On Covid-19, Flexibility and Compassion

Covid-19 globeI don’t know about your neighborhood, but Covid-19 is making life interesting here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Difficult for many, devastating for some, and interesting for the rest of us. As of this writing (I recommend the CDC site for accurate data on other areas, other updates) we have sped past the first hundred confirmed cases in the state, and who knows how many of the 10,000+ Californians in self-quarantine are also my Bay Area neighbors.

This little virus brings with it a large bunch of life lessons. Some of them are shared here, as a public service.

First off (I hate to bring politics ever into this space, but what can you do?) if you ever believed anything said by our commander in chief, this is a good time to mend your ways. Covid-19 is not a Democrat hoax, it is not going to disappear in a short time, you really shouldn’t go to work if you’re sick, a vaccine is at best many months away, and good luck finding those test kits that anybody who wants can get. This is only a life lesson in the sense that, in today’s crazy information-overload reality, Truth is hard to find. So, Life Lesson #1: Seek Truth. Read several newspapers if you still read news. Otherwise, visit the CDC site and scroll through more than one mainstream news source, please; do not believe Facebook will give you Truth. Watch PBS and occasionally Fox News; if one disseminates truth, the other reinforces your neighbor’s version of truth – and we’re all in this together.    Covid-19 greenie

Other life lessons are happier, and equally easy to learn. For instance, at my church we very quickly learned to replace hugs and handshakes with fist bumps and peace signs. Not as much fun, but whatever. The ushers are equipped with bulletins and hand-sanitizer. Choir members last Sunday spaced themselves three feet apart, which looked rather elegant – but they sounded the same, i.e. gorgeous. We also learned translations of the word Covid into Hebrew and Yiddish, which I have already forgotten, and which doesn’t matter anyway since the name was chosen by the World Health Organization thusly: Co and Vi come from coronavirus, D stands for disease and 19 (as in 2019) = the year the first cases were seen. To connect all this: I belong to a Presbyterian church that is heavy into hugs, scientific truth and interfaith understanding.

As to flexibility, this viral pandemic is teaching us, wisely, not to be so rigid about stuff. I was dismayed when the San Francisco Symphony cancelled a concert on my regular series that I really wanted to hear; and the political roundtable at the Commonwealth Club, a favorite regular program at which I always volunteer, similarly disappeared. But symphony season will resume in good time, and do we really need to talk politics late into the evening when it invariably produces nightmares? Sleep is better. That long-planned trip to Tucson in a couple of weeks? Probably not the wisest thing for my octogenarian cardiovascular system. Purpose of trip, however, was to join my daughter for a visit with a childhood friend of hers (whose mother, lost to cancer decades ago, was a good friend of mine) – and they can definitely have a ball without me.

So take deep breaths and wash your hands. We and the planet will survive in good time.

Moon & clouds


  1. This is classic Fran Johns! True and real, as usual. I’m just as frightened about the financial implications as the physical. Feeling like intro to Depression, 202, but don’t want to be dramatic. My sis is vacationing in Tucson but is traveling by car which I think is much safer than airplane so think about it. trump’s speech was quite a leap tonight, given last week, he blew it off…

  2. Thank you Fran for your insight into this virus 🦠 situation. I love how levelheaded you are and not an alarmist. My husband,Bob, and I were in VP49 with Skip back in Jacksonville and Bob also flys for American. He and Skip talk often so I’m current on his family. I’m also a Virginia girl having been born in Norfolk. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your posts as I’m a Democrat and find Trump to be completely inadequate in every way even before he became president. Hope this finds you in good physical health because I know your mental health is excellent from your postings. 👯‍♀️😎😃 Julie Clyman

    Have a great day, Jules

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Hi Julie! I’ve no idea how this comment disappeared into the black hole of Pending comments. Thanks for dropping by my site; now I’ll go look for yours! If you get this, send me your address and I’ll send you my new collection of short stories about VA in the 1940s.

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