We are frightened.
Oh, most of us sublimate that fear. We hide it under home projects, work in insane conditions, homeschooling, and craft projects. But we are scared. This is brand new for us. This hasn’t happened in living memory.
We are allowed to be afraid.
We are also allowed, and you should give yourself SPECIFIC permission for this, to NOT learn a new language, create the new Thing, get that book written… creativity doesn’t always play well with stress. And this is, make no mistake, a stressful situation for us all.
The world is stopping.
Slowly, oddly, each wheel at a different rate from the million other wheels, but it’s stopping. It’s not stopping fast enough, but it’s stopping.
This is a good thing, despite the sheer amazement and fear. We need to stop this disease, and stopping the world is the only way. We should also be doing comprehensive testing before we allow it to start again, but I’m too cynical to believe that will happen.
In the meantime, the world is waking up, blinking the sleep from their eyes, and looking around.
And a VERY IMPORTANT NOTE about looking around. DOCUMENT what you see, what you hear, what you feel. Later pundits are going to try to minimize, gaslight, and disprove what is actually happening. Take pictures. Take video. Make real-time comments. Save them. Publish them. DO NOT LET THEM ERASE THIS. PLEASE share your experiences below.
Having the time to care was a luxury few were afforded in the past. Now that we have the time, we’ve realized how good it feels, how important it is – and how much we’ve been blinded by the corporate machinery of late-stage capitalism.
Will we take this gift and squander it when the world starts up again? Or will we make the change needed to create a better world? A world where we do good deeds because it’s the right thing to do, rather than because we get a tax break for it? A world where we care for our neighbors, our friends, and our community?
Or will we dive back into The Comfortable, The Normal, burrowing under the covers of our own imprisonment because it offers an illusory safety? A facade of reality, burying the true reality of a Community of Care?
We have a chance. An unusual chance offered once a century to throw off the net that keeps us in place during normal times. A chance to make the new paradigm into something that helps the whole of society, not just those holding the purse strings.
We have a chance to prove that our society IS one that cares for its most vulnerable, one that wants to help all people, not just those willing to spill their life’s blood into the gears of the Corporate Machine. Not just those that have some ‘worth’ by their labor.
All. The. People.
The Elder. The Young. The Differently-Abled. The Dreamers. The Creators. The Strange and Wonderful.
Let’s create our new world in a way that cherishes those we need most – those that can exist above and beyond the ‘rules.’
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
— Steve Jobs, 1997
From a grocery store manager:
I manage a grocery store.
Here’s some things everyone should know:
1. I don’t have toilet paper
2. I don’t have sanitizer
3. I run out of milk, eggs and meat daily
4. I promise if it’s out on the shelf … it’s not in a hidden corner of our back room
Those are the predictable ones, now for the real stuff
5. I have been doing this for 25 years I did not forget how to order product
6. I did not cause the warehouse to be out of product
7. I schedule as much help as I have, including many TMs working TONS of overtime to help YOU
8. I am sorry there are lines at the check out lanes
Now for the really important stuff
9. My team puts themselves in harm’s way everyday so you can buy groceries
10. My team works tirelessly to get product on the floor for you to buy
11. My team is exhausted
12. My team is scared of getting sick
13. My team is human and do not possess an antivirus… they are in just as much danger as you are. (Arguably more) But they show up to work everyday just so you can buy groceries
14. My team is tired
15. My team is very under appreciated
16. My team is exposed to more people who are potentially infected in one hour than most of you will in a week (medical community excluded, thank you for all that you do!)
17. My team is abused all day by customers who have no idea how ignorant they are
18. My team disinfects every surface possible, everyday, just so you can come in grab a wipe from the dispenser, wipe the handle and throw the used wipe in the cart or on the ground and leave it there… so my team can throw it in the trash for you later
19. My team wonders if you wash your re-usable bags, that you force us to touch, that are clearly dirty and have more germs on them than our shopping carts do
20. My team more than earns their breaks, lunches and days off. And if that means you wait longer I am sorry.
The last thing I will say is this
The next time you are in a grocery store, please pause and think about what you are saying and how you are treating the people you encounter. They are the reason you are able to buy toilet paper, sanitizer, milk, eggs and meat.
If the store you go to is out of an item.. maybe find the neighbor or friend that bought enough for a year … there are hundreds of them… and ask them to spare 1 or 2. They caused the problem to begin with…
And lastly, please THANK the people who helped you. They don’t have to come to work!
Great comments and perspective. I hope we meet in the future 🤗
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All restaurants in my city are closed by state mandate except for takeout and delivery. Many now have lowered hours and/or days open. Liquor stores are mostly open but with restricted hours.
The formerly 24-hour stores (Wegmans/Walmart) are closed for certain hours at night for disinfecting, like 10pm to 7am. Also, they have designated early hours for the elderly and vulnerable. They are restricting entrance and exits, using shopping carts to funnel people in and out. There are taped lines to keep people in line at 6 foot distances. Plastic shields are put up to protect the cashiers.
The sections usually or always empty for the last two weeks at our grocery store: Hand sanitizer, toilet paper (they’ve finally gotten some in now), flour/baking supplies, disinfectant.
Some things (like water, toilet paper, spaghetti sauce, butter, etc.) that are there are accompanied by signs restricting purchase to one per household.