For the last few weeks, I’ve been receiving notifications about cancellations – school events, alumni banquets, humane society clinics, church events, library programs, Easter egg hunts, and government meetings.
In my personal emails, concerts are being postponed or outright canceled, Forward Madison FC’s season has been pushed back, museums are closing, stores are shutting their doors, and even my much needed haircut will have to be rescheduled for when Gov. Tony Evers declares it’s safe to return to what we know as normal life.
And as disappointing as it is to see the word canceled on nearly everything, I know it’s to help minimize the impact of COVID-19.
But, not everything is canceled. For instance, I’m still getting 10-plus spam emails a day. Among the many releases from the governor’s office and state department of health, I am being informed sequined cashmere sweaters are for sale as is the cure for toenail fungus. I’m receiving invites to join an over-50 dating site and tons of junk about “the coronavirus cures celebrities don’t want you to know.”
The junk phone calls continue as well. Apparently my car is still under warranty (there was no warranty when I bought it) and am I looking for affordable health insurance (aren’t we all)? There’s the weekly call to have my business listed on Google; the incoming call is listed as coming from inside the state.
While I make these remarks in jest (did we really think spam was going to stop just because everything else is coming to a halt, there are other things not being canceled by coronavirus that are much more pleasant than the deluge of junk.
• Laughter. Have you seen the many videos of people doing outrageous things during this time? My favorite has to be the people wearing inflatable dinosaur suits going grocery shopping. Part of me wants to buy one of those costumes and parade downtown, just to amuse people who are stuck at home. There are also plenty of inventive videos coming out of the pandemic to keep us laughing.
• Nature. The Wisconsin State Parks system has waived all fees to enter the state parks and use the state trails. One of my friends has been getting to a few of the area parks a couple times a week to take hikes. People are reminded to keep six-feet away from one another while at the parks. Bathroom facilities at the parks are still open for use. The state parks are a great way to escape from being inside. You can also explore nature in your yard or while out on a walk.
• Chocolate. Or ice cream or cake or any other sort of delicious-yet-not-quite-healthy food you like to eat. It’s all still there.
• Common sense. Alright, so for some people the pandemic has wiped away a bit of common sense. Who really needs to purchase five 10-packs of toilet paper? Please, leave some on the shelf for the rest of us. This goes for cleaning supplies as well.
• Kindness. There’s a lot of frustration going on right now – people who suddenly find themselves unemployed, going to the store and finding the item you wanted is currently out of stock, not knowing when we can go back to our normal lives, the general nastiness of people on social media and real life, and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of COVID-19 information constantly being updated. It’s easy to vent this frustration in negative ways, but right now, we’re all feeling frustrated, we’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed with life, and we’re all looking forward to when we can go back to normal. So instead of snapping at the cashier when they ask if you found everything and there was no hand sanitizer, instead of getting annoyed at the longer than usual line at the drive-thru, or any other little thing that gets on your nerves, choose to be kind. Tell the cashier you hope they have a great day, thank the people who are working the drive-thru, give a thumbs up to the sanitation workers, wave to people you pass, and ask your friends and family if they need any help during this time. Any small amount of kindness can make someone’s day a bit better.
I hope you are all staying healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally. And like all of you, I’m counting down the days until safer-at-home will be lifted.