Life in the Time of Coronavirus
Well, I don't know how things are going where you are, but things here are starting to turn very strange. At Penn State, the students were told NOT to return from spring break. All classes will be held online for at least the next few weeks. Many people - including me - will be working remotely for a while. Sporting events, arts and cultural events, and all kinds of other events are cancelled. Libraries are closed. All schools in our state are closed per our governor's edict. I hope you like who you are living with - you're going to be seeing a LOT of them in the coming weeks.
In our state, the hub for transmission of coronavirus seems to be spreading out from the Philadelphia area, starting in the southeast and moving toward the northwest. The governor of PA has asked all non-essential businesses in several counties in that area to close, leaving open nothing but grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies. As of this writing, there are 6 confirmed cases and 41 presumptive positives in our state, for a total of 47.
And we have heard about how things are in other places. In New Jersey, there is a curfew. I've heard of public brawls - and even shots fired - over basic necessities, like toilet paper. The stores are out of many things, and some are now limiting how much of certain items you may buy. I've heard of a fast food restaurant or two turning to "drive-through" only. I feel like I am getting whiplash from reading all of this weird news, but I suspect things may get stranger yet before we're through.
I was thinking about the current situation and how it all feels from here, when I got the idea for a photo shoot with the Crittergators. I wanted something to demonstrate the sense of social isolation and strangeness. My initial concept was each Crittergator inside a small glass bottle that used to hold insulin. (My first cat, Gremlin, was diabetic for his last six years - two shots a day - so I have lots of those!)
But the bottles were too small. No matter how tiny they look, those Crittergators couldn't fit inside them. So I tried small clear Tupperware containers, each holding one CG, but they were a bit too opaque for my liking and the shape was wrong. I recently acquired this small, cute bottle with a teddy bear on the lid at work at the give-away table in the break room, and it was see-through enough that it worked well for my purposes. So those are the technical details behind this shoot. English majors may have noticed that the title of this blip is based on the book title, Love in the Time of Cholera; there are no plot similarities, I just liked the sound of it.
I don't know if you saw the stories out of Siena, Italy, where people who are in quarantine have begun to go out onto their balconies and sing with their neighbors. It cheered my heart to see and hear that. Forget what they say about the human heart being a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill; we are social creatures, and we will manage somehow to bring our hearts together, even if our bodies may be physically apart.
There are two songs for this posting. One is Heart, with Alone. Also, for any of you concerned about the poor little redshirt in this photo, he is fine as can be. He has no respiratory system that we know of, so he has (and they have) very little chance of getting sick. The sound that you cannot hear - but I can - is a four-part harmony. They will NOT be separated and are singing this song: Pat Benatar and Martina McBride, with We Belong. (And of course, as soon as we were done with the photo shoot, we took the lid off and let the little redshirt out!)
Oh, and P.S.: KEEP WASHING YOUR HANDS!!!!!!