People Are Avoiding the ‘Rona In More Ways Than One

So, my mom turned 80 this week. Huge milestone, and it’s sad we couldn’t have a party or some kind of get together, but the way the ‘rona is set up, one must be cautious lest your celebration lead, quite literally, to your demise.

It’s funny though. My old lady can be extremely charming. But more often than I’d like, especially now that she’s on lockdown at home, she’s more like a stereotypically cranky old woman.

I get it. My mother lives to run the streets. I can still remember vividly when she had knee surgery years ago and stayed in a rehab center for a bit. She cried and lost weight not because she wasn’t healing — or because I wasn’t driving to Hyde Park almost every night to visit — but because she couldn’t move about freely. When I say my mama lives to run the streets, I’m not exaggerating at all. She literally gets depressed if she has to stay home.

I know it’s necessary, and she knows it’s necessary, but even now I’m low key amazed that she hasn’t busted out of the house more often. But the cranky? Yeah, that’s a thing.

Part of the reason, I speculate, is because she’s watching too much TV news. Between that person in the White House and the endless coronavirus updates – few if any say anything even remotely encouraging – it would be more than enough to blight anyone’s mood.

To be frank, TV is a programmed shit show. I’ve cautioned her against watching so much, but if you have any older folks in your life, like most adults, you can’t tell them nothing. So, it is what it is, and what it is, is depressing.

That’s why I don’t watch TV. I get my news at carefully curated times, in quite small, easily digestible doses when I want to, not on a regularly schedule TV programming loop. I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I read an article in Fast Company today that detailed why many people are doing exactly the same thing I am — dodging the ‘rona. Only it’s not just the virus itself we’re fobbing off, it’s any news or content associated with it as well. According to this piece, women are more likely than men to avoid ‘rona-related news, though not by much. Check. We’re dodging the news because it’s a mood killer, check, and even more telling, it’s people in my age group who dodge it the most: 28% of 25- to 44-year-olds. Check again.

Granted, these stats come from a UK survey from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. But the fact that I, an American woman, can relate so instantly to the data suggests the sentiments expressed are global in nature.

I mean, raise your hand if you feel deprived or irresponsible for effecting these evasive news maneuvers. No? Me either. Nothing is happening quickly enough that I will miss something of substance by refusing to tip myself head first in all things ’rona. I did that in the beginning, I had low grade anxiety, and it did absolutely no good because the key points remain the same:

  • Wear your mask and gloves in public spaces
  • Wash your hands frequently and well, and take other precautions to keep yourself and your environment clean and ‘rona free
  • Focus on your health and bolstering your immune system. Health is the new luxury, and if she does come – the ‘rona, I mean – you’ll have a better chance of fighting her off if you’re physically and mentally strong
  • There are no substantive, definitive treatments for the coronavirus
  • There is no vaccine
  • When your state opens back up, be smart. Hair, nails, restaurants and what not aren’t worth risking your life
  • The economy is suffering, people are out of work, unable to pay their bills, and things are likely to get worse. Be compassionate and smart with your money
  • If you’re lucky enough to have a job right now, be smart about how you’re working. Be open to creative problem solving, and communicate clearly and often as you are almost certainly engaged in more virtual engagements than usual
  • Take care of yourself and your loves ones
  • Practice self-care, and try to laugh and have some fun
  • Be kind because we are all in this together
  • If you do that sort of thing, now’s a fabulous time for prayer

As far as I’m concerned, if you live by the aforementioned list you’re not only informed, you’re ahead of the game. So, please stay healthy – and sane. Limit your news consumption if you find it’s disrupting your mood. The other life and world-altering disruptions we’re all dealing with right now are enough to handle without repetitive, up to the minute infusions of news on the ‘rona.

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