When I was a little kid, growing up in sweaty Florida, my bedroom was over the garage. It looked over Mrs. Quigley's driveway and yard across the road. In typical suburban fashion we had about 6 feet between houses and zero privacy. Not like NYC no privacy where you're packed so tightly in all directions that you pretend you can see through the neighbor in front of you on the fire escape in his underpants just to be able to deal with living there.
No, this was the illusion of privacy. It's all great if you love thy neighbor but sometimes there are rotten teens selling meth out of the garage on the corner, or a foreclosure that tanks everyone's property value. But this was the 70s and my parents thought this was the American Dream realized. And it was if you didn't look too closely. My mom used to brag about how we had a Corner Lot and to me all that meant was we got traffic from both sides.
It's all in how you spin it.
Dad was a career military man, Colonel, Marines, Korea, the whole bit. Worked for big business and then transferred to FL to work in avionics and was "encouraged" to retire in his mid 60s for a reduced pension and took it. He did not roll into retirement gently. There was lots of vodka. Lots of oranges squeezed from our back yard tree and lots of pointless yard work in a teeny suburban yard. The sole purpose of our yard was to hope the tree shaded you from the sun and to look at azaleas. My folks came from Minnesota and their parents were small farmers so I suppose they wanted no part of growing their own. My mom used to laugh when I collected my chicken eggs and cleaned my coops in Georgia. "Eggs are on sale at Publix for $1.89 this week, she'd say. Want me to pick some up for you?" Love bites were common in my family. If they teased you, I guess, it meant they loved you. I'm not a fan. I like humor but sarcasm is kind of shitty. Anyway, back to Mrs. Quigley.
She was an old woman who lived alone. A Crone I guess, but at my tender age she could have been 60 and seemed ancient. She had silver hair and dowdy clothes and did grandmothery things...this was 1974 before women were pretending like they were in their 20s well into menopause. It was rare to see a midriff top, razor cut jean holes and magenta spiked hair on an Old Lady. She had a House Coat and slippers and at 6:30am most mornings she went outside and raked her driveway. "Scratched" her driveway as my dad would say. She'd scratch the sandy soil, bemoan the sprinkler that missed the "lawn" that never grew and get the leaves from the neighbor's messy live oak off her one car driveway. She was done around 8am but now I realize that was probably to remain outside to wave at the worker bees driving by to sit in rush hour traffic. After my dad retired, he spent a number of years with a flat head shovel getting sand and eroded soil off his concrete driveway, a sound I still cannot bear. In his later years, he struck up a lot of conversation with Mrs. Quigley and even started to help her plant some better trees and clean out her gutters. They were busying themselves.
Most mornings here in this tiny urban lot I'm renting I find myself "scratching" this postage stamp. I went from 7acres and too much to do outdoors to very little to do and very little motivation. This is not my house. The landlord won't bring in new soil so when it rains the shoddy fill dirt from below reveals bolts and glass chunks. There hasn't been enough rain to even grow the grass so the electric mower I got sits in the corner, tarped. Two huge elm trees flank the corners and I've put potted palms on the patio. I've got garden beds where giant squash plants explode with leaf, flower, but no squash. I've added mulch and leaves from other people's yard service and done my best to compost and augment this soil without spending a ton of money on a place I will not be staying. Most mornings there are trucks lining the road to get into the commercial buildings across the road and the hum of diesel (and smell) is not what the dog and I had in mind when we downsized. But still, I effort. I love being outside but I couldn't find a place that struck a balance of bucolic yard/less work, so I pretend this is okay.
I think it's good to challenge ourselves to adapt when things suck. You can't sit around thinking about how this isn't what you want or wondering how you're going to die. That's like walking a long sidewalk full of broken glass. Barefoot.
I know this isn't where I will stay. I remind myself that the work load of running a farm, event space, having chickens and lawns and fruit trees and eggs and hens and a holiday rental was soul crushingly labor intensive and expensive. And also 13 years was enough. Great experience, loved most of the time but done. So I sold and here we are. I am impatient and I want my New Life to start immediately, but my mature side knows...that would be highly unlikely to uproot and replant in the same year and flourish. I'm in that phase of re-potting where the plant goes into shock because it doesn't like the new soil or the sun exposure you've put it in. So I rake. I rake the nut hulls from the squirrels and move the mulch around. I water the potted plants with a bucket (no hose bib here) and I move the patio chair from one side to the other. It's calming in this water treading phase we're all in. I suppose it's like those Zen Garden sand meditation plots.
It's all in how you spin it.
I think it all started to crumble when we got Heat Index scores on the Weather channel.
FEELS LIKE 104! (actual temp 91) The brain believes what it hears most often. So confirmation bias for ridiculous and sensationalized news reports like CNN will come out of your mouth if you watch that all day. CNN has become the National Enquirer from the 1980s. Aliens coming for Liz Taylor!
And add to that BBC (look up their nefarious leaders) and even the NYTimes who is partly owned now by Carlos Slim, Mexico's grand daddy of monopoly and the sole owner of ALL cellular communication via TelCel and cable news. So, just in case everyone didn't go to Journalism School (USF, Tampa 1990) we call this Yellow Journalism, aka Fake News.
Anyway, if I tell you over and over that the Heat Index is 104 you think it's actually the hottest ever at 104. And no matter what you see on the temperature reading in your car, your phone, the good old fashioned mercury line in your back yard saying 91, you'll think it's hotter because the weather man said so.
May I present to you, Confirmed Cases. C V-19 with more testing (and flawed tests which are no secret) will show more antibodies. If I tested 1000 more kids today for brown eyes than I did last month? I'd have a chance to have more brown eyed kids. And what if I went to a Mexican neighborhood? 100% more brown eyes than last month!!!
See, what I did there is give you statistics with NO CONTEXT. Were there 45,000 blue eyed kids? Is the population 43343430000? Why is this significant? The subtext is missing. Click bait. Media outlets have started to put disclaimers at the bottom of stories I'm seeing---*"NJ Dept of Health reported 9500 cases today that were unreported cases from March"... was a post script I saw for a headline that read HIGHEST CASE SPIKE EVER IN TRI STATE AREA" (and then the little bottom caption under a photo). That's liability protection...Oh we wrote the truth! We just knew that you'd never read it. The money works if you click on the headline. Your lizard brain goes for the fantastical.
If you're not thinking clearly or you're exhausted with bad news or your confirmation bias is that this is terrifying, this will be terrifying. If you realize that 99% of what you see in print or hear on the *news* is baloneyfied or at least blown out of proportion, you'll not even read that any more than you'll read about Liz Taylor and the aliens. You'll fare better because your fight or flight ire won't be up all the time exhausting your actual necessary immune response.
So it's just 91 degrees. And there are more "positive" RNA antibody tests showing up because more people are testing/reporting. Though I live in a small city of 500,000 and literally I've seen ONE banner hanging outside of one "pain management clinic" that says they have C V tests so I'm unclear about who's getting all this testing, but if I forgot to report 9500 cases from March in NJ and "found" those today...it doesn't mean that anyone is sick. Or that there is a SPIKE. Language is important. Perspective is key. Ask---yea, but how many are sick in reality? And how many recovered. How many are hospitalized and how many are just fine and dandy running around? How many died of C V (including but not limited to George Floyd's autopsy) it starts to unfold a pattern. Remember chicken pox? Did you survive?
There would be quite literally people (homeless for example) doubled over and hacking on the streets if this were an alarming stat. It's just a stat. I come in contact every day with homeless street people in Tulsa. None of my regulars even have a sniffle or cough. Most aren't wearing shoes and they surely aren't wearing a mask. Interesting, no? You could argue that they have all dropped dead, but I see the same folks day after day after day since September 2019. I'm not trying to sell you on anything except that pandemic is word that strikes fear. But really it just means wide spread.
I will freely admit that my confirmation bias and background in microbiology, wellness and my propensity to follow doctors, whistleblowers, functional medicine professionals, thinkers, weird scientists--- and the fact that I've been a medical researcher since I was a teenager leans me in another direction. As a food service kitchen professional for decades I'm also trained on how virus and bacteria travel, live, temperatures and such. Not infallible and I don't claim to know all of it, but just because the one person with a vested interest and high paying job to report on what they tell him to says something on the television doesn't mean he is either. And if you research that one person and you see that he's missed the mark and even made worse the situation with HIV and AIDS back in the day you'll say, Hmmmm. Also maybe you'll look at his patent holdings for viral spike proteins and say, huh. Or maybe you'll see that he's involved with the computer billionaire who wants to rush a vaccine and say, wait. What? Just for fun, and I'll just leave this here...look at his wife and who SHE works for. Hint: Human test experiments.
I don't think the human body is out to get us. I don't think viruses are evil. Even parasites serve a role. But when we don't understand the evolution of life on a planet, it's scary. Gut biome! What's that???? (what keeps you alive) I don't understand meteorology enough to explain Heat Index, but I know that FEELS LIKE is a sorta half truth. And CONFIRMED CASE SPIKE is a bunch of hooey. If you turn off the idiot box they don't make all the $$$. Remember that.
And if you worry about what it SEEMS like, you're in a worse position than if you just lived your life, washed your hands, ate some oranges and kept an eye on the stock market for the next bubble burst. The reaction is what will be our downfall. Very few of us will actually get sick and die from this or we may get hit by falling rocks because we are always looking down at our devices and wearing a face mask. *you can bet they'll call that a C V 19 death! But get your affairs in order anyway, shit happens all the time. We're walking bags of goo held together by magic. Just celebrate that. And as always, Turn Off The Television. Love y'all.
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