April 6, 2020

Thinking of An Escape Plan?


As my stay-at-home period continues I must report I am starting to feel a little antsy. Betty and I have visited our daughters' homes over the past few weeks for Sunday games and meal time. One major change: each couple or single person brings their own food and drink. Obviously it would be quite difficult to expect the host to feed 8-13 people. So, we all contribute. Last weekend: mac and cheese with a green salad for us.

I have squeezed in a run to Lowes for a lawnmower.  If my lawn service stops coming the grass will keep growing, so the mower might become quite important. Never fear, it was ordered and paid for online, brought outside by a worker and loaded into the car without my touching anything. At home, after unloading the box, hand sanitizer was liberally applied. Otherwise, with everything closed, a neighborhood walk with the dog and a book on the back porch is my world.

Each day I wake up to reports about the spread of this invisible menace. The number of cases, the mounting death toll, the use of refrigerated trucks to hold the bodies...it is all surreal. People using scarves as masks, health workers so overwhelmed that they must rely on food and supplies from fellow citizens to stay on the job...how will this end?

It is hard to stay mentally upbeat when everything we have known as normal is upended. It is humbling to see the power of Mother Nature, uninterested in the politics and desires of man, do what she will do. It is distressing to realize that the minor inconveniences my family faces are nothing compared to so many parts of the world, including our own country. It seems very selfish to celebrate the food deliveries from Walmart and Amazon, when millions, soon to be tens of millions, have no money for food, rent, or medicines.

I have read a few comments from some knuckleheads on various social media sites that bothered me, and prompted this post. The premise of those thoughts was that we should be thinking of where we can escape to, now, or after the pandemic is starting to wane. I gather these folks are thinking about outrunning, or hiding from two things they fear: the spread of the flu and the collapse of the social and economic system we have come to expect.

Frankly, it reminded me of the rush to build bomb shelters during the height of the arms race and the Cuban missile crisis. People were tearing up their yard to dig a giant hole, line it with concrete walls, ceiling and floor, install a bombproof (and neighbor-proof) door, and stockpile several months worth of food and water for the day when Russia launched the missiles.

Now, it seems that these modern-day people are convinced that this pandemic will linger for not just months, but years. Food supply chains will rupture. Hospitals and those who work there will have all gotten sick, or so burned out they can longer help. Medicine, masks, and ventilators will be unavailable at any cost. Most of the businesses that are shuttered now will stay that way. Millions will roam the streets, willing to do anything to find food. Government will have imposed draconian restrictions and used the pandemic as an excuse to expand their powers.

The only option these folks see is to head for the hills, either here or some other country. Take as many supplies as they can get their hands on, and find someplace that is isolated from the disaster they see coming. Live off the grid and away from a society that has collapsed. 

Whoa. Let me modify my first sentence. Compared to the mindset of these people, I am not getting antsy at all. In fact, I am downright content and feeling blessed. I have plenty of food, I have my family all nearby, I have books and the Internet to keep me content. My guitar works, my paint brushes still paint. My turntable, old CDs, or Spotify keep the music flowing.

We are going to have a tough go of it for a while. There will be a terrible human toll on way too many of us. Our economy will struggle to restart itself, the financial health of millions will be compromised. If for some reason the November election is postponed things will get seriously unpleasant.

But, with all that said, I firmly believe the answer is not to run from what faces us. I have a solid faith that God is with me. He (or She or It) gives me hope and a strength to go through whatever I must face. He won't make it go away if I pray enough; the virus is part of the natural world that will follow its very well-defined rules. God isn't going to interfere with what has been created. But, he will walk through it with me.

Nor do I believe that the virus will destroy our way of life. Will there be changes? I think there will. There could be more awareness of the importance of social interaction, and I don't mean on a smartphone, but real human-to-human relationships. Our belief that the stores will always be open, the shelves always fully stocked, and instant gratification is a law of nature could undergo much needed adjustments. Our appreciation for medical workers, teachers, and delivery people will grow. 

But, thinking of an escape plan, whatever that means....no way. We are in something very big and very scary, and we are in it together.


47 comments:

  1. Some people are often terrified of whatever it is they don't have a good grasp of. Perhaps many more people will listen to scientists and experts again instead of dismissing them as "ivory tower elites". Certainly many of these experts are now putting their own life on the line to care for those of us that become infected. To them we owe a deep gratitude. For those that think heading far into the woods is a good idea I can only suggest that if you were to contract this virus and be a long way from expert help it might not end well for you.

    I am jealous of you Bob. A weekly gathering of 8-13 people - I wish. In Ontario Canada where we live gatherings are restricted to 5 people maximum and even then they are advised against, in Quebec gatherings are restricted to maximum of 2 people. The general rule is not to go out at all or visit anyone with the exception of a weekly trip to the grocery store and for a walk in your neighbourhood for exercise all while practicing social distancing. Yesterday was our granddaughter's third birthday and we celebrated with her via Zoom teleconference even though they only live 3 miles away from us.

    Social distancing is also now being enforced by police on the streets and in the parks. While 95% of people are respecting the 6 feet minimum social distance too many were ignoring it so now there are stiff fines and for repeat offenders jail. It sounds draconian though usually it's just a warning and people take heed but there are a few who ignore the police and suffer the consequences.

    The hope of course is that this stops the spread of the disease and there are signs that it is working but, as you say, we are in this together and we need everyone to pull together.

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    1. The guideline in Arizona includes a reference to it being OK for close family members to interact and the importance of maintaining social bonds. Most of us live within 5 minutes of each other; one daughter is 15 minutes away. We drive directly to one house or another, stay inside or in the backyard and don't go on neighborhood walks with that number of people. Your very tight restrictions would be tough for Betty, me, and our daughters and families. These get togethers are keeping us sane and feeling hopeful.

      A few members of the extended nearby family are not part of our regular gatherings at the moment. One of the men continues to work in a situation that is potentially high risk. His kids became ill a few weeks ago with what turned out to be colds. Even so, we all have agreed that those family members will remain self-isolated for the time being.

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    3. I hear you Bob, our tight restrictions are indeed very tough for my wife, me, and our daughters and families. Really, the only difference between this and the 14 day quarantine we had to do when we arrived back from out-of-country is the once a week trip to the grocery store (one designated family member only) and our daily walk. I can only hope they work in reducing the spread of the disease. From the numbers so far they seem to be working but it sure is tough to do.

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  2. I’m in same boat— I am having moments of feeling antsy, along with intense gratitude that I can get food delivered to my door, and that we are basically ok. I have an inner hum of worry over people who are out of work,with kids to feed, and a very uncertain future. I REALLY miss our time with our son.. but am so grateful he can at least be working from home and not out there being exposed. My thoughts are a bit of a roller coaster this week as I gear up for the surge we are about to see. I’m irritated by two families in my neighborhood who seem to think allowing their teens to have parties in tthe back yard with a group of friends, is ok. I find myself dreaming of my lost freedom to jump in the car and go to Saguaro Lake or San Tans or Usery Park for a good long hike—we had bought a yearly state park pass for this year. .I wonder if they will let us use it in 2021 instead? I forsee a lot of societal change from this mess.. but on a day to day basis I am meditating,praying, keeping busy,practicing gratitude, best I can.Yes, the feeling we are one big human family going through a very big challenge,is pervasive and kind fo startling.. if we are all one planet, there IS no escape!

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    1. The people who live behind us have three younger kids. Either family or friends show up most weekends for a cookout. That adds one or two more kids to the mix. But, the only teenagers near us have kept to themselves. We can hear them near their pool (too cool to go in!) but they keep the music soft and don't seem to be entertaining. They probably are tired of being away from school and stuck at home full time.

      ORdering groceries online comes with its own set of challenges. But, I was just talking with Betty about this today. Imagine if the whole Amazon/online ordering/delivery business model didn't exist. We would be in a much tougher position.

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    2. We are very happy with using Instacart. You go online and set up an account then you can choose the store you wish for shopping and they have photos,prices,etc. This past delivery the “tip” they automatically calculate was WAY higher than the first two trips— but I beleive they are deserving.After all ,I am saving a ton of money over eating out,take out, etc. and they are out there on the front lines. Delivery has been a 3-5 day wait so I am learning how to plan that far ahead. I am keeping delivery to once every 10 days..I am a good meal planner. We wipe everything down like that video online shows to do..I feel it is so much safer..we ar not willing to drive or go into public places! I have been very happy with the times they choose,also.

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  3. We've only been living with this crisis for a month or two and one thing is for sure: It's bring to the surface the underlying characters of each of us. The strong are steeling their backbones and powering through. The fearful want to run and hide. The selfish are front and center with their hoarding of supplies. And those of us who are normally upbeat and hopeful are challenging ourselves to find the silver linings.

    Wonderful essay, Bob. You spoke Truth for many of us.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. Yes, a crisis brings out the best and worst in all of us. Our core self is exposed. Most of us have a decent, loving ,supportive center that a situation like this allows to blossom.

      Of course, some people have a core that is selfish and small. As I wrote in the previous post, their public and personal personas are no longer in sync, and what is now seen is disturbing.

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  4. I was not prepared when this virus appeared. We do not keep extra food around the house. I have found the best way to control myself was to not have it here. We probably ate out or picked up dinner more than half the time. Fortunately I saw what was possible & stocked up quickly. We made some good picks and some bad ones. Going forward I think we will probably do something that has interested me for some time. We will keep a pantry that will supply us with enough food for two months. When things return to normal we will never actually use this food. I will go through it monthly and anything within 3 months of expiration will go to the food bank. So basically it will be a rotating donation.
    I find the idea of preparing for a long term breakdown of society to be a joke. I can assure you if society quit functioning having a year’s supply of food would be useless. We would be unable to keep it. I have never seen a home that was defensible or location isolated enough to be safe. I especially like the idea that having gold would be a salvation. Who in their right mind would take gold for even one can of pork & beans?
    If you want to see what a total societal breakdown would really look like watch a movie, The Road with Vito Mortensen. I would warn you this is very accurate as to what would really happen and it is not an uplifting movie.

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    1. The preppers, as the folks who stockpile and live hidden in the woods are often known, are just kidding themselves. A social breakdown involves much more than having enough food for a period of time. And, knowing how many guns are out there and how many people would lose all vestiges of humanity if it became that serious, living safely while everything falls apart around you is the stuff of fiction writers.

      Normally, we keep about 2 weeks worth of pantry items and a weeks worth of food in the freezer. That has all doubled for now. When things settle back down We may increase our permanent pantry storage a bit, but are limited by space. I do love your idea of rotating the older canned goods to a food bank. As long as they haven't expired they will be used rather quickly by the folks that depend on a food bank for their family. That is a great idea, Fred.

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  5. Living in a resort town at the tip of the state seemed like a blessing but, within a few days we were seeing more out of state plates showing up. This is a slow time of year and I like it that way, especially now. So, the government is clamping down on out on staters, thank goodness. Thank God we're not upstate because, it's as full of the illness as NY. I wish everyone would pay attention and follow basic guidelines but, there's always a few troublemakers. Wishing you all a healthy outcome! b

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    1. I imagine your town isn't really set up with hospital facilities or medical staff to handle a large outbreak. It seems odd that we can't just get into a car and drive wherever we want, but that is the new norma.

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  6. Bob, Interesting read as always. Your articles are thought out and passionate which shows some of your inner self ;). I too have spent quite a bit of time over the last few years observing people's behavior as it relates to many different topics, events, and challenges. What I see are generally two types of people, pessimists and optimists. Of course there are some people who straddle the wriggly line between the two types, but generally people fall on one side of the equation or the other. Pessimists appear to see everything as "the glass is half empty" and optimists see everything as "the glass is half full". We need both types of people in our world to bring balance to life and society. The preppers would fall in the pessimists camp I believe. They prepare for the worse and are many times fixated on keeping themselves safe and prepared for all heck to break loose. The people who are the "I live for today and don't worry about tomorrow" crowd typically have little preparation for the future and are mostly optimistic. They tend to see each day as if it might be their last and live it up accordingly. They tend to have few if any stockpiles of food and supplies as they see the stores as always open and the delivery trucks as always running on schedule. Illness, wars, financial ruin are things these folks spend little to no time thinking about. Why waste valuable time on preparing for issues which may or may not occur is their mantra. Then we have those of us who are closer to the middle of the pessimism/optimism line. We are either usually upbeat people who take challenges and issues in our lives in stride because we have peace of mind that we have a pre-developed plan to address some of these types of issues/challenges. Some of us prepare more than other for these issues, and we weather through them differently if/when they occur based on our natural preferences for optimism or pessimism. For example, and I used this not to make a political statement but to highlight behavior, some people who were appalled that Trump won the 2016 went out into the streets and broke down emotionally, yelled at the sky, and threatened to leave the USA behind for good. They were so pessimistic about the future and had no plan for how to deal with the situation they could not imaged occurred. Then you had those people who were also appalled that Trump won, but instead had a plan in place for how they were going to react and prepare for the next election cycle. These people quickly pulled together with other like minded people and worked hard to change the face of the US House in 2018. They were still pessimistic about the job Trump would do as president but did not allow that pessimism to drag them down. Now, fast forward to 2020 and the Covid-19 virus. When you observe people's behavior, you can see the same patterns evolve. The one pattern I left out was the optimists approach. They tend to believe the pandemic is not as bad as publicized and that the pessimists are over-reacting. The optimists who were prepared (more towards the middle) had supplies on hand and were prepared financially to survive without any income for 6+ months. They are more concerned about their neighbors getting ill or having hard financial times than they are about themselves. These people believe good will come from this pandemic and that we will prevail and get some form of normalcy back into our lives soon. The ones who did not prepare are struggling some as they do believe things will get better but are challenged with potentially paying their bills and securing toilet paper and some basic food items.

    Where do you see yourselves? I straddle the line some and are optimistic about our future both economically and health wise. God is in control, not me.

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    1. I believe the pandemic is horrible. It will kill untold numbers of people all over the world. It will cause serious economic stress to virtually every country on the globe. I don't think things will be back to "normal" until sometime ion 2021.

      But, with all that said, I believe there will be some positive changes caused by this disaster. Health care and preparation will get its proper focus. The mindset that everything is available, instantly, all the time, will be altered. People will realize how inventive they are by solving problems that have not been faced up until now. Social bonds will have shown to be important to our mental and emotional health. Better preparation for all sorts of problems will occur.

      On the not necessarily good side, government will likely take a bigger role in certain parts of our life. It is hard to imagine a retrenchment of power once granted. Fiscal responsibility will be redefined to ignore the long term risks of massive deficits.

      As I note in the post, I am a realistic optimist. Things will not go back the way they were but that isn't all a bad thing. Covid-19 has been a huge wake up call that will be a turning point in our history. I am optimistic that the end result will be, on balance, good.

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  7. I'm sure that the "survivalists" among us are having a heyday with all this change. When "gun shops" are considered "essential services" you know there is a problem. While I'm not playing on running away or hiding, it does make me even more concerned about our coming election. If current events and the aftermath of that aren't enough proof that there is something seriously wrong with our leadership and our practice of capitalism, I'm not sure what is. While I know I am privileged to live in this country and have the advantages of being WASP, I don't know how much longer I can continue to endorse a country where profits are more important than people, where the environment is just another commodity, where healthcare is just another business, or where a person's politics comes before their character. Not sure what the next step should be or will be....but I think it's time we all rethink what our country stands for and do something about it. ~Kathy

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    1. Where we live the province deemed liquor stores as an "essential service" which had many wondering. Another province announced they were going to close the all the liquor stores and suddenly there were line ups around the block to purchase. This was the opposite of what they wanted with everyone rushing out and lining up at close quarters so they canned that idea. The law of unintended consequences at work I guess.

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    2. I do not believe we will ever go back to things exactly the way they were. That happens after a hurricane or major blizzard, but not after a basic shutdown of the world economy and a disruption of what Americans have taken for granted since the end of WWII. What comes next i don't know, but I sense a late 60's-Vietnam War type of mentality that says "too many of us are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore." The rules must change.

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    3. I support the continued availability of alcohol, and marijuana where legal, in order to give people a way to mellow out during pretty damn tough times. One person's alcohol is another person's plate of sugar-loaded brownies, and this is not the time to judge or attempt to strong arm people away from one and toward the other.

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    4. Tamara, I don't disagree with you. Some have also made the point that for those with dependency issues suddenly cutting off supply could cause a major health issue or even hospitalization, something I am sure the hospitals could do without at the moment.

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    5. I am getting grocery delivery but no take out food whatsoever.I am trying to reduce outside contacts.But our grocery stores carry wine and other liquor,so it all gets delivered right to the doorstep. I’m with Tamara, a glass or two of wine is truly good medicine for me right now.

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  8. Here in the UK the elderly and those with health conditions that make them vulnerable have been asked to stay at home for 12 weeks and shield themselves from all direct contact with anyone outside their home. The rest of us can leave our homes only with a reasonable excuse including to exercise or for essential shopping but we have to keep 2 metres away from everyone we meet and any gathering of more than 2 people is prohibited. We should begin to see this week whether these measures are having an effect, I sincerely hope so. I’m not sure about escaping, but as a couple we are definitely spending much of our seclusion discussing and planning how we want to spend our time, where we want to visit and who we want to see once this is all over. By that stage, just being able to see and hug family is going to mark our break for freedom.

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    1. We are lucky to be able to see family on a regular basis. That places us in a position that too few can enjoy. Betty and I have had some preliminary discussions about changes in our lifestyle after this is over (whatever that might mean) and I don't think we will go back to the way things were.

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  9. It is interesting to see how "stay at home" means different things in different places. In Maine, you are supposed to maintain a 6' distance from anyone you don't live with -- that would include your daughters and their families. On the other hand, because Maine is a sparsely populated (43 people per square mile) and "outdoorsy" state, outdoor exercise is encouraged -- as long as you keep at least 6' from others you do not live with. Tomorrow, I am meeting a friend for a walk on a trail that is wide enough for us to walk side-by-side and have a conversation while still maintaining 6' between us. Today, for the first time, I wore a face covering when I went out for my walk around my neighborhood. My friend and I will both wear cloth masks when we go for our walk tomorrow.
    Because I live alone in the woods at the end of a rural dirt road, my life hasn't been changed all that much by the pandemic. The big change is that social activities that I would have participated in several days a week have been canceled, and I can no longer visit a close friend who lives in a nursing home. In order to avoid social isolation, I am making a special effort to have one in-person human interaction per week (tomorrow's walk will be this week's). Other interactions are via email or Zoom.
    I think we can expect on and off distancing measures until a vaccine is widely available, probably more than a year from now. The 1918 pandemic lasted 10 months (March-January), with the peak deaths occurring in the seventh month (October). If we're lucky, many of us have already had asymptomatic versions of this and herd immunity will develop more quickly. (Of course, if there is a lot of asymptomatic transmission, those who think they can escape by going elsewhere may well be making the problem worse by taking the virus with them.) The impulse to escape also reflects a "look out for number 1" mentality, and we need a spirit of looking out for one another to beat this. The point of wearing a face covering when you go out in public is not to protect you from infection by others (a cloth mask won't do that), but to protect others from being infected by you if you have the virus and don't know it.

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    1. today I had to get a refill of propane for the grill. probably half the people going in and out of the store had face masks on. That was a first for our area.

      Yes, we are grateful for the continuing ability for family visitations. Arizona has been rather lucky so far in terms of the spread of the virus.If that changes, I imagine our family meals together on Sundays will have to end for the time being. With our first 100 degree days probably less than a month away, we will be a good test case for the role that heat plays in slowing down the virus.

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    2. I'm not holding out hope for heat reduction of virus. Take a look at what's happening in S. America, which is in the midst of summer/early fall heat temps.co

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  10. Yes, you are lucky to be able to see your family. I am also jealous and curious about that interpretation of "stay at home". We are told to maintain social distance from anyone not living in our immediate household. Since March 15 my husband is the only person I have been near, other than a couple of cashiers at the grocery store. We are doing fine, but miss seeing our son terribly. He lives 2 hours away and although he is still working, he is alone during all non working hours. Even though we got together a lot before this situation in both our home and his, we will not visit him or have him visit our home until it is considered safe. I will be so happy when that day finally is here.

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    1. Each state seems to have different interpretations of that rule. in fact, I think even regions within states are not consistent. Orange County, CA has the same restriction you refer to: no contact with anyone other than those who live in the same household.

      Then, there are a few states, like Wyoming, that have no stay-at-home guidelines at all. With only 212 cases and no deaths so far in that state they are apparently rolling the dice.

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  11. I should add that our eldest daughter does some of our grocery shopping for us. She and her family come to our house to deliver the food and help us sanitize and put away what they bought for us.

    In return, if we go to their house we take supplies, books, and food for our three grandkids who are now full-time home schooled. That doesn't leave mom as much time or opportunity to get those types of things. We order what they (and we) need online. When it is delivered to us we wipe it all down and take it to them (where it is sanitized again). Those are the types of family contact that the Governor's order permits.

    Though well below several other states, the number of cases are rising in Arizona. So, yesterday we decided to stop all family meals at least through the end of the month. Food deliveries will be made by one person and left on the front porch. So, our Sunday meals together had their last occurence yesterday. So sad.

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    1. That's a tough decision to make Bob. I hope you can hang in there and while you'll never know for sure it may even keep you and Betty out of hospital. If U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson can end up in hospital with this disease it can happen to anyone.

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    2. That is tough,Bob. I. Know I miss our time with Andrew immensely.Have not seen him in person since March 1. He wi wokring at home. Has been quarantined for over 14 days.. but neither he nor we feel it is safe to go oout driving (potential fender bender= potential CONTACT with lotsa people and hospitals too!! ) also we don’t want to have to fill our gas tank.. can you imagine how filthy the handles are at the tanks?? Just overall, we are at home except for some bike rides and walks very early before even the dog walkers are out! I fell off my bike yesterday and got soooo scared I broke my arm.. I am now a bit frightened to go bike riding.. but..???? No broken bones, just lots of bruises.. geez..rough times for sure.Stay well!!

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    3. I understand the shaming that you have experienced here. I was a part of it with my sibs in Phoenix. Now I am stepping back. They are good at social distancing. They don't go out if they have a cough or sneezing (one is staying in because of allergies). Phoenix is warmer then most places and people are used to being outside.
      If you have had regular contact with your family- why not socially distance outside on the lawn? If I were closer to my grands, that is what I would be doing. You do not live in a highly urban area like New York/Chicago/Seattle. You do not live downtown with the working poor.
      Remember the idea is to flatten the number of people who need ventilators....not to get rid of the virus all together (although that would be nice).
      Maybe, if you want to hold yourself as an example, you should stop, but I think the science is now indicating that social distancing is good. Even the great modeler of this virus out of the U of W says it is like the weather. He over estimated by several million deaths- so far. He thinks it could be because of the six foot social distance---but he doesn't know for sure.
      I agree that my mother should not be out and about, but you know how to distance. Just some food for thought.

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  12. An urge to escape and run for the hills. That's what happens to people that have watched too many Zombie movies. In Ontario there has been some push back on city dwellers that want to escape to their cottages. The full time residents up north don't want the cottagers bringing the virus with them infecting their grocery stores and putting pressure on their small hospitals. Personally I don't blame them. We all have to just chill out. I was having problems with my blood pressure but since I stopped watching Trunp's daily briefing it has gone down.

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    1. An earlier comment referred to the problem of out-of-area people coming to a place that is considered safer. Usually those places are more rural with less hospital space and medical backup. The desire to protect the safety of that community is understandable, but still feels selfish, even when it is not.

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    2. When we had a cabin up in the Northern part of our state, and when we lived there full time for a year, I was aware that the medical services were very sub par.We had friends who had heart attacks and broken bones who had to be air lifted to the Valley for care.. and only through the grace of GOD survived the wait..I am SOO happy we moved back to “town” and I have great medical services all around me. We had not truly thought that through when we decided to retire in the “country..” iI am so glad we figured everything out and are back where we belong.I would NEVER run to the hills... we have much more safety right here in the suburbs and near a city.

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  13. There just is no place to run from a virus, as we know. Eventually nature wins. So, as much as we all hate it, we have to keep social distancing longer. It's not fun. I'm more extrovert than introvert, more optimist than pessimist. Still, keeping myself busy without social interaction can be a challenge. I'm very grateful for Zoom and Skype and FaceTime. But none of them can substitute for seeing people in person. But if the end result is less death and illness, we all have to keep it up. I loved what Queen Elizabeth said this week. She has see her share of calamity, and her words comparing this to the evacuation of the children in WWII were apt: “Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know deep down that it is the right thing to do.” Hear, hear.

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    1. Except for the desire to see the gym reopen and TP back on the shelves, the last 3 weeks have not been a problem for us. Not seeing the grandkids for several weeks is going to be tough, but millions of others have it much worse.

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  14. You covered so much in your post -- so much that is wise and human and practical and transcendent. When I was a back to the land hippie decades ago, a popular topic of conversation around the campfire was deciding what we would take into the wilderness to survive if we could only take three things. We weren't thinking so much in terms of a viral or nuclear apocalypse. We were just following the trajectory of our back to the land away from civilization path.

    But this feels different. Gun sales are up. I made some joking comment to a neighbor passing by the other day about people getting shot over toilet paper, and was shocked when he got very serious and said that he had his guns ready if anyone tried to take something from him or his family. Whoa.

    We have seen movies and TV shows (I'm thinking about The Last Ship) about what happens after a natural or man made global catastrophe. I just finished a book called "The Last Town on Earth" about the 1918 influenza pandemic.

    As you said, nature will do what it will do. This virus will run its course. Life will go on. But how will we judge ourselves in reflecting on how we handled ourselves during this time?

    Great post and also great comments/responses.

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    1. All of us sharing some real concerns and worries here is probably helpful. I truly believe our society is going to be permanently changed, at some degree, by this experience. Whether, on the whole, those changes are good or bad is still to be determined.

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  15. When thinking about the fact that gun and ammunition sales have increased, I remember two post apocalyptic novels I once read. One was by a woman, which may or may not have been important, and featured a society marshaling resources, honoring those who understood herbal medications, planting community gardens and learning from elders about sewing, baking, knitting and other skills. Their adversary was nature and the decimation that had occurred. I read another in which teen and adult women were abducted by marauding gangs of men and brought back to armed enclaves headed by paramilitary groups.I know which one I believe in, and I suspect I know what the people stocking up on their arsenals believe in. The day after we were *finally* ordered to shelter at home in my state, our neighborhood page featured a post by a young woman who offered to run errands for "our elderly" as she felt safe (invincible). Numerous instances of items in short supply appearing on singles' or older couple's doorsteps were reported by grateful recipients. We have donated TP to a family with two children, one with a fragile child.

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    1. The instances of selfless sharing and caring are much more obvious on various social media sites. Do we think this group experience will change us in any lasting way? That is the unanswerable question at the moment.

      The latest example of humans behaving badly isn't the increased gun sales. That was completely predictable. It is the destroying of cell towers in England. Why? A new conspiracy theory (who makes this stuff up?) is that 5G cell signals alter our brain and body chemicals making the virus able to attack us. So, these nut jobs are burning down cell towers to protect us.

      You would think that at almost 71 years of age, nothing would surprise me anymore. Wrong. We continually amaze me with how little use the human brain is to some people.

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  16. You made a very astute observation, Bob. Who would have thought that those of minimum wage would be the very same people who would have the highest responsibility for keeping the elites alive?
    And how are those of minimum wages being rewarded? A recent article about the Instacart workers revealed how the shopper employees were being lured in to buy for customers who offered large tips only to change them to zero once the groceries were delivered?

    I thought of a bible verse: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

    We need to respect and honor all of those who once were scorned.
    We need to be afraid. Very, very afraid.

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    1. Think of the farm workers who pick our food. If the government has its way and kicks them all out, who do we believe will do the jobs we won't? Those people deserve our thanks, a decent wage, and protection from harassment and exploitation. I understand the problem of illegal immigration, but if there is no clear and timely path to resolving that, we will not have fresh food in the store.

      He who is last will be first. Believe it.

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  17. This is a refreshing Post addressing extremes in thought and behavior that I also see growing more apparent with some as hardships and bad news mount daily, along with body count. Nobody alive Today really saw or would remember the last Pandemic if they were over 100 and got thru it as an Infant. There is a lot of Anxiety and I'm among those who have more than I used to prior to this outbreak. But I'm not a Prepper and I don't Believe that Escape is the answer to any crisis we come up against in Life. Nature will do what it does, run it's course... how we react is going to be telling about each of us.

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    1. How we react as people to what nature does will determine what our future will look like. Will it bring us together or drive us further apart?

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  18. Canada is one of the places people want to run to, it seems. I have first-hand experience of this, having grown up in a northern part of Canada considered by many to be remote (although to me, as a child, my little valley seemed to be the centre of the world and the big cities were remote). Our valley was a destination for draft dodgers, back-to-the-landers, and Americans paranoid about the consequences of the Cold War. I had a friend in high school whose father had moved their family from the USA to a camp in the mountains twenty miles from our small town. It was accessible only by four wheel drive, or snowmobile in the winter, and they homeschooled the children until they reached high school age. Another high school friend, daughter of of escapees, lived in a primitive cabin in the bush without electricity or running water. I remember her telling me about the arguments she had with her parents about being allowed to wash her long red hair, because getting and heating water was such an ordeal, especially during the long winters. She had a nearly two hour bus ride to get to school. Another friend, a draft dodger, squatted in a cabin up in the mountains of a mine that had been closed. The mine administration tried to evict him and he resisted, and after several years of correspondence, they hired him as a watchman for a small wage and the right to live in the cabin. He didn’t have a vehicle, and it was a fourteen mile walk to town. Many ranches in the area were bought by wealthy Americans as a place to escape to or retire to. As teens, we heard rumours of cabins in the bush that were lived in by crazy hermits with arsenals of firearms and we were warned not to approach those places.

    Many of these people stayed on, and eventually integrated with the community. For example, one of my current friends originally came seeking the back to the land lifestyle with her draft dodger husband and eventually they ended up in town. She taught music in the school, and he led an environmental advocacy group. My comment on all this for people who are running away is to remember that the place they are running to, although it may seem remote to them, is already someone’s home.

    Jude

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    1. Running away rarely is the panacea people think it will be. Your fascainting stores from your youth prove the point. From my perspective it all sounds very exotic and dangerous. From your viewpoint, it just sounds like home!

      Americans who are fed up with the government or the various problems facing us dream of finding a new place to call home, but it is likely wherever they choose will disappoint. Humans bring baggage with them and we all suffer from the same flaws regardless of where we land.

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