Read a very interesting “Washington Post” article today by Caroline Kitchener about women sheltering alone during the COVID_19 pandemic here in the U.S.
While I am sure we each feel like we are in it pretty much alone, the article stated there are about 23 million women sheltering alone, or about 7% of the roughly 328 million people that make up this country.
Oh sure, we have choices to stay socially connected: FaceTime, Google Duo, Zoom, not to mention the old standbys of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. We can talk, we can text or, if you have an I-phone and an I-pad, talk and compose a text at the same time. So many ways to juggle connection in such a solitary time.
Usually being alone is my preferred state of being, but it was always with the idea that whenever I chose, I could pick up my car keys and just go, wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I have always been like that.
After leaving home to join the Navy, whenever I had leave, the first thing Daddy always did was hand me his car keys. The car was mine to command for the duration of my stay, and use it to full advantage I did.
When I divorced and we were selling our home, I could choose between our furnishings or a car. I took the car.
When I visit the larger, more boisterous Texas side of my family, I always have a rental. Part of it is because neither Houston nor Dallas-Fort Worth is especially convenient to where they live, and Delta doesn’t fly into Abilene.
But really I couldn’t stay without a car of my own. It is a control issue; it is how I know I am free, independent, and liberated.
It’s a lot like being a cowboy without his horse, this shelter in place thing.
Again, I don’t usually mind being alone in my solitary “saloon;” I have always been the girl on the sidelines of every dance I ever attended. I am very adept at watching the world while not being part of it.
Maybe that made me a good journalist. I can’t say for sure.
But I do get anxious as the day draws on, sometimes to the point of having to down a fast acting anxiety med before my blood pressure rises too high.
Early on in the pandemic, I watched news morning to night. I tweeted about many things, but mostly the incompetence of Donald Trump’s handling of this national emergency.
”I take no responsibility,” he claims, while blaming anyone and everyone he can possibly think of. Anyone but him.
Thank God for the governors. Like many people, I find Andrew Cuomo quite soothing. And it’s not like he is saying joyful things. But he has facts, and figures, and creates a game plan as he goes. Is it necessarily right? I don’t know. But he is trying. He is willing to say “the buck stops with me.”
What an enormous task he and Mayor DeBlasio have taken on, as New York has seen the highest rates of infection and mortality.
I don’t even want to think about all the things our Southern governors haven’t done with all the time they have had to prepare. And we haven’t hit our peak yet.
Someone famous I follow said in a tweet today she has never felt so sad. I get that. Sometimes I am sad too and just curl up on the couch in a ball.
There have been days that have drained me of emotion as I sent tweet after tweet of condolence to those who have lost loved ones. These have been a continuation of my “year of death” that started with my sister’s untimely death in March last year, and my friend’s of 46-years in August.
I am tired of death.
Sometimes I am angry, frustrated and fed-up that the richest nation on earth can be this incompetent in using our tax dollars unwisely to benefit the 1% so it cannot protect the rest of us in a pandemic scientists have told us was coming for years.
But sometimes I am hopeful. Wisconsin voters who took their lives in their hands to go out in a pandemic and exercise their right to vote made me hopeful our democratic ideals remain and our country will go on.
I am hopeful when I see doctors and nurses cheering on the patients who have recovered and are being sent home. It is like their mutual victory is also ours.
I am hopeful when I hear a story about a little girl who has made over 700 masks for donation to her local hospital.
And I want to be as resourceful and resolute as that child, each and every day. Even when I am gripped by sadness that paralyzes me.
I know we will come through this – pained, changed, scarred. But we will come through this.
I only hope it will be to make a more just and equal society where basic needs of shelter, food, healthcare and education are more prized than loopholes in the tax code that allow carry thru so people like Trump don’t contribute to the tax base, don’t get to use their real estate wealth for bailouts they aren’t supposed to get.
I hope for a world where the Steve Mnuchins have to live their lifestyles on just $1,200 for ten weeks and see how far they get. Where the Ivanka Trumps don’t get to pretend to be noble by encouraging us to “stay home” while she gets Secret Service protection to travel to New Jersey to have Passover with her family while the rest of us missed Easter with ours.
I hope for an end of the hypocrisy, the ineptitude, the grafting and double dealing of the Trump Administration.
I hope Team Biden and his Avengers beat Trump at the polls so resoundingly in November that the win shakes the world.
I hope I live that long to see it, and my need to control my car keys and go where I please doesn’t overcome me and inadvertently expose me to a deathly virus I don’t know whether or not my body can handle.
Even if it means I have to sit here awhile longer and sometimes be sad.