It has been about seven weeks since California was directed to close businesses and practice social distancing on February 28. It has been the same time since I voluntarily left my job. In an event of incredibly coincidental timing, I resigned late in February, foregoing my primary income and health insurance. Why did I do that? I’ll explain that later, maybe. For now, I want to comment honestly on how the current covid crisis is affecting me. It will be important in the coming months, with an approaching U.S. Presidential election and a world in collective recovery, for all perspectives to be accessible. This is mine.
In late February, I found myself in a community already in trauma. Los Angeles was still feeling the shock from the news of Kobe Bryant’s unforeseeable passing. Many of us in terror of the increasing recklessness of our President; saddened by the Senate’s failure to remove him from office in January. I stopped taking in any news. My hopes of truly participating in democratic decision making were breaking – with a March 3 Primary election approaching. I had been making small donations to the Bernie Sanders campaign and attended a fund raising event for him in Hollywood on Feb 26. That night, my [ride share service] driver asked if I was concerned about ‘coronavirus.’ I said no – comparing the episode to be what I considered at the time to be politically motivated propaganda, strategically timed to interfere with voter turnout. I spent that evening in a crowded Hollywood venue. Went in to the office the next day, and had a conference call with my then boss, fundamentally disagreeing with him enough to leave the company. Yes, bad timing. The evening after that, while assessing my options in a Westwood bar, I learned about the six foot distancing recommendations, which were generally going ignored. Later I learned that all bars and restaurants were closing indefinitely at 11.
As the news of ‘coronavirus’ and the restrictions on business, travel, and gathering became clear to me, I realized my options for finding new employment would dramatically decline. National unemployment numbers were rising, and continue to. Fortunately I had by then prepared myself logistically to work from home and freelance until the next big job appeared. So I’ve been here, in my apartment, socially distancing, obeying my self imposed production schedule, taking time for exercise, practice, and work – with occasional store trips and morning runs. I’m not averse to spending days like this; I know how to awaken the introvert within.
I imagine many people feel the way I do now –more appreciative of a functioning and reciprocal economy. If I want to succeed, I need others to. Success in this moment is unadorned survival. In time we will regain our ability to meet and work together. Right now, though, is a logical opportunity to center ourselves, sharpen our skills, and strengthen our personal infrastructure while the threat subsides. There is always useful work that can be done within. Within our homes, within our selves. Our goal moving forward should be to build a more sustainable lifestyle –remaining civil yet becoming harmonious. Our approach to food, work, and travel need revision.
I’m fortunately prepared to weather this storm for a little while before I feel the financial heat. I’m hopeful and optimistic there is something ‘essential’ I can contribute now and in the emerging economy. I’m not fearful of scarcity, but I acknowledge it’s real potential. No one is immune to the shortages that may arise. However we can cultivate an abundance of resources if we content ourselves with the work ahead.
My current resolution is to stay calm at home and reduce the spread in my small capacity–continuing to learn and work here. Our leaders in government have clearly made mistakes handling the problem, but I forgive them at the moment, because it is such a difficult problem to face, and I have only gratitude for any person directly engaged in working to alleviate that problem. I am not pleased that Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Presidential race in the midst of this, and I don’t think he would have were it not for covid. It made the rallies and fundraising he needed to win more states impossible. That is an effect perhaps more long lasting than the temporary employment shortage. I’m sad that so many people have died. Isn’t death the worst? I feel there is a responsibility to socially-distance ourselves to prevent deaths and the unpleasant complications caused by covid for others. I had a 12 hour fever and a cough last month. Whatever happens politically or economically, I remain directly responsible for my own well being.
Overall I’m hopeful but uncertain. How has covid effected you?