I feel compelled to send this to my near and dear. I am going to do something I rarely do – allow you to determine for yourselves what you think and feel about the two articles I am sending. The first by Courtney Ariel titled: For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies
May 7th: Dress in Hazmat suit, gloves, mask. Carry wipes and survival portion of peanut butter cookies….
Arrive Fort Lauderdale Airport. Wheelchair Server in mask waits while I wipe down the wheelchair. He explains why the airport looks abandoned… “It went from 180 flights a day to 6.”
Arrive at gate my usual 90 minutes before flight. Most of my fellow passengers sit patiently. I know I look like a cartoon. Not a giggle, not a murmur, just head and eyes turned away from each other. It felt as if by looking they would be exposed to the virus. Not a lot of sound. Oh, so serious… or should I say, terrified.
Airline glitch: We were there in plenty of time to be loaded onto the plane 2 or 3 at a time. They waited until 15 minutes before flight time and loaded everyone the usual way with all standing belly to belly in the aisle. The plane was 2/3rd full. The middle seat was empty but if you were in an aisle seat you were inches apart from someone across the aisle and exposed to the line of passengers as they went down the aisle to their seat.
Albany arrival was smooth and as I was picked up by a masked man in a van who closely resembled a good friend, I diligently threw away my hazmat suit, gloves, wiped the handles on the door and settled myself for the anticipated beautiful ride through the Berkshire mountains to my home.
Quarantined from May 7th – May 21st. Grateful for the help and thoughtfulness of friends and family as I made the adjustment from South to North. I was afforded a glimpse of the winter I thought I had missed – snow, sleet, rain, cold temperatures greeted me throughout my quarantine. It was just fine with me. By the end of my isolation, I had survived the transition and as a reward, the weather changed and a much awaited warm spring had arrived. I have so much to be grateful for… first and foremost, the pulse is pulsing. This is good. Everything else is a plus… food, shelter, family, friends (although at this age there is a growing list of absenteeism from the list). So this sense of disquiet that I find growing inside of me…. where is it coming from??
Let me try to explain it to me and pass it on to you.
It is not news to anyone today. We are being challenged.
There are those of us who are being physically challenged with the arrival of this virus. All speed to healing and return to health. And then there are those of us who are economically challenged. This may be the time to look at what we were doing and rethink and re-tool, remembering as we go… we are not human doings, we are human beings. Please, I am not being glib. I remember so many times in this very long life of mine I thought it was all over only to discover if I just moved a little to the left or to the right (and I am not speaking politically) I would get out of my own way and be able to see a different picture of my life and how I was living it. For me, it opened up the world of possibilities.
However, how do I see those possibilities if I am afraid? I think the biggest challenge all of us face is the emotional challenge… and that is the basis of my disquiet. And what is that emotional challenge? I am glad you asked…
Every time I have heard in a documentary or film or theatre or book, FDR’s assertion, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”, my head shakes like a bobble head in the car window. He was right. I know he was right. So if he was so right why am I still afraid? I am doing everything I am supposed to do. It doesn’t seem to help. I can’t tell you how many times I know I have caught the virus. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have any symptoms, I know I have it. On one level, it simply proves I am a member of the human race because I know I am not alone. I have plenty of friends and family that are sure they too either go to sleep with the virus or wake up with the virus.
What does this mean? Well, for me, it means I have to take greater pains to guard against a fear that not only consumes me but paralyzes me. As I get older, I recognize more and more the lack of control I have over life as I live it. There are actually not days, but minutes that I can surrender the illusioned control and live from that one moment to the next. And those are the GOOD days. Because the actual truth is that actually no one has any control over any of this life as we live it.
It has only taken 86 years (a drop in Methuselah’s bucket) but this is how fear operates in my life. It is mostly hidden and it has many disguises. For me, the top three disguises are shame, guilt, and most of all, anger. Every time I feel shame or guilt or anger, and I take the time to do a little self examination about where these feelings are coming from, up pops… you got it…fear! I’m telling you guys. I’m a regular scaredy cat and most of the time I don’t know it. The mask that covers my fear is the best on the market.
And herein is the beginning of my disquiet. As I have come out of quarantine and joined the rest of the world around me, I am confronted not only by my fear, but almost everyone I come into contact with as well. And I don’t care what you mask it with…. impatience, annoyance, or the most reliable, anger… it is fear. My belief is if I can’t get a handle on my fear I am going to spread it. It is far more dangerously contagious than the virus. For me, the negativity and the hopelessness of fear are far more isolating than any quarantine.
I think one of the many ramifications of fear today is this growing pervasive attitude of selfishness. I read about it a lot and I see it when I walk around the lake.
“I don’t have to wear a mask.”
“I don’t have to self-distance.”
“The sign at the beach reads closed until further notice… not for me.”
In this pandemic, where so much is unknown as well as the lack of consensual leadership, the attempt to convince the human condition that we are all in this together is almost impossible.
I have known for a long time that there is little and mostly no control in life. I remember that maybe every other day, for maybe a minute or so. And when I do, I realize even though I want to desperately, I cannot really judge someone’s selfish behavior. I cannot sit them down and explain that their selfishness comes from the basic fear we are all experiencing and “we are all in this together”… they would do what the lady with the dog in the Ramble of Central Park in New York City did and call the police to have me arrested for harassment.
So I must find my way, recognize that the life as I knew it has changed and when the dust settles (testing, vaccines, no curves at all) it is going to be not only different, but better.
Right??? Of course, right!!!!
Love, Sally-Jane ❤️
OK Everybody, back to your smiley face…
P.S. Below is a link to a Documentary by Showtime about the live (yes, I said LIVE) television Show of Shows with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris that ran for an hour and a half every Saturday Night from 1950-1954. (Preceded by Sid Caesar’s Admiral Broadway Reviewfrom January – June 1949 and followed by Caesar’s Hour from 1954- 1957.)
Yes, I was alive but I was very busy between school and performing and it was unthinkable to spend a Saturday night watching TV with my parents so I never got to watch it. It was de regeur watching for my family. Of course back then I knew about the comedians of the cast but as the years past I knew more about the writers from that show, Mel Brooks, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, Woody Allen to name just a few.. funny men making funny words for funny people. Well, I found this Documentary on YouTube ( I loooovvvveeeee YouTube) I laughed so hard.
Lucky for me the bathroom was nearby. For some this is will be a new happening, for others a stirred memory and for a few others it might just be “Sid? What was his last name again?”
This is my gift to you, my wonderful friends and family, for being a patient and considerate and conscientious pandemic person. This is far from over but who doesn’t need a reward for Good Behavior. Have a laugh on me…
The woman in the closet video is definitely a reminder that you are not alone. And if, during this pandemic crisis, you haven’t experienced some paranoia, then please check your pulse because you probably don’t have one.
I don’t know about you guys, but my anxiety level is an up and down affair, and lately mostly up. The more tuned in I am to the current events of the day with news briefings, emails from political organizations that accurately highlight the criminal ineptitude of the current Senate and administration, the more increased my blood pressure. However, as I prepare to pack and fly north, I recognize even more how the pressure is rising.
And I am totally serious. (Photos of flight day to be shared later.) But with every item secured, the pressure went up a notch.
I thought to myself: “Self! You are making yourself sick.”
What to do???
And in a flash it came to me. Stop thinking of yourself. If I thought the quarantine was a challenge to my mental health, just try focusing only on yourself. STIFLING! BORING! CRUEL AND INHUMAN!
The operative word is inhuman. I understand survival is numero uno. However, I have come to realize without caring for friend, neighbor, family, we revert to the animal. And all you animal activists, I recognize the many animals that can make the human seem more selfish than most in the animal kingdom, so please don’t yell at me. I’m just saying that I think we have a more developed brain – not to be more selfish and “what about me?”, but to think of OTHERS. What a concept… think of others.
Well, I’m here to tell you that as my pressure was hitting a high point I remembered a friend of mine was going through a very rough time. It hadn’t anything to do with the virus. It was a very private misery. I literally stopped thinking about myself and thought about what she was going through. I wrote to her of my feelings for what she was going through. I didn’t even know it at the time… but, something lifted. Yes, and the pressure dropped. I got it.
The next time I begin to take myself too seriously I shall get out from under my own microscope. Unfortunately, these days, I cannot go ‘round with a real care package and hug. It’s the virtual picnic hamper, the virtual hug, the virtual everything. But don’t forget the real phone call… human vocal chords can work wonders.
For me, after thinking of others the next best way to distract me from me is to watch good funny movies.
Of late because I am old, I have focused on, for some, unheard of gems. And I only realized recently there was a master hand behind many of them. He is my very personal (though he doesn’t know it) 2,000 years older than me friend, Mel Brooks. These are movies that he didn’t necessarily write or perform in, but it’s his absurd sometimes not so funny and always irreverent humor rooting around in the mix of the movie.
The In Laws movie, circa 1979 with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.
The In Laws movie, circa 2003 with Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks
Ishtar, circa 1980’s. A major flop in the 1980’s and now it is a cult movie written and directed by Elaine May (and occasionally, Buck Henry) with Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman and Charles Grodin. Fantastically prescient about the coming trouble in the middle east and oh, so funny.Makes Wag The Dog look like a sitcom.
Bowfinger, circa 1999 starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy (when he was funny)
Waiting For Guffman, circa 1997, directed by Christopher Guest and written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy with Catherine O’Hara in the cast (previous to Schitt’s Creek fame)
And last and probably least…
So Fine, circa 1981, starring Ryan O’Neal and if you don’t blink Sally-Jane Heit as a brunette in a scene in Bergdorf Goodman; written by Andrew Bergman of the 1979 In Laws and other comedies.
And just so you don’t think I’m too old to appreciate the new…
After Life streaming on Netflix written by and starring Ricky Gervais. He has definitely got his finger on the pulse of the human condition and he is VERY funny!
Like they always say: What goes around comes around. Or, is it what comes around goes around? Either way have a laugh on me and always…
Laugh Lines or worry lines? This is not a difficult choice for me.
However, Guys, I am telling you, the “what if” scenarios about the virus are wreaking havoc in my un and subconscious mind. For me in the midst of any stress the antidote has always been humor.
And I have tried to make that available. I use my cell phone to go to Youtube and find the comedians from my generations that make me laugh. You can ask me later who my favorite oldies are. Netflix, Amazon, and Home Box Office display the young comics in their one man/woman shows. Yes, of course, there is the generational issue of what is funny to me and what is funny to a millennial being very different. It’s not that I don’t appreciate some of the humor of the present comic set.
And I am a pretty far out there lady as to spouting my own four letter words. But for me, in comedy, back up the colorful language with some clever situational and character and cross generation descriptions. Early Eddie Murphy, George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Chris Rock, Robin Williams and today, Wanda Sykes… fantastic!!
All to say, I know where to go when I want a laugh from my favorite olden funny people – YouTube! However there was a bit of a problem. My stress level is always on the rise at night after I’ve gone to bed. I am awakened by yet another “what if” Titanic-sinking-scenario. So I grab my cell phone go to YouTube to play my funny people. So what’s my problem?
Lying in bed, even with good pillowing, watching that small screen for any length of time, gives me a backache and a neckache and a handache. Handache?? Of course! I recently put an ad on Craig’s list and in the classifieds for a nighttime cell phone holder. No one has applied.
And then, TA-DA! A miracle happened. I was notified that YouTube would be the electronic venue for the National Theatre of London’s brilliant and generous gift to the world of 5 of their past productions for a week at a clip. The first to be One Man, Two Guvnors with James Corden. A production I saw in London 7 years ago. Sooo funny. I needed to see it. I had to see it. Just what the world ordered up, right? OMG! Could I do it? Could I sit in front of my computer for two and a half hours ORRRRRRRRR…. could I find a way to put YouTube on my television?? I only use my television to stream movies and favorite present day tv shows (yes, I am a Schitt’s Creek die hard). I asked myself, “Self!“ I said, “Is it possible that I can install the YouTube App on my television to see this London production?” (Ghostly spirituals begin…)
I couldn’t believe it! (Mahalia Jackson sings) I, of the most electronically challenged, actually thought to ask that question? What was happening? This virus, this quarantine, this sanitizing and washing must have stimulated a part of my brain that hasn’t seen light for all of my 86 years.
It worked! I did it! And I laughed and a light was seen that lifted me from the darkness. (Begin the Mormon Tabernacle Choir music) AMEN!! Next time I awake with heart pounding and visions of disasters, I can get up, go to my comfortable chair, even stop and make a cup of tea and watch my oldies and goodies.
For what it’s worth, I pass it onto you. And if any of you want to say to me, “What’s wrong with you. I’ve been doing this for years.” DON’T !
Stay Well. Love, Sally-Jane ❤️
P.S. I thank everyone who contributes to my laugh lines by sending these.
And finally, something for the spirit and the soul:
This was sent to me by a friend and for those who still don’t understand the exponential characteristic of this virus (believe me, it has taken me a long time to “get” it… a Ms. Stubborn-Know-It-All… that’s me) it is a simple and clear explanation of why we should shut down until the curve turns the other way. Please self distance and stay safe.
Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand… It has to do with RNA sequencing…. i.e. genetics.
Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year… you get immunity two ways… through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.
Novel viruses, come from animals…. the WHO tracks novel viruses in animals (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once one of these animal viruses mutates and starts to transfer from animals to humans… then it’s a problem. Why?
Because we have no natural or acquired immunity. The RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so we can’t fight it off.
Now…. sometimes the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human. For years its only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human… once that happens..we have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, thats what decides how contagious, or how deadly, it’s gonna be..
H1N1 was deadly…. but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too.
Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long… but one day, at an animal market in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”.
This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity) took off like a rocket. And this was because humans have no known immunity… doctors have no known medicines for it. And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus changed itself in such a way that it causes great damage to human lungs.
That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza…. this one is slippery AF. And it’s a lung eater…And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L…. which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.
We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.
Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed… (honestly… I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation…
And let me end by saying…. right now it’s hitting older folks harder… but this genome is so slippery… if it mutates again (and it will) who is to say, what it will do next.
Be smart folks… acting like you’re unafraid is so not sexy right now.
#flattenthecurve. Stay home folks… and share this to those that just are not catching on.
Source: Kymberli Dawn, Nurse in Oakland California
P.S. Self-distancing is the most helpful and unselfish thing we can do. Anyone who is offended by this necessary safety measure not only doesn’t get it… but worse than that THEY CAN’T COUNT.
If you have a computer you have already received many emails concerning the whys and wherefores and how-tos of the coronavirus.
I’ve put together my own list with my own introductions to my nearest and dearest. I am sure there will be much duplication.
I think of these emails as the trajectory, the progression, if you will, of my own very late awareness of the virus. And what it means to me and my loved ones and even not to just my loved ones but to all humans everywhere. Yes, even those politicians and leaders who refused to lead us into global awareness as to what was happening. I do not wish anyone ILL. However, it is important to see how the world is leaderless… Oh, yes, there are health workers, and disease agencies that are tirelessly working to correct the politicians-of-every-nation’s inability to gather globally to stem the tide of this virulent virus.
Borders closed. Countries in lockdown. I ask myself. Is that what had to happen before attention was paid?
I do not think you have to be brilliant. I am not. It is now the middle of March and I don’t know all the facts (I truly don’t think anyone ever will) but the Chinese Government began talking about the Corona Virus in the beginning of January. The first reports I ignored. After all, no leader anywhere, except China was saying anything. From my perspective, China is very far away. I keep forgetting. We are all globally connected. In today’s world, Wuhan is next door to Brooklyn.
In this forwarded mélange of advice, take what you want and leave the rest.
1. Important New Dispatch:Dr. Jordan Shlain Reporting From the Front Lines
To my nearest and dearest – Yes, another recipe for continued good health. And if you do nothing else do like it says and keep lubricated. (Take your mind out of the gutter) and drink water. That’ll teach that virulent virus to bugger off.
And always remember. Love will keep us together as long as you don’t touch me…
4. 👆🏼That Widely Circulated List of COVID-19 Tips Is a Hoax
Ok. That does it! No more advice! There’s too much hysteria and panic which looks for answers that just aren’t there. Hey, guys, there’s no magic bullet! Use you common sense until a leader comes along that can lead us out of the wilderness or through the parting of the Red Sea.
Remember when we had leaders who told the truth and in dire circumstances such as we are experiencing now could be there to support, encourage and help? I wish one and all good health as we try to chart a course to safety.
So, I lied! Here’s one more from me to youse. It’s because it kind of explains where I am in thought.
I’m already limited by age and its attendant physical limitations and now I’m being asked to be limited voluntarily in terms of social engagement. I think it requires a major life rethink for me (change my behavior) and if you will help me, I am sure I can do it.
Using numbers paralyzes me. Statistical charts don’t really make a lot of sense to me. But with this article I finally understood what it is that I can do.
Now that you are on information overload let me wish you well on your life journey.
I think if we are careful we can survive and most importantly I think there are some very profound life lessons to learn.
There’s been a great deal said about the human condition. Not all of it very positive.
The worst is the tale of toilet paper. Toilet paper? Really! I never thought toilet paper would be the arbiter of what makes for a civilized society. Who knew?????
I do not want to be thought of as a bleeding heart sentimental fool (all of which admittedly I am), but what an opportunity this presents for us to go beyond the base (toilet paper, really?) human condition into an atmosphere of service and caring and, yes, love.
Of course, I could be writing this because I am vulnerable and if they decide to take us elder vulnerables and put us on ice floes that take us out to sea never to return (of course, because of global warming – which of course “does not exist” – there are no more ice floes).
Here is where I harken back to inspired leadership.
Two Presidents and their speechifying come to mind. Historically flawed, like all of us, they understood the need and the desire to help their citizens aspire to a higher code of conduct.
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Ask not what your country can do for you. But what you can do for your country.”
~ John F. Kennedy
Right???? Of course, right!
P.S. Without humor, with or without the virus… we’re dead!