Phone and Zoom conversations are getting slower and slower, with silences punctuating reports of the mundane. For truly, who has any news? A new grandchild here or there, perhaps, hair getting longer and grayer, perhaps a new recipe to share—that’s about all we’ve got. We don’t really want to talk about the anxiety for every headache or sniffle, the worry for family out of work, the fear of going back into activity that may not be safe. Many are marching ahead, happy to be out and about, having decided the risks are just not there. Others, for medical reasons or believing the threat is still very real, staying isolated and continuing the drills of disinfecting, handwashing, and masking. As far as the masking in our community, a recent poll conducted on NextDoor with 150 votes shows about 80% probably using masks, with 61% understanding it’s mostly for the protection of others. About 20% think it doesn’t help anything or there’s no real danger (or it’s too hot!).
Let’s face it, we retired and moved to a community with amenities in order to socialize, make friends, and stay active. We’ve been challenged to stay in, stay alone, keep activities within our own homes, except for walking or biking. We’re lucky, though. Can you imagine doing that alone in a small apartment or in a small apartment with toddlers? Can you imagine doing that without enough food, or knowing where the next job will come from, as businesses trim down? Can you imagine that if you had to say goodbye to a family member on the phone, who was dying alone in a hospital?
There have been glimmers of light and even bursts of sun amid the tediousness of isolating and distancing, however, in our own community. First, there is Nancy Friedman, of the Fine Arts Guild, who recently completed posting 73 days of art challenges to keep people engaged. There are George and Mary Beth Fisher, who have been collecting food donations for the food pantry, and delivering them twice a week. There are Melani and Nicole (and the rest of the staff), catching bullets in their teeth from residents daily for following Robson and Arizona rules, dealing with something completely adverse to their usual function that could not have been anticipated. There are the rock painters, spreading tiny words and thoughts of hope throughout the community. There are the mask makers, helping to reduce the spread of the virus. These are just a few of the efforts of community members, and all should be saluted. But also, everyone just struggling with their own isolation, their own boredom and creative blocks or bursts of creativity, and their own family issues that have arisen deserve a salute as well as we are all weathering a unique challenge.
The light at the end of the tunnel may be when the data shows numbers flattening, it may be next week, next month, next spring with hopefully, a vaccine, but it will come, and we’ll be here (one can hope) to celebrate. In the meantime, we can only try to be as kind, considerate, patient, and creative as this community is capable of being.