I just got off the phone with my mom, who wanted to tell me about her and dad’s trip to WalMart. They were trying to stock up on essentials they may need during the course of this coronavirus epidemic, because we’re the kind of family that always makes sure there are two packages of toilet paper in the house even in times of plenty. They’re not the kind of people who will buy out the entire antibacterial soap selection…there just wasn’t really any to buy. There were hardly any cleaning supplies, either. Or toilet paper. There were two bottles of hand sanitizer left on the shelf, but a lady in front of them got to them first. That woman graciously offered my parents one of the bottles, just as a WalMart worker came out with a box of 8 more bottles. The box was gone in 30 seconds, my mom said.
The point of her phone call was to tell me they do have a little extra toilet paper in case I need some. That is love — sharing your meager portion of butt wipe material with people you care about, not knowing if we’ll be able to get more in the next few weeks. The scary part is that’s now within the realm of possibility.
This potentially deadly illness has begun to shake us because at this point, all of us are in some way being affected even if we don’t know someone who is sick. I received an email today that the studio where I practice yoga is closing until further notice, and a concert I was planning to attend next week is being postponed. Schools are being closed. Professional sport league seasons are being postponed or cancelled entirely.
We’re made very aware that being within 3 feet of another living human could cause us to fall gravely ill while COVID-19 is around. It’s causing us to rethink activities we have taken for granted — going to the gym, getting your nails or hair done, going to the grocery store or to a doctor’s appointment. We aren’t even supposed to shake hands.
This may seem like an isolating, frightening time for many of us. But the key to making it through dark times is and always has been hope. I have seen more lately that makes me hopeful than I have seen in the past three years. For example, I’d never peg the hand sanitizer aisle at WalMart as a place to see God at work, but there God was in the form of a kind woman who was willing to share things others need. Not to mention that people are finally learning how to properly wash their hands — then doing it when they should!
If you eventually find yourself holed up away from the rest of humanity, don’t forget to do the things that bring you hope. For me, that’s listening to music (and Tailgate Society podcasts). I also have to have a sense of humor about things. After years of being a newspaper reporter covering the worst possible things that happen, I know that if I can’t find something funny to laugh about, I might cry instead. In that spirit, here are five songs you can put on your quarantine playlist.