Saludos, mi gente.
It’s kind of a crazy time right now, isn’t it? It’s admittedly difficult for me to put into words quite how surreal the world feels. Some moments it feels like we’ve lost all control of our place in life, and all we can do is buckle up and hang on for what seems like the long haul. There must be more, though, than just locking ourselves indoors and binge-watching Netflix until the panic fades and the pandemic passes.
As far as we know,
COVID-19 has yet to hit us directly here in Santa Cruz County. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t feeling the effects of this novel virus.
I was in Walmart just the other day, doing my best to keep six-to-10 feet between myself and everyone else (not an easy thing to do). And although I’d seen the pictures and memes on Facebook, I wasn’t quite prepared for the scene I was to find near the back of the grocery section. Sure enough, all the toilet paper, paper towels, wipies, etc were completely sold out. Entire shelves of non-perishable foods were cleared too. I didn’t check the water, but I imagine that was cleared out, too.
We also, of course, have suffered from school closures, leaving many families confused about how their children are to finish up the school year. Thankfully, programs are already in place to feed kids that rely on their meals at school to eat, and there are plenty of free online programs to help students continue learning even though they’re not in school.
But what about those students who don’t have internet access? The easiest answer would be for them to go to the library, or assuming they have access to a laptop, use the wifi at Starbucks, or any of the local establishments that offer access to wireless internet.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of our current crisis, those aren’t viable options either. Many local restaurants and fast food establishments have opted to close their dining areas to halt the spread of the new disease. “Social distancing” has been determined by the CDC to be the best method of keeping this virus under control and to keep from overwhelming the health care system. Events are being cancelled, businesses closed and we find ourselves shut in and shut out even from some of our loved ones.
So what can we do? My first suggestion is to take a deep breath. The world is still spinning. We may not feel in control now, but were we ever really in control in the first place?
Take this time to do the things you love. If you have kids stuck with you at home, have some fun with them. Build a blanket fort, make some art, go camping in the yard, teach them things they can’t learn in school.
Most importantly, I feel, is to keep a journal. Even if it’s just a daily Facebook post, we should chronicle this time in history, and we should encourage our children to do the same. Provide the future with more than just memes about toilet paper.
(The Wright Idea is a monthly column created by Nogales author Joe Wright in honor of his father’s long-time NI column, The Wright Stuff. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)