Day 3 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

March 18, 2020 – Live to Blog from My Recliner

Very early today I talked to a friend by phone…very early, sometime around 5:00 AM. The call went something like this:

  • Friend: “Tom?”
  • Me: “Yeah…what do you want? Are you okay? Do you know what time it is?”
  • Friend: “No, I don’t…hey, what time is it anyway?”
  • Me: “Never mind. You seem okay so what do you want?”
  • Friend: “I don’t know. I’m just…well, I’m a little confused. What day is this?”
  • Me: “What DAY is it? Am I ‘Time and Temperature’ now? What’s going on?”
  • Friend: “No, really, what day is it?”
  • Me: “It’s Wednesday, March 18th.”
  • Friend: “Ohhhhhhh…”
  • Me: “What do you mean, ‘Ohhhhhhh…’? What’s going on?”
  • Friend: “It’s just that…well…I mean…this is the first time in 30 years that I’ve been awake and sober before noon on the day after St. Paddy’s day. I didn’t realize what it was like…”
  • Me: “Ugh!” (Click)

Since I was up early, I decided to take Dolly and Madison (the Girls) on their first walk of the day. We were out early enough that we, thankfully, did not run into anybody. Today I noticed something quite different: the sound of silence. Not Simon & Garfunkle but real quiet. Quiet is very rare where we live. We live almost exactly half-way between downtown Baltimore and downtown Washington, DC, – a distance of 22 miles each way – about a mile off Interstate 95. We are in the approach/takeoff pattern for BWI airport and the flight path for helicopters carrying people between DC to Fort Meade. Typically I hear trucks and commuters on I-95 and commercial jets and helicopters flying over head. Today, I heard mostly silence and when I listened carefully, I could hear birds singing. It almost made me glad for having to shelter in place.

Dolly and me giving a warm social distance greeting to one of our neighbors.

It is Day 3 of this blog and Day 2 of my Sock Offensive. Clemencia did not see me put yesterday’s socks back on this morning. It was pretty easy, actually. I just waited until she was in the shower and – TA DA! – I got them on. Victory! YES!

After work today I took the Girls out for another walk. It was quite nice outside though a little cool. We had a happy experience and even ran into some neighbors whom we greeted appropriately.

Fun Fact: I have eaten baked oatmeal nearly every morning for breakfast for nearly 10 years.

According to Me

Actually, I’m nearly out of baked oatmeal and it is time to make some more. I’ll probably do it tomorrow…if I think of it. Also, if I think of it, I’ll post my baked oatmeal recipe. I think you’ll like it.

My good friend and colleague, Forrest Alton, president of 1000 Feathers, has always impressed me with his clear-headed, pragmatic thinking. A couple of days ago, just as offices and stores were beginning to shut down and move employees to remote work, he posted this blog, We Get to Work from Home…Now What? Take a few minutes to check it out. I loved his suggestions and I think you will as well.

Finally, I got a response to yesterday’s blog from a long-time friend that snapped me back to our new reality. She told me that members of her extended family had contracted coronavirus. Shortly after that I heard from a client who has an employee with the virus. Then I heard from a third friend and colleague that a neighbor had contracted it too. These reports were not all from within a “cluster” of the virus, such as Washington State or New York City. They were from three very different and distant parts of the country. I knew it was only a matter of time before I would know someone who had the virus or was close to someone who had it. If the projections are accurate, we will all know someone who has contracted COVID-19…soon. It isn’t too early for us to be thinking about how we will respond with empathy and love, and how we can still provide support but from a distance.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, and keep washing your hands. Physically avoid everyone and still find a way to be connected to your brothers and sisters on this journey with you. We’re all in this together, together we are stronger, and together we’ll get through it.

Tom

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