A silver lining to all of this is that quarantine is an experience shared by the masses. Everyone alive today will eventually be able to reminisce over their own personal story of it, and that will unite us.
We are alone together.
Love your neighbor. That’s what I’m thinking about here at home as each long, quiet, beautiful Spring day dawns, warms, sizzles, cools, dims.
I’m a teacher, which means I am lucky enough to draw a paycheck without leaving home. Two kids, both fortunately in their double digits, a husband, a dog, and (recently) one dozen chirping Barred Rock chicks.
But mine is only one teeny experience of the whole massive quarantine. I keep wondering: What is it like in other homes?
What is it like to have Coronavirus?
What is it like to have a loved one with Coronavirus?
What is it like to be living alone?
What is it like to be in a big, noisy house where nobody has enough space?
What about the newly divorced and grieving?
What about the soon-to-divorce and arguing?
What would it be like to be dating during quarantine?
What is it like to be parenting a toddler right now?
Parents of kids with special needs?
Grown children caring for elderly parents?
Young people just moving out on their own?
What is it like to live with a hoarder?
What would it be like to be a newly-divorced woman right now afraid of violence from her ex?
What would it be like to be an abused child during the quarantine?
What would it be like to be a child left home for the first time while parents work?
How is quarantine different for the middle-of-nowhere reclusive folks compared to city-dwelling social types?
What is it like to be an addict during quarantine?
What is it like to be desperately poor?
What is it like for my neighbor?
My experience is just one out of many. Not quarantine, but quaranteeny.
Centuries of systemic racism in the U.S. has transformed Coronavirus, in some ways, into a modern-day Titanic disaster, where the economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority members are suffering and dying at a greater rate than middle & upper class whites. (Or, as the old summer camp jingle put it: “They put them down below where they were the first to go.”)
We’re all going down on the same ship, but each in our private quarters.
The danger in the “alone” part of “alone together” is that we stop seeing each other. Just that. We stop seeing each other. We stop hearing each other. We stop thinking about our shared experiences and the humanity that connects us. We stop feeling together and start feeling more and more alone. We start to fear. We start to hate. We start punching down instead of punching up.
Type “All you need is” into a search bar and Google autocompletes with the word “love”. Because a famous line from a famous band brought us together 53 years ago and still has the power to do so.
Maybe these days all you need is love, gloves, N-95 mask, hand sanitizer and lots of toilet paper, but the basic idea is the same.
Love is all you need.