Lesson 1: The “Stay-at-Home” Joke — My Life Has Never Been Easier, and That’s What I Find Uncomfortable.
Hey, John Krasinski…I have Some Good News for you!
COVID-19 has made my life so much easier.
At the writing of this piece, I only personally know two people who have been diagnosed with the virus. I’d consider both of them friendly acquaintances, but not close friends. To this point, one has yet to be hospitalized, and the other was hospitalized for 4 days before going home. This is the extent of how COVID has negatively affected me.
From what I’ve read and heard, experiencing COVID-19 can be terrible. I know people have died. I don’t want to make light of this fact. But I need to be honest about the lack of difficulty I’ve experienced as a result of COVID-19.
Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had to change some plans. For instance, our summer vacation plans were disrupted. We had planned on enjoying a cruise of the Mediterranean out of Rome. I talked to a friend who was in a similar situation. He was quick to cancel his plans and received a 100% refund. He later found out that had he waited a while, he could have received a voucher for more than what he paid.
So we waited, and decided we’d either go on the cruise or accept what they offered us. As a reward for our patience, we scored a voucher for 140% of our original cost towards future cruises. The virus has had a tremendous negative effect on the industry which has resulted in lower prices for future cruises. We were able to spin the money we would have spent on our one cruise into two future cruises. We’ll take one in the summer of 2021 (Rome/Italy/ and the Mediterranean) and the next in 2022 (China and Japan). I’m not sure I’d call that “inconvenient.”
Since we can’t cruise this year, we’ve decided to drive across the United States as a family. This has been a bucket list item for me for some time. If not for COVID-19, I’m not sure we would have done this before my son graduates from high-school next year. So thank-you, COVID-19, for making this possible.
But wait, there’s more non-suffering for me.
I work at a law-enforcement agency as a dispatcher, so I still have a job. My agency is on a closed college campus, so if I receive two calls a day, I consider it busy. This has given me more time to read and write. The most difficult thing I have to do is fight the urge to waste time watching Netflix or Youtube.
The battle is real, people.
Fortunately there are establishments looking out for people like me.
As a dispatcher I am considered a first responder. I know, I know…but when you call the police, who’s the first person to respond? That’s right. It’s the person who answers the phone.
For the record, if anyone challenged whether I deserve the same treatment as the officers I work with, I’d concede their point…quickly. But that’s more to my angle in this piece. Let me go on…
- There are currently restaurants offering free food for first responders. I’ve eaten for free twice. I could probably do it every day if my conscience didn’t get the best of me.
- My wife is a executive who spends about 50% of her time away on business. The pandemic has meant she hasn’t had to travel. Our entire family has spent the past two months together. I’ll take it.
- School and all other extra-curricular activities are cancelled. So, I haven’t had to cart my daughter around town to whatever practices and events she would have otherwise had.
- The middle-school drama is over for this year. This has been a problem in the past. COVID-19 solved the issue for me for a little while. The respite has been nice.
Back when my state first went under a stay-at-home order, I was issued a special letter to provide for law enforcement should I be pulled over on the way to work.
What a joke.
It still feels like everyone is driving everywhere.
If your town is anything like mine, little has changed. We still shop at the big box stores as well as the supermarkets. I was fortunate to have stocked up on toilette paper back in February. It had nothing to do with COVID-19. Just good timing, I suppose. I was also gifted a bidet for Christmas as a sort of joke/not a joke. As it turns out, it’s been a fortuitous gifting for us. But I digress…
I’ve had extra time to attack those home projects that have been eating at me. Lowes and Home Depot have been happy to help supply my needs. Walmart, and all the big fast food establishments have been running like clockwork. Heck, I think the speed of service at the local Dunkins has even improved.
There hasn’t been one thing that has been lacking in my life.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful.
But back in the recesses of my emotions, there’s a part of me that wonders if my experience is fair. I’ve known for many years there are systems in place which work well for people like me. It’s a convenient truth which results in a bit of cognitive dissonance.
COVID-19 put my privilege under a magnifying glass.
I’ve had some time to consider what it might mean for me to live a life of ease like I have, and how I want to begin to change adjust my life in the future. What would it look like for me to live the good life, but also be committed to bringing that good to others?
With the additional time I’ve had, I have been able to read a couple books which have likely aided in my introspection. I took the opportunity to read To Kill a Mockingbird and The Grapes of Wrath. They’ve provided much food for thought during the pandemic. These thoughts demand a bit of writing from myself, which I will do in the next few days.
I’m curious as to whether there are others sharing my feelings of discomfort regarding…comfort during a worldwide crisis. Is it just a benefit of living in a rural area? Or are there other factors at play?