Unshared Reality


Elon Musk says, “the Coronavirus panic is dumb.” Let’s open this up shall we?

Clearly there’s a run on toilet paper, anti-bacterial wipes, and surgical masks. Soup and chili are running thin, along with bottled water, and peanut butter. I also heard there’s no milk and eggs on the shelves at Costco? These are trying times.

One of those items I can’t live without so rationing seemed the only logical solution. I put a limit of 5 squares per service if you follow, and let me be perfectly honest, people are cheating, by people I mean Larry. He’s the only other occupant in the house and I haven’t noticed Shaggy participating in the allotments.

Now what does this tell you?

Clearly spouses can be uncooperative, but more importantly someone is hoarding all the toilet paper, I blame Jeff Bezos, he has 25 bathrooms, and access to supplies if you know what I mean? Jeff send me a pack if you get a minute.

Seth Godin confirms the conflict of our time is between people who are challenging our shared objective reality by claiming their reality takes precedence over what we’ve discovered. We’re both in need of toilet paper and that might be our new common denominator.

Larry forwarded me an article from the Mercury News yesterday which strongly recommends all people over the age of 50 remain indoors in Santa Clara County until the Coronavirus threat is over? Never mind that we have jobs, people who rely on us, and restaurants to frequent.

I admit my initial reaction was not stellar, I scoffed at such extreme measures, the truth is I don’t have a degree in pandemic threats, and due to my current predicament I’m considering this whole debacle with new eyes.

I heard the same advice from an award winning scientist on the east coast, who’s approach seems alarming, he not only advised restrictions on travel, eating out, going to the movies, games, bars, and gyms, but he recommended closing all the schools?

Is the sky really falling?

If we refrain from supporting our local restaurants, travel industry, entertainment venues, resorts, sporting events, and health clubs, what will be left when the danger passes? Our current shared reality is kicking our economy to the curb, so what do we do?

We bought tickets months ago to participate in a surprise 60th birthday for a dear friend who lives in Texas, before the Coronavirus was a thing, before we understood how it tends to attack 60 year olds specifically, older people direly, and for those with compromised immune systems it can be deadly. The fear is real.

Feeling as if we had a slight advantage as we are hanging on to our fifties by our fingernails, we decided to throw caution to the wind, and wash our hands with the intensity of a surgeon.

The time we spend with old friends celebrating milestones is enormously gratifying. Our generous hosts made sure we were entertained, well fed, and appreciated Texas style. You’ve heard the homage, “everything’s bigger in Texas,” and that is certainly true when it comes to heart and hospitality.

By the way there was plenty of toilet paper where ever we went, back up rolls stacked on the back of the toilet, extras stored in the cupboard. It was reassuring. I resisted packing a few rolls in my bag, it’s lent, and I’m trying to avoid damnation.

When Gerald, the birthday boy, gathered us together to thank us for changing decades with him, he surprised me by speaking about accompaniment. Gerald made us feel as if his life were all the better because of our shared journey. It was a sweet  moment, taking the most important aspects of friendship, and whittling them down to the primacy of accompaniment.

We are discovering more and more about the benefits of social relationships, not only do they enhance our well-being, but they bolster our immune systems, and bring down our blood pressure. This might be our secret weapon? In a world suffering from fear, stress, and panic I think our only hope to care for each other as tenderly as possible.

This Coronavirus is messing with just about every aspect of our lives. Seth Godin also claims divisions over this cultural reality are getting worse. Spin, widely spread, not only seeks to divide us, but resorts to insisting that the objective reality that is challenging those issues isn’t real. By seeking to deny the things we ought to be able to agree on, it sets us back. How do we help each other maneuver through these trying times?

Laxzlo Barabasi says, “an influenza virus moves through a continent with the speed of a sports car.” Damn. It seems airports, shopping malls, supermarkets, cruise ships, and schools act like petri dishes, spreading the virus as if a California wild fire, and has the added bonus of disrupting our global financial network. Is would be dumb to underestimate this little contagion, but don’t underestimate the clarity that comes with taking a deep breath, and refusing the appeal of fear and panic.

The current recommendation is for those of us in our 60’s to gather supplies, stay home, avoid all crowded situations. My husband and both daughters are now working from home, I call those the blessings of the coronavirus, we’re hunkered down in our chosen spaces, and there is something enormously comforting about that.

So how are you planning to utilize all that extra time you’ve created by not commuting? Is it possible to consider this as a rare opportunity for connecting with others in uncommon ways, providing leadership to a struggling community, and as if a communal lent how can we utilize this time for shared renewal. Now that we’re battling the same foe can we be more generous with each other? Nothing like a pandemic to bring us together.

Maybe this is our chance to take that online course we’ve been talking about, or help our elderly neighbors order groceries on-line, turn off Netflix and finally read Pride and Prejudice, consider the stock opportunities the market is now presenting. The point being is not to buy into the panic because that is not helpful to anyone. Seth Godin says the other path is to dig deep and figure out what’s next.

That being said, I  have the flu, Texas style, with all the expected trimmings, and did I mention the run on toilet paper?

I’m Living in the Gap, ailing at present, don’t drop by just send a few rolls.


  • Larry is growing a coronavirus beard, not shaving until he returns to work, I’ll keep you posted.
  • My daughter Kelley made me homemade soup, tea, and eggs as she manically wipes down everything I touch with antibacterial sheets.
  • I’m getting bed sores.




Leave a Comment

    1. Thank you Lauren, I agree, recovering in the comforts of home is an enormous gift. I’m grateful for this opportunity to slow down and consider my next step. How are you managing in these changing times?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am 40 plus days dealing with shingles and the following neuropathic pain. I have left the house for doctor appointments and picking up meds exclusively. I am fortunate that my spouse shops and does the necessary things outside of the house. I am in such pain that leaving the house typically does not sound like a good thing yet. I too am in southern CA and experiencing the run on supplies. Trying to have my spouse get things that are easy to throw in the oven for easy meals.
    I hope your flu is vacating your home and life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember reading about your shingles, maybe in you blog Lauren, or it could have been in our exchange of comments. It is the most painful ailment and it lingers! I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. What is your prognosis? Thank goodness you have a cooperative spouse, I do too, and I’m appreciative. Traffic is light in the Bay Area, gas is cheap, but someone’s hoarding all the toilet paper! I’m already feeling better and hoping to return to my life soon! Sending you prayers for healing and comfort!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheryl, I am so sorry you have the flu. That’s always just an awful thing. As for the coronavirus? I don’t know what to think. Panic? Be reasonable? Strike a balance? I do live with a compromised immune system, so I am definitely concerned. The stress is very real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa, I am so much better today! I haven’t had the flu in years and man it’s the worst. I was slightly worried the whole time that it was “the virus” and I would most surely die. But the doctor assured me it was not and somehow I am happy to only have gotten the flu? It is a difficult time, I live in California, in the particular county that has the most cases! It’s a little chaotic and extremely concerning. Those with compromised immune systems need to protect themselves for sure. Stay safe Lisa. C


  3. Glad to see in your comments that you are feeling better. The flu is no fun!
    Mike and I cancelled our trip to Mexico and are making the best of our “staycation”. On a good note, the birds are coming back to our formerly empty nest. Rachel can work from home and and Ellie’s classes went on-line.
    Keep washing those hands and maybe we can travel together when the craziness is over. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gail, yes, I recovered much faster then our world unfortunately! I’m so sorry to hear of your cancelled trip! What a bummer. We’re wondering if our hike will have to be rescheduled too? We had all the kids over last night for dinner, that’s been really cool, Kelley’s staying another week, and Notre Dame just closed so I’m now teaching remote! It’s crazy times for sure. And yes, it would be wonderful to plan something when this all settles down! Miss you guys. Be well! 💞


  4. Looking forward to reading about the trials of teaching remote! That must be a new, interesting experience for you.
    On the bright side as everything is cancelled you will have more time to write and your readers will have more time to read!😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The unexpected is becoming our new normal. I’m selfishly enjoying all the family time, but this teaching remote is takes it to a whole new level, and I pray I’m up for the challenge. Larry has us all watching the old classics and playing cards. It’s so odd. Our lives have slowed, simplified, and so isolated. It’s all very surreal.


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