Essential

The world has changed since my last blog post. It would feel natural to begin as the opening scene of the movie Zombieland begins.  “Hello America. I wish I could tell you that this was still America, but I’ve come to realize you can’t have a country without people. And there are no people here. No, my friends. This is now the United States of Zombieland. It’s amazing how quickly things can go from bad to total shit storm” with images of our Nation’s Capitol on fire in the background.

COVID19 came on fast and furious, despite us having ample warning. A virus that targets bubbies and zadies and those with compromised immune systems… basically the most vulnerable among us. Hoda is openly weeping on the Today show, religious fanatics aren’t even denying science anymore and even the greediest of CEOs are making massive donations to employees and hospital relief efforts (after they dump their stocks, of course.)

People are no longer flocking to the grocery store, at least not in Morgantown West Virginia. We are well beyond that now. Now a grocery store is the last place that I want to be, it seems like the final hot bed of germs where people congregate out of necessity. Our governor called for a day of Prayer on Wednesday, but COVID19 swept through a local nursing home anyway. Only essential workers are at their desks, in the hospitals saving lives, putting out fires etc… and it feels strange to say that I’m one of those considered essential.

My job is so fun and exciting most days, so it never occurred to me that during a time of national pandemic, I would be “essential” to informing the public. I feel damn lucky to still be working and this pandemic has brought me closer with my coworkers in a strange way. We have days where we are scared and lean on each other. We have days where we feel guilty, helpless and desperately wanting to help in ways we cannot. Some days I’m jealous of people at home doing puzzles and bonding with their immediate family over Netflix and art projects. Most days are emotionally taxing as I sit in the (very clean!) studio closely following the news and balancing on that tightrope of informing and entertaining without offending. Quite the balancing achievement, if I may toot my own horn.

While I smile and distract my listeners with amusing stories and uplifting ones, my thoughts overflow with worry. I worry about my parents, my husband’s parents, my boss’ wife, the animals in the shelter, the people in the nursing home, those working in the hospitals without enough masks… and not necessarily in that order. Then there’s the economic ramifications of this which aren’t as complicated as you’d think. Businesses are closed, therefore people can’t make money or spend money but rent is still due. Add that to the worry list… will my favorite restaurants still be open when all this is done? By the way, when will it be done? Having an end date would certainly make things easier on us all, but per usual there are more questions than answers.

Until this passes, I know I’ll still be here doing my best to stay away from people physically while staying close emotionally. Do what you can to stay clean, healthy and amused. It’s the best possible time to get those giggle endorphins, so share those Tiger King memes! Make a tik tok video! And if you need to, cry openly. Most importantly… take care of yourself. You are essential.

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