Pandemic Life and the Slow Burn

pandemic Apr 05, 2020

I could hear the birds outside while I was meditating this morning. That means Spring is here. I want to go for a bicycle ride instead of working out in the basement and enjoy the sunrise on the road. But I can’t. I need to cut the workout short, get showered, grab my mask and gloves, and go wait on line in front of the supermarket.

This is life during the pandemic.

Of course, having a mask, gloves, and a supermarket to wait on line at makes me privileged. Many people, some only a few miles away in New York City live in the city’s poor neighborhoods, the “food deserts,” and struggle to find any food at all. More than four thousand people have succumbed to the virus in my area. There are 130,000 “active cases,” many of whom are suffering. Others aren’t sick (yet?)

So, I deal with the slow burn of this crisis knowing that I’ll probably come out on the other side unscathed.

I do well in a crisis. When many others scream, shout, and try desperately to do everything at once, I keep cool. Time slows, and I can evaluate options quickly and pick one. It might not be the best choice, but it’s usually defensible.

It’s when things slow down that I do terribly. While I thrive on routine, my id grows bored and actively seeks change. I’ve literally quit jobs because of the lack of crises.

So this crisis isn’t one that I do well in. After you solve the relatively minor problem of getting groceries here, you just wait. There’s no eye of the storm to watch pass over. No snowfall that will eventually taper off. There’s just graphs to watch (or better yet, not watch) until they drop off in late April or (more likely) mid-May. (Then we can worry about the virus returning, but I digress…)

So I’m struggling with this one.

As I wrote earlier, I started a new routine in January. This may have saved my sanity by giving me a degree of normalcy. I do my morning routine, “commute” upstairs to my office, and put in eight or none hours of work for the day job.

The part of me that slows time down and analyzes options keeps seeing different ways to react to this crisis. Order more groceries? Try to find more masks? Look for a better place to wait this thing out?

My id seeks out the change. The writer in me asks, “what if…”

So, I burn. Slowly.

How are you doing?

Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.