Musings from the Bunker 3/21/20
We’re all heeding the advice to practice physical distancing but trying to get outdoors
Greetings, Happy Saturday, and happy second day of Spring! It’s the weekend, so there’s a bit more lighthearted nature to the Musings. In light that we’re in lockdown in our homes, I think we all should pivot to positive thoughts about solitude.
There actually is a lot going on—it’s just different
By now we are all settling in to the “new normal,” where things are moving a bit slower, where we spend a good bit of time on our own, where we struggle to find purpose. Perhaps, instead of thinking that this has any permanence, we should think of this time as the “temporary normal.”
We all have been through various times in our lives that challenged our stress level and patience; times that limited our minds and/or bodies. For me, one such experience was the day-to-day slog of studying for the bar exam. For some of us, there have been major jury trials or “big deals” that stretched over long periods of time. Many have had to deal with broken bones, joint replacements or disease that required long time of recuperation. For some, jobs were lost, marriages unraveled—or worse. I’m still trying to figure out how half of us went through the challenges and limitations of pregnancy and then chose to do it again. But we all got through all of that.
One of the most challenging things of the current moment is that we are being forced to spend a lot of time with the most demanding and most critical person in our lives--ourselves. No doubt we will feel less productive, less “in control,” less sure of the future. That’s natural, but it also would be terrible for us to squander this opportunity to expand our minds, our mindfulness, and our talents. According to the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu:
“Ordinary men hate solitude. But the master makes use of it, embracing his loneliness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.”
This inspiration can help us deal with our days—to keep them varied and productive. We are one with the universe and, as this current calamity has shown us, with the entire human race. We are not alone—merely separated.
Staying Busy with What Matters Most
As we think of what to do, let’s have a little perspective and be creative. With concerts, theatre, sporting events, and weddings canceled, and all cultural institutions and entertainment venues closed, Peter Best shares a Breaking News list of non-cancelled events:
Andrew Palmer asks if it’s consistent with our limited mobility to stage a boom-box drive-by of a friend’s house:
There’s always music. Glenn Raines points out lots of “chill” options have appeared on Spotify:
And there’s always working out. Here is someone’s “new gym”—not exactly Equinox, but practical:
Pence, Fauci, Newsom and the Governors
I don’t know about you, but I find these public servants evincing a steady hand in control, a “Jack Webbsian just the facts” seriousness, and a real sense that adults are in the room—and speaking to us like we’re adults. Although one can disagree with any of them on any number of issues, their voices are voices of determination and calm amidst a storm. And they don’t say stuff like this:
"We've done a fantastic job. The only thing we haven't done well is to get good press. We've done a fantastic job but it hasn't been appreciated.”
Trust us, we appreciate a fantastic job when we see it and will be grateful to see it executed. Here’s hoping we’re on the way.
Some Good’ish News
There is a certain self-defensive mechanism many of us employ when confronted with tragic news from others. A guy in his 60s dies of a heart attack and we naturally begin to run through the game of “how’s he not like me?” He smoked; he was overweight; he ate fried pork skins for breakfast every morning. You get the picture. There is some comfort in recent news that mortality rates are more closely aligned with preexisting conditions than we thought. This is good news for many:
Other good news, and let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but more hospital supplies and test kits are on accelerated order, projects to find therapies and vaccines are being undertaken in a veritable “global Manhattan project,” and it State governments are getting serious about developing strategies and responses, of which trying to “flatten the curve” is an important significant step.
Finally it ended…
Something the Coronavirus helped end (although I thought it already had ended).
Best Funny of the Week
Thank you Ken Kahan for sending this take on an oldie but goodie:
UK Virus ALERT
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent virus threat and have therefore raised their threat level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, level may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”
The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. The virus has been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let's Get the Bastard.” They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.
Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”
The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”
The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
Australia, meanwhile, has raised its alert level from “No worries” to “She'll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.
The Russians have said “It’s not us.”
I’d like to end with a fellow whose musings I never tire of:
“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is much beyond our control; but this is within our control. Let’s all do what we can to find peace—by ourselves, with loved ones, and, remotely for now, with friends!
Have a great weekend,