Yesterday felt like a commonly-experienced Challenging Day, at least I saw a lot of like-minded social posts about how things were kind of sad/exhausting/anxious for a lot of people. I kept getting drawn to news stories about young and healthy people getting terribly sick and/or dying and I realize these make for sensationalist, scroll-stopping topics at the moment and I should refocus on the statistics and just do what I can to keep my family healthy because what else can I do, but also: a tight knot of fear in my chest that just never goes away now.

As more and more people become infected I have this strange mental image of objects dropping from the sky, more and more as every day goes by. Maybe you are spared, maybe one collides with your skull, maybe you get grazed, maybe your loved one is killed right next to you.

There seems to be no sense to why these things are striking people but of course it’s not completely random, there are all these micro-patterns placing people in harm’s way, and randomness seems terrifying but it seems even worse to believe we have some tiny amount of control. I can’t stop thinking about the people who are choosing to be the most at risk right now — or are without choice because they are considered an essential worker — and how healthcare providers and grocery clerks and restaurant employees and delivery people are out there every day while I huddle in isolation.

I could tell you that I am enormously blessed, blessed to have a remote job and a house filled with creature comforts and a lifestyle that’s fairly adaptable. You could take that word blessed and replace it with privileged and it would be every bit as true, and how fair is that, if the reason I dodge these pieces of falling sky is because of the world being stacked in my favor despite all the crappy life choices I’ve made?

There’s this quote from The Unforgiven: “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” I am not a spiritual person, so I suppose that is what I believe: that life is not driven by any sort of karmic justice.

It seems like I should be able to feel some ease from that, a surrender from my endless toxic inner dialogue, but it’s one more reason I have a hard time taking a deep breath right now. It’s another beat in the jungle drums that sound a bit louder every day.

Comments

6 Responses to “Inequitable”

  1. Courtney on March 28th, 2020 12:57 pm

    I’ve been grappling with the word “privilege” for the last couple of years. Holy *shiiiiiit* am I privileged; engaged parents who partially paid for college/ grad school, white collar job married to a guy with another white collar job, extended family to fall back on. Sizeable house to shelter in place in and plenty of food and supplies. We are privileged. Yes, we’ve worked hard. Yes, there has been hardship (our 11 month old child died 3 years ago on Tuesday), but the place we started from gave us such huge legs up.

    I’m so completely humbled by the medical workers and other essential services folks. How about we quit being dicks and pay them what they’re worth? I wasn’t smart enough to go through a nursing program. They were, and now they’re putting themselves on the line every day. I’m humbled.

  2. Maggie on March 28th, 2020 6:17 pm

    Love the post today and the above comment is perfect. I have nothing to add except that today was the first day I cried over this situation.

  3. Joanna on March 28th, 2020 6:28 pm

    I can’t stop reading the scary stuff either. Objects dropping from the sky is spot on. We are privileged to be holed up, too. I keep thinking about my least favorite checker at my regular store. He is so so slow and I usually try to avoid him. I went shopping just as the panic was creeping in and ended up in his lane. Everyone had huge carts and he looked tired and flustered. The lady in front of me forgot something and he ran after her. I just wanted to hug him and tell him he was doing an amazing job. Tim, I’m worried about you. If we all pull through I promise I will seek out your lane from now on.
    Can we tip our checkers with gift cards?

  4. Elissa on March 29th, 2020 12:43 am

    As an RN I notice that my anxiety is steadily rising. I am terrified that I may bring something home to immunocompromised spouse or my child. All I can do is be extra careful with hygiene and strip and shower as soon as I come home. It is terrifying and I feel like I am eventually going to crack.

  5. Wendy on March 29th, 2020 6:49 am

    Beautifully written (as always) and oh, I can relate. My daughter and her husband work in a prison, and she’s terrified that she’ll bring the virus home to her twin 3 month old babies, born premature. They have no antibacterial gel or any PPE for their employees, and she can’t find any. I’m making masks for them — it’s not much, but it’s all I can do to help from afar.

  6. Shawna on March 30th, 2020 5:44 am

    The things dropping from the sky analogy is exactly right.

    I too am lucky/privileged. Decent-sized house, a job I can mostly do remotely that I’m in no danger of losing. My husband is immunocompromised due to a medication he’s taking, and his business provides an essential service so he can’t stay home and has to interact with the world. He’s told me that he just wants to survive this, and to not bring it home to us. It really keeps things in perspective if I’m ever tempted to chafe about the restrictions we’re under.

    My sister works in a grocery store and she’s super-happy that she doesn’t have to stay home because “Staying home would drive me crazy, lol, but as an essential service I’m never on lockdown!” She seems to view it as a get-out-of-jail-free card. It’s so frustrating to read her FB feed I’ve unfollowed her. My husband would give anything to be able to stay home!

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