Stay at home.

I don’t get it.

Who are these people who are still congregating? Who are these people who are still going out and being with others? Who are they?

Do they just not get it?

Don’t they realize what is happening in the world?

Don’t they realize what is happening in their communities?

Yes. It sucks.

This isn’t what we’d planned for spring 2020.

But this is what we’ve been given. COVID2019. It’s what we have to experience and live with and deal with.

And the only option we have – which runs counter to everything we’ve learned about people a person – is getting away from other people.

If we get away, we don’t spread. If we don’t spread then then people live rather than die. It’s so simple. It’s hard, but it’s simple.

This isn’t a video game. It’s not a movie. It’s actual real life. And the choices we make today will impact the lives of the people around us.

We’re not in our normal reality. We’re in a new reality. And this is the reality. Stay home and save lives. Go out and risk lives.

It’s not difficult. We want to get out of this, and what needs to happen to help us get out of this is not difficult.

Well, it is difficult, but it needs to happen.

Just stay. home. Stay. Home. Stay. Home. Stay. Home.

Life in China is returning to normal

Took the family for a walk to the grocery store. Got some Subway for Noah and some tofu soup for Koolyash. My daughter went on a dinner date with a boy. She’s still out now, and I’m readying my shotgun.

And social distancing seems to be a thing of the past, if this restaurant we passed on our walk is any indication.

Maybe it’s some form of PTSD, but I still can’t compute that things could be returning to an actual normal, but that does seem to be what’s going on here. If not for the ever-present masks and the constant temperature checks, nothing would be out of the ordinary on the streets of Shenzhen.

And I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but I do want to remind you that it took us two months of strict social distancing, staying at home, and quarantine to get us to this point.

We did it. You can do it.


Netflix and Chill

Here’s a big difference between living in China during COVID19 and seeing the virus running amok in a place like America:

Actually hearing about the people who are dying.

I never heard a thing in China. I never knew anyone with the virus, I never heard about people who had the virus, I never knew anyone who knew anyone whose lives was impacted by the virus in a direct way. I saw the numbers, but I didn’t see one social media response from anyone who was experiencing the loss of a loved one to the virus.

Now, I’m hearing about it.

Now, I know someone who has lost someone to the virus.

Now, I’m seeing on social media where people are losing family to the virus.

Now, I know people who are working the front lines, people who are working with people who may potentially have the virus.

Now, suddenly, after two months, it’s become a real thing.

People are dying, and we’re going to be hearing more and more about it. More messages about uncles and aunts and grandparents.

And it sucks.

And it makes what the rest of us are doing that much more important:

Staying at home.

Such a simple thing, staying at home. We watch some movies, we do some internet learning, we make some cookies.

But it will have such a profound effect.

It will literally save lives.

Who would have thought that binging Netflix would actually be a socially responsible thing to do?

But that is what 2020 has brought us. Netflix and chill. Netflix and chill and chill and chill and chill.

And after we’ve chilled enough, maybe this thing will have passed. We will lose people along the way, but maybe not near as many as would have lost otherwise.

Netflix and chill.

Smushing the Days • Quarantine Day 63

IMG_2252Day 63.

You’d think I would have celebrated day 60, being that 60 is such a nice and round number.

But that’s the way it goes during quarantine. The days smush together. I didn’t even realize we’d passed 60.

There have been days where I thought, “I need to go update the calendar,” and when I went to update it, I hadn’t updated for four days.

But I just updated it yesterday.

But that was four days ago.

That’s the way it goes during quarantine.

Prepare for the days to smush together.

There are little things that make the days feel different. Sundays. Sundays have always felt different. I think that we actually had family church time on a Sunday or two. Sometimes, though, we were in quarantine, and we didn’t really realize it was Sunday.

There’s schooling. In our house, we’re both learning and teaching. That helps give the days structure. But, because we’re all trying to adapt to this online learning model, it’s been hard to figure out the structure. In our house, I try to figure out the things our little one has to do and have it ready for him when he gets up in the morning. Technology being technology, this has sometimes led to me using – as Spock called them – colorful metaphors. Seesaw, Zoom, IXL… all things I never heard of or cared about before. Now they’re a part of our daily lives.

There’s the things we watch to pass the time. I watched all seven seasons of Brooklyn 99, and mourned when it was done. I’ve rewatched Firefly. I’m rewatching Curb your Enthusiasm. I did the Nic Cage thing. I download movies for Koolyash every day. I just asked her what she watched yesterday. She couldn’t remember.

That’s the way it goes during quarantine.

It’s the long haul. It’s allowing the days to smush. It’s realizing that you’re living Groundhog Day, but you’re doing it to save lives.

This is my experience. My family’s experience. We were stay-at-homers. If you’re an “essential” person, your experience will be different. But not your family’s. They’ll be staying at home. Smushing their days. While you are facing this thing full on, like a boss.

I don’t have any advice for this. Everyone is dealing with it in a different way. And I mean EVERYONE. We’re all smushing. Everyone around the world. Consider that for a moment… is there anywhere where people aren’t smushing their days and trying to beat this thing, collectively? Nothing like this has ever happened before in human history. A collective worldwide experience of smushing our days to save lives.

Start marking the days with a calendar and see if the days don’t smush for you, too.

Podcasts and COVID19 and living in an outbreak

For the last few weeks, before COVID19 made its grand appearance on the American shores, I’d spend my days on the streets of Shenzhen, walking (to boost my immunity) and listening to podcasts. The hosts would talk about the mundane things that podcast hosts talk about, and it was such a relief. It took me out of the world of COVID19 and into the world of the mundane. It was one of the things that kept me sane.

Today I went for a walk, listening to the latest editions of my favorite podcasts. They were all podcasting about being in the heart of the outbreak.

Every. Single. One.

It transported me back to several weeks ago when I was feeling what they are talking about now. What you are experiencing now.

I didn’t like that feeling.

Things are getting better here. They’re talking about schools reopening. The streets are crowded. Crowded with masked people, but they are crowded. I went to the grocery today and rode the bus home. The entire busride home I had to cough, but I suppressed it, because everyone still has the virus in the backs of their minds. But there were lots of people on the bus. That wasn’t the case a few weeks ago.

And the whole time, the podcasts in my headphones were talking about just entering the just-stay-home lifestyle and keeping six feet distance and a lack of toilet paper.

A few weeks ago I talked about things being surreal. We’ve just entered Surreal 2.0.

It’s like I’m a time traveller. I’m from the future. I’m experiencing your present while living in the future, which is your future if you play your cards the right way.

I’m really not sure where this post is going, except to tell you to stay the course. If you stay the course, you’ll be emerging from this thing a few weeks from now, just like we are. You’ll see life returning to normal, just like we are. The only difference is that the podcasts you listen to will be returning to normal at the same time and not be on some time-travel delay.

Trust me. That will be a good day.

Stay the course.

Just stay the course.