Coronavirus Blog #11: Perspective is Everything

Today is March 24, 2020. It’s a Tuesday. But honestly, the days are starting to bleed together, without the structure of school Monday through Friday, and the weekends to play.

In some states/cities, the teachers are talking to the families and the students, and online school has been instituted of some kind. Mostly we’ve gotten a few emails, but very other little guidance directly from the teachers.

This has been a little frustrating honestly, because I feel a bit like we are wandering around in the dark as far as what sort of “learning” we are delivering to our kids.

Well, now that I think about it, a lot of getting through everything that is happening on a daily basis is just finding a way through without much in the way of guidance.

People are scared everywhere

A have a good friend who made a mistake. That mistake was made a long time ago. Unfortunately, that mistake was one that came to the attention of the authorities, and she ended up taking responsibility for that mistake.

As a result, she is stuck in a place where she has even less guidance, and even less control. She is in a jail, someplace far from her family and her home. She won’t be there for long, but she’ll be there long enough.

At this point, I think the federal government is diverting as much of the personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, face shields, suits, etc, to hospitals. Other needy groups that work with the public (first responders, for example) haven’t been able to get the equipment that they need to keep themselves safe.

We will probably be seeing large numbers of fire fighters, police officers, and EMTs who contract the virus.

The facility where my friend is being held is trying to get protective equipment for its people, but so far, they are having a tough time sourcing any. The BOP is apparently taking what protections and precautions it can–blocking or banning all outside unnecessary visitors, quarantining transfers, and trying to identify and separate sick people from the general mass.

But they aren’t doing any social distancing. How could they, aside form keeping everyone locked down on their bunks or in their cells (if they have one, many jails are dorms)?

If the virus managed to make it into the general population of any jail facility (which is highly likely, frankly, there won’t be much to prevent it from racing through the ranks.

I don’t have any statistics about the general age and health of the average inmate in the BOP at my fingertips. But I can’t possibly imagine that their healthcare there is that great, that their food is high quality, that they get enough exercise, fresh air, all the rest. After all….it is prison, not a vacation.

But how does that play out in a pandemic? Could the lack of adequate resources cause disorder in the ranks, riots among those who are low risk and low security inmates? Would people try to make a run for it rather than run the risk of infection in the general population?

Perspective is so key

I know I have been saying this, and I honestly need to remind myself every day. But my life is pretty darn good. It really is. I’m so lucky to have all that I have, and to be able to move through my day without the anxiety and worry that so many others are experiencing.

I never thought much about a pandemic, or a recession. I just wanted to stay home with my kids and simplify my life. So I moved a lot of my life online and I work from home. I dumped almost all of my debt, and drastically slashed my expenses. I changed my life dramatically, moving from expensive hobbies to free and easy activities (playing outside, hiking, biking, gardening, camping).

As a result, I don’t need as much money every month to survive.

And…best of all, I have my freedom. Yes, we are under some sort of lockdown. I don’t even know what to call it. A “stay at home” order. Except for when we don’t.

So long as I stay away from others and keep my kids away from others, I don’t have much to fear.

I can choose how I weather this storm, and where I do it. I have the ability to retreat to a safe place, far enough away from others. I don’t have to go to work in a place where people are likely to be sick, such as grocery stores, hospitals, other essential services.

I can also choose how to cope. I have the ability to go outside, and work out. I can go for a run whenever I feel like it. Call up a friend. Go online and videochat someone. Consume hours of content on YouTube if I want. Consume beverages or cook.

Not everyone has the privilege, the least of all my friend who made a mistake.

Is it better out here?

I do have to wonder though…are there some advantages to being locked away during a pandemic? Yes, the medical care is probably less than awesome, and yes, there is no control.

But then again, no one from the general population can really go and get the virus and bring it back. The guards are the weak points in the system. And any other employees/contractors. The prisoners themselves can’t do anything, like go to the grocery story, to a party, to the fitness club, or to the mall. They live, exist, in a perpetual state of lockdown.

They are controlled constantly, and quarantine for them isn’t all that hard to maintain.

Could she actually be safer from the virus in jail? If the prison can maintain an effective quarantine, then I suspect that the answer might be yes.

These are just my thoughts about life today, forgive me if I am rambling a bit. There’s just a lot weighing on my mind today, about the state of the world. Hug your kids and any family members that are close enough to you to touch.

You can find more of my living through a pandemic journal here.