis – is used by bankers and lenders about being overly cautious in lending funds. Now it is moving into the lexicon along with the word “coronavirus.” While I understand why people are using these words often during this time, it doesn’t stop them from driving me crazy. It is nearly impossible to watch TV, listen to the radio, or have a conversation with someone without hearing them.

Another really lovely term being used is “maximize distance,” which pretty much explains itself given the situation. Someone who is into golf might recognize it as a term used in relation to increasing driver distance – how far you hit the golf ball – but now it means to recognize personal space and then some.  

The problem is that there may be no going back from here, even when the pandemic is over. We may have no choice in distancing ourselves from the people around us now but, as this drags on, it could become the norm. Let’s face it – handshakes are sometimes kind of yucky, and hugging and kissing people to say “Hello” is a bit much at times. People may just go into that abundance-maximize mode for good.

With us all being off for spring break, we are one, big unhappy family – not with each other, but with the situation. I don’t mind being home, but when the kids are home too – and unable to go out in their usual ways – it becomes awkward. Our only ventures out were to the supermarket, where dwindling supplies felt troublesome. Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bread, eggs, milk, and juice were getting harder to find.

This week we had intended on taking a trip to Europe for spring break but, since that became impossible, we had to just get out of the house and go somewhere. After packing lightly (except all those essential supplies like toilet paper), we were off. I am writing this from an undisclosed location, a rustic and quieter locale, where the Internet is unreliable. I am hoping I can get a signal as I prepare to post this online.

Luckily, there is no shortage of wine here. As I have learned over the years, being home bound (like during blizzards) requires a fully stocked wine rack, which is essential during times like these. Since we are not going out to restaurants, having good wine with dinner is the best substitute. We are also unable to go to the movies, the mall, and any place with people. The drugstore is another place we go, and it is slowly running out of things as well. I don’t want to go there too much anyway because many sick people go there to get meds, and that means trouble is in the air.

Just as Paul Simon wrote in his great song, I feel like I am an island now. I have electronic connections to family and friends, but if I see anyone I am no longer hugging or kissing them – I am maximizing distance with a wave of a hand and a smile. One person tried to hug me, and I backed away; I felt sorry about it later, but it seemed necessary to be an island at that moment.

We have Disney+, Netflix, and more to distract us (if we can get a signal). Disney even did a kind of nice thing by putting Frozen II up early – starting on March 15. Ah, the Ides of March will have something good going for it for a change. If we didn’t have these things at our disposal, life on Vic Island would be pretty gloomy indeed.

Still, everything needs to be kept in perspective. When we see how so many people have the disease worldwide (153,000+) and how many have died (5,700+), it is important to count our blessings. We also need to realize this situation is ongoing, and take it seriously, so despite how much I hate hearing it – use an abundance of caution!

I wish good health to everyone who is reading this, and I extend best wishes to people worldwide who are dealing with this situation. We can only hope that our leaders, health professionals, and scientists can do everything in their power to end this pandemic as soon as possible.

Now, I am going to remember that this is spring break and try to have some fun. I will be engaging in my quarantine procedure for tonight – pouring a glass of wine, picking up the remote, and watching Mark Wahlberg in Spenser Confidential on Netflix (if the WiFi holds out). Talk about an abundance of caution!

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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