- Social distancing
- Hand-washing for two rounds of “Happy Birthday”
- Grocery stores’ shelves straight out of 1980s Russia
- Price gouging
- Hand-sanitizing to the point it draws blood
- Drive-through testing sites
- Hazmat suits
- Empty trains and buses
- Businesses shuttering
- Thousands of people losing their jobs
This is like a disaster movie.
A bad one.
Where the scariest part isn’t Matt Damon’s acting or Gwyneth Paltrow just taking up space.
No, the scariest part is that you do not know. And, in truth, nobody really does yet.
Not even Morgan Freeman!
It has taken me over a week to wrap my head around the ever-changing prognosis and restrictions; I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit disconcerting. I mean, really, who is going to say it’s not scary that your entire state is essentially shutting down for the foreseeable future with no restart date in mind because there is a virulent virus ravaging our communities indiscriminately? If they do not feel even a shred of concern, then they’re probably getting their news from social media.
I admittedly like concrete answers; as a teacher, I assess problems and come up with solutions and then move on to another issue. So this current predicament we all now find ourselves in presented me with a paralysis of sorts. I felt like the guy in the quit smoking commercial who can’t figure out how to get his leg into his pants.
I was getting up as if I was going to work. Except I didn’t have to shower at that time. Or brush my teeth. Or get dressed.
I didn’t have to pack my lunch or get to work early to set up a stations activity or make copies of the pick up for the day.
I was untethered, struggling like a first year teacher to find my footing. And that has nothing to do with not being able to do the job. I have all the confidence that I am providing a quality digital learning experience to my students and giving them feedback as I would if we were in the classroom.
Except we’re not.
And that’s weird.
Though, a lot is weird nowadays.
Take out food AND take out drinks? Weird.
Shortage of toilet paper (because that’s the one item that will save us from the apocalypse)? Weird.
Empty NYC streets? Weird.
People hoping for bad weather all the time now? Weird.
Laughing at the traffic and transit person talking about your morning commute – to your couch? Weird.
Digital happy hour?!?!?!?! Super weird.
As odd as this new reality is, though, you begin to notice silver-linings of humanity:
- The students who struggled in the classroom to participate finding their own voice in this new digital format
- Neighbors checking up on neighbors
- Italians singing from balconies (we get it, everyone in Italy has a sweet balcony)
- The essential workers who risk their health to protect the greater public’s
- The reconnecting with friends and family on video conferences
- The appreciation of a walk (rec time!!!!!)
- The students who have become accountable for the effort they put into their work and the realization that this – not the grade – is what distinguishes them.
- Governor Cuomo riding in on a white horse to restore order to his realm
- Dr. Fauci standing up to misinformation in the name of public health and with the backing of science!
This new norm is still a work in progress as we’re not even at the peak of COVID-19 in New York. These are lonely, trying times that admittedly leave us at a loss because we just don’t know what comes next. Just know that you’re not the only one feeling that way.
We all are.
And that’s okay – it just means we’re in this together.
So wash your hands to some Toto and don’t forget that.