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Health, Longevity and Community in the Pandemic

I have been eating better than usual and sleeping at least as well and as much during most of the quarantine associated with this pandemic. The truth is that this overall period of rest and sufficiency was interrupted by a couple of opposite realities. I had an injury or source of chronic pain that tormented me for a while. I seem to be mostly pulling out of that. I am feeling like the stresses of the quarantine itself or not really getting to me all that badly. I have remained connected to a lot of people and a few people a little more. If I do not get Covid-19 then it seems likely that I will come out of this crisis at least as healthy as I went into the crisis. Of course, that is a big if. I am a very long way from getting out of the woods. I will be out of the woods when I get a vaccine for the coronavirus afflicting the world, I have plans to get better healthcare but if the past is any guide then I will never get the vaccine. The other option is that I get the Covid-19 and maybe its next strain mutation and then build up enough immunity to be out of the woods. So far now this event means living with an added personal risk of death for an indefinite period of time.  . 

There is a great deal to try to understand as we deal with this pandemic and live our lives. Scarcely a business plan, a family tradition or leisure activity is left unaffected. So we have to try to redefine many things under the new conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. What will life mean in any of a thousand specific contexts with the Covid-19  pandemic factored in? That is the constantly and endlessly visible aspect of life. These days we are all beset by the same pandemic,

Someone who received a gift from someone to whom I gave a gift. We all experience the pandemic and the quarantine.

 

 

The pandemic is having a powerful impact on the world and on the United States of America where I live. What is going to be the outcome of this vast interruption. For me, the biggest question has been what is the place of this episode in my life story. I wonder often enough, is it the tragic episode where I survive the loss of those near and dear? Is it the final episode in my life — the very end of this mortal journey. Whatever readers believe or have experienced intimations of from beyond the curtain of death it is not the play that I have been performing since birth. The pandemic makes me aware of the fact that death may well have come for me just now may be waiting just outside for the proper time to introduce himself and he may wait without tiring or discouragement for quite a while to make my acquaintance.

But I do not want to forget that most people survive Covid-19 with little apparent short -term injury and even if kidney and heart damage occurs it does not seem likely to be a huge factor in the case of those with few symptoms during infection. So along with the efforts of many people to save lives that in theory include my life — there is also a good chance that I will survive this pandemic. In addition it takes more planning for me to prepare to keep living than it does to prepare for dying when even funerals are virtually impossible. Therefore, I am looking at the future as though I will live.

 

So what is the pandemic really? What does it seem like? For all of us it seems to some degree like we must constantly be dealing with the risk of any contact with those people we would like to contact and those with whom we come into contact because it is easier and more sane to come into contact. Thus is an era of separation as a primary objective when we think of other people. 

The layer of another reason to avoid getting together with other people is a matter that has greater or lesser significance for different people considering their state in life and other factors. For me there has been a long trend to isolation and a growing aversion to almost everybody as a close companion that predates any effects of the pandemic. One of the realities of this time is that I have invested what is a significant amount of money on top of what is an unspeakably huge amount of time to try to publish a book I call one of my novels . But this book is actually a mixture of meta-fiction and fiction. In the book there are connections between myself and other people that are discussed to some degree. But it is true that long before the virus rampaged across the world those connections had diminished in more than a few cases. So the pandemic is just another isolating factor. It isolates me from some family members, from some work colleagues and from some students. It makes my interaction in shopping and other contexts more strained. But it does not really turn a fully socially immersed person into a hermit in my case. Like a lot of people, I am trying to survive and get by in these trying times. I am not committed to a hardship of isolation that is entirely new to me.

 

Image from Josh Hild on Pexels

I watched a good bit of the NFL Draft on ABC. I was excited for LSU Quarterback Joe Burrows to continue his tour de force as NO 1 pick overall. I was happy as well for Justin Jefferson to continue the Jefferson family tradition of excellence at LSU and continue the Purple and Gold tradition at Minnesota. But for me he NFL has lost a good bit of its magic. So have a lot of other things — but I was aware of the sense of people reaching out for community. It is a limited kind of community in the first place but now it is somehow more tenuous.  I was glad to see the Draft-a-thon charity. I was happy to see the Head Coach Sean Peyton say that he feels well recovered.  I have been a football loving person and a good deal of what I did in my days involved football. But I never played anything close to a full and organized season.  But when I think of building community and of a legacy of engagement — I have to include football in those thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Football is one form of community that has not yet felt the full force of the pandemic. There is nothing determined yet about how great the overall impact of this pandemic will be. I think football is a kind of bridge on the landscape of my mind and life.  I never will be a football player in the sense that makes me comfortable saying I played football. But I have a lot of memories of playing football.

So there is the fact of isolation creeping into so many areas. But there is more than that going on here. We are aware as sport fans that sports are really not happening. We are aware of the role that sports have played in our lives and culture and yet we know that this huge absence is far more than we have experienced before but is only a relatively small part of all that is not happening. Churches, theaters, schools, synagogues, cafes, barbershops, hair salons, civic clubs, social clubs, casinos and family reunions are shuttered. Movies are not getting made. We are exposed to what life has to offer when all those forms of sharing are abolished. Although postponed and abolished are very different things the shock of so many postponements at once has the fell of some vast social revolution sweeping across our lives.

It seems like there is a good chance that my novel will not get self-published. But that is not so strange. I am used to being frustrated, However, if it is published it will bring a lot of factors to light and there will be plenty of distraction within its limited readership. Part of this coincides with events shaping the life of one real person deeply included in the meta-fiction portion of the book. I can live with how that will all play out and I think that other people can live with it as well. But the main thing to me is to get this book finally into the form of a decent book. Then I can decide how to pursue or abandon all my other literary projects. It is more like a chance to set a floor on these things than it is a chance to make things open up for a new career.

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