On the Path to Social Dysfunction

by Bob Sparrow

(Because I usually write about where I’ve been or where I’m going, I don’t often sit around pondering my navel, but Covid-19 has changed all that.  In fact, it’s got me thinking about today’s two most-used words, ‘Social Distancing’.  Here’s what I pondered).

“We’re all in this together.” How many times have you heard that?  It’s an oxymoron, spoken mostly by morons.  We are social beings and nothing could be further from the truth than us ‘being in this together’.  We have been ordered to stay apart, with serious repercussions if we don’t!  You could wind up in jail if you disobey – solitary confinement probably!

But the reality is, we’ve experienced social distancing for some time – perhaps since the middle of the last century.  Yes, we, as a species, have been ‘distancing’ ourselves from each other for at least the past 50-60 years – so we should be pretty good at it by now.  Don’t believe me?  Let these ‘Then and Now’ photos tell the story, a story that many of you, who have passed the mid-life crisis phase of your life, have witnessed firsthand.

Remember when you stood around and talked to your friends?  Today’s kids have been physically close, but socially distant.

 

Remember when the neighborhood would get together to play a game?  Now a kid can play a game with another kid half way around the world from his bedroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember when office meetings were a time when the whole staff came together?  Now you can attend the meeting ‘digitally’ in your underwear.  I’m sure you’ve heard that this, like so many other ‘socially distant’ activities, is the ‘new normal’!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember when the family used to go to a game?  Now there is a cardboard cutout in your place and you will root through your phone.

 

Remember when you used to dine out?  Now your meals are delivered to your home.

 

 

Remember the hug?  It’s now been replaced with the elbow bump.  So personal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know what you’re saying – this has all be brought on by Covid-19.  Yes, Covid-19 has exacerbated this issue, but social distancing has been going on for way too long and unless we stop its momentum we’re going to find ourselves as protagonists in an isolated dystopian world, probably in a bubble.    Experts say that Social Distancing leads to loneliness, depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder, domestic violence, child abuse, increase in suicide and a broad range of other mental and behavioral disorders.  In other words, Social Distancing is NOT GOOD FOR US!

I’m not advocating ignoring the health warnings that have been issued, as random and illogical as some may seem, I’m just saying, for our own health and welfare, when this is all over we need to get back to ‘socially magnetizing’.

 

HOW’S YOUR YEAR SO FAR?

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
Once in a while that great wasteland of Facebook has a pretty spot on post.  I have always “written from scratch” but this was too good to pass up so I’m sharing it today.  Unfortunately I don’t know the author but it’s obviously someone with a pretty good sense of humor!
Dear Diary 2020 Edition,
In ❄️ January, 🔥 Australia caught on fire. I don’t even know if that fire was put out, because we straight up almost went to war with Iran 🇮🇷 . We might actually still be almost at war with them 🤔. I don’t know, because 👩 Jen Aniston and 👨🏻 Brad Pitt spoke to one another at an awards 🏆 show and everyone flipped the crap out 😲, but then there was this thing happening in 🦇 🇨🇳 China, then 👑 Prince Harry and Megan ✌🏼 peaced out of the Royal family, and there was the whole impeachment trial 👩‍⚖️, and then corona virus 🦠 showed up in the US ✔️“officially,” but then 🏀 Kobe died 😭and UK 🇬🇧 peaced out of the European Union.
In February, 🌽 Iowa crapped 💩 itself with the caucus results and the president was acquitted and the 👩🏼‍💼Speaker of the House took Ten. Whole. Years. to rip up a speech , but then The👨🔬 🌎WHO decided to give this virus a name COVID-19, which confused 🤔some really important people 👔 in charge of, like, our lives, into thinking there were 18 other versions before it, but then Harvey Weinstein was found guilty👨🏻‍⚖️, and 🇺🇸 Americans started asking if Corona beer 🍺 was safe to drink🤦🏻‍♀️, and everyone on Facebook became a doctor 👨‍⚕️ who just knew the 🤒flu killed way more people than COVID 1 through 18.
In March, stuff hit the fan👿. Warren dropped out of the presidential race and Sanders was like Bernie or bust 💥, but then Italy 🇮🇹 shut its whole country down 🚷, and then COVID Not 1 through 18 officially became what everyone already realized –  😱a pandemic – and then a nationwide state of emergency 🆘was declared in US 🇺🇸 , but it didn’t really change anything, so everyone was confused or thought it was still just a flu 💁🏻‍♀️, but then COVID Not 18 was like ya’ll not taking me seriously? 💡 I’m gonna infect the one celebrity everyone loves and totally infected Tom Hanks👨🏻, get y’all to close all of the schools so y’all can 🙏🏼 appreciate teachers 👩🏫 for once (because you can’t teach them anything other than how to use a touch screen🤦🏻‍♀️ ) close down all of salons so you can’t get your 💇‍♂️ hair or your nails done💅 , everyone had to work from home and attend Zoom meetings in their underwear. The 📉 DOW took a crap 💩 on itself, and most of us still don’t understand why the stock market is so important or even a thing 🤔 (I still don’t), We were then all introduced to 🐅 Tiger King and the ONE thing we can all agree on this year , 👍🏼Carol totally killed her husband⚰️ ….. whacked him! And then Netflix was like you’re welcome, and we all realized there was no way we were washing our hands enough in the first place because all of our hands are now dry and gross and we’re all searching for lotion.
In 🌧 April, Bernie finally busted✌🏼 himself out of the presidential race 🏃 , but then NYC 🗽became the set of The Walking Dead 💀 and we learned that no one has face masks 😷, ventilators, or toilet paper, or THE FREAKING SWIFFER WET JET LIQUID , and by now our 🦁outgrowth is showing, so there’s a shortage on 📦 box hair dye and all of our hair dressers are like , 😱 NO DONT DO IT!!! But, then Kim Jong-Un died, but then he came back to life … or did he? Who knows, because then the Pentagon released 🎥 videos of UFOs and nobody cared, and we were like man, it’s only April….
In 💐 May, the biblical end times kicked off , historical locust swarms, we learned of murder hornets 🐝 and realized that 2020 was the start of the Hunger Games🙈 however people forgot to let us know. People legit started to protest lockdown measures with 🔫 AR-15s, 🏀⚾️sports events were cancelled everywhere. But then people all over America finally reached a breaking point with race issues and violence. There were 🗣protests in every city🌃 ,which was confusing to some of us because people were definitely gathering in 👫crowds of more than 🖐🏼🤚🏼10 and for sure closer than 6 feet away ⬅️➡️from each other. Those people must have forgotten about the 😖pandemic called COVID Not One Through 18. Media 📺 🗞 struggled with how to 🤬focus on two important things at once, people in general struggle to focus on more than one important thing. A dead whale 🐋 was found in the middle of the Amazon rain forest 🌳 after monkeys 🐒 stole COVID 1 Through 19 from a lab 🔬 and ran off with them, and either in May or April (no one is keeping track of time now) that a giant asteroid ☄️ narrowly missed the Earth🌍.
In ☀️ June, common sense just got thrown 🤾🏼 straight out the window and somehow 😷 wearing masks became a 🏛political thing, but then everyone sort of remembered there was a pandemic,  then 👨🔬scientists announced they found a mysterious undiscovered mass at the center of the earth, and everyone was like 🙅🏽‍♂️🙅🏻‍♀️🚧DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT, but then everyone took a pause to realize that people actually believed Gone With The Wind 💨 was non-fiction, but then it was also announced that there is a strange 🛰radio signal coming from somewhere in the universe 🌌 that repeats itself every so many days 🗓 , and everyone was like 👽 DON’T YOU DARE ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH IT‼️🚫 but then America reopened 🙌🏼from the shut down that actually wasn’t even a shut down, and so far, things have gone spectacularly … not that great 👎🏼. All of the Karen’s came out at once, and people started tearing down 🔨 statues. Everyone is on Facebook arguing 🤼‍♀️ about masks 👃🏼, but then Florida 🏖 was like hold my beer 🍺 and let me show you how we’re number one 🥇 in all things, including new Not Corona Beer Coronavirus. Then we learned there was a massive dust cloud ☁️ coming straight at us 📍from the Sahara Desert 🐫 , which is totally normal, but this is 2020, so the 👻 ghost mummy thing is most likely in that dust cloud. We then 📚 learned of meth-gators 🐊 , and I’m like that is so not on my flipping 2020 Bingo card 😡 can we use it as the free space?? 🤷🏻 Then we learned that the Congo’s worst ever Ebola 🚨 outbreak is over 😓, and we were all like, there was an Ebola outbreak that was the worse ever? 👀 … and don’t forget we just discovered FLYING SNAKES! 🐍, seriously! FLYING SNAKES!!!!
So here comes July…. at this point we are over it , just tell us what’s next … 👽 Aliens? 🔱Zeus? ☄️ Asteroids? Artificial Intelligence becomes self aware? Can it just be something cool 😎 or fun for once? Maybe even a good laugh , like hahaha 😂 April Fools! We all actually wouldn’t mind that joke at this point.
Also, why didn’t I know about the whale in the Amazon? Or a few other things because I just can’t keep up anymore!
BTW, a squirrel with Bubonic plague was found in CO… because, you know, it’s 2020.

Stir Crazy? Cabin Fever? Vinophobia?

by Bob Sparrow

Under the heading of ‘Is the cure worse than the disease? I offer some help to those who are going stir-crazy or are experiencing cabin fever.

First some clinical definitions:

‘StirCrazy’, derived from the use of stir to mean ‘prison’; a person is stir-crazy if they are experiencing isolation from civilization.

‘Cabin fever’ refers to the distressing claustrophobic irritability or restlessness experienced when a person, or group, is stuck at an isolated location or in confined quarters for an extended period of time.

You may also want to be on the lookout for ‘vinophobia’ – the fear of running out of wine while in isolation.

Are these ‘diseases’ real psychiatric diagnosis?  No, but they are real things.  Following are some suggestions by clinical psychologist, Joel Klapow, who wrote the suggestions to help people who are cooped up during a snowy winter, but I think you’ll see that they apply to us all during this ‘covid confinement’.  He says . . .

“These maladies are basically your mind’s way of telling you that the environment you are in is less than optimal for normal functioning.  It’s when you’re in a space of restricted freedom for a period of time that you can no longer tolerate.” He offers the following remedies (I offer my snappy rejoinders, following in italics) 

  1. Change your diet

Avoid high carb, high-fat foods, which can make you feel even more inactive. Instead, seek out lean proteins that contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. These can boost your mood, and often contain B12 and vitamin D, which help regulate your emotions.  (This is where that vinophobia comes in – I don’t know about all that omega-3, B-12 crap, but under no circumstance should you take wine out of your diet)

  1. Get outside 

Time in the sun will give you access to Vitamin D, which will boost your mood. (It will also get you away from your spouse and/or family that is by now on your last nerve)

  1. Get regular exercise 

Don’t feel like you need to go to the gym. Anything you do to keep your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day will help your mood. You can just go for a walk, or make a small change in your daily routine to see big changes in your spirits!! (What could be healthier than a good walk to the wine store?  It will be like lifting weights on the way home)

  1. Have a family game night

Get your kids – and yourself – away from computer/tablet/phone screens for a few hours and bond over some board games or puzzles.  (If the board games fail, try hide and seek, but once the family hides, don’t seek)

  1. Throw a party 

While it was nice to bond with your family over a marathon game of Monopoly, you might want to interact with other people. So consider planning a small party for friends or neighbors. Planning and preparing for the event will keep you active and help pass the time. With nice weather you can gather outside.  (My sense is that the most popular ‘party’ will be the party of the first part or the party of the second part in a divorce law suit)

  1. Change your decor

Sometimes, all it takes to make your surroundings feel different is a new look. Hang a picture or some other wall art or simply rearrange your furniture. (A new look could also include a face-lift, hair replacement or a . . . Oh, he’s talking about changing the look of your house – OK, move)

7. Avoid binge-watching 

Catching an entire season of the latest Netflix or Amazon series might seem tempting while you’re so confined, but . . . (there are not buts!  It’s the only thing that makes being cooped up tolerable – sorry I’m not going to feel guilty about that!!)  

8. Take up an indoor hobby 

Being forced inside can give you time to catch up on work or tackle a home improvement project you’ve been putting off. But you’ve also been given a chance to try out a new hobby; be creative – what have you always been interested in, but never had the time to do? (I tend to disagree with Mr. Klapow here, I am already heavily involved in two hobbies, binge-watching the latest Netflix or Amazon series and wine drinking.  My day is full!)

  1. Open the shades

You’ll not only make your surroundings feel brighter, but you’ll also help warm your house.  Once the sun has set, you may want to add ambiance, charm, and light to your rooms with some unique and stylish lighting.  (My surroundings will feel brighter when they are no longer my surroundings.  You want to brighten something up?  Put your ambient charm where the sun don’t shine)

  1. Think spring

We don’t just mean “Keep a positive attitude!” (Although that’s important too). Think about what you want to do when (he had when the snow melts, but for us it’s ) the pandemic is over and things warm up: adventures to take, an gatherings to plan, and new additions and changes to a new life-style.  Cabin fever doesn’t last, but we will. (Think spring my ass, it IS spring and it still sucks; I’m thinking 2021).  

As always, we here at ‘From A Bird’s Eye View’ are here to help you make it through the week.

 

 

GROUNDHOG DAY

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Happy Monday!  It is Monday, isn’t it?  I get so confused these days.  Usually I awaken each morning and before emerging from my bed I think about what day of the week it is and what I have scheduled on the calendar.  It’s sort of a memory test, plus the results dictate whether I’m happy about my day and bounce out of bed or whether I’m having a root canal and decide to languish for a bit longer.  These days, I am really struggling.  With everything on my calendar pretty much wiped out, one day just runs into the next.  It takes me several minutes to figure out the day and – sadly – many days I am wrong.  But I can hardly be blamed.  Just like Bill Murray, every day is Groundhog Day.

As an “at risk” person due to my age, I need to stay home unless I require food, medicine or money.  Frankly, I’d love to know where I could get some money.  I made the mistake this morning of looking at our brokerage account.  I know that the market has been bad but after looking at our balance I almost wish that our broker had absconded to Mexico and was spending our retirement money on pina coladas.  At least then someone would be having fun with it.  But…back to my “staycation” routine.  My first decision of the day is what to wear.  This used to be a fun activity, sorting through my clothes and putting things together. Now I’m down to deciding which color of sweat pants to wear.  I try to save the black ones for formal occasions – like when the Amazon delivery person is coming. After breakfast we take Dash the Wonder Dog on a walk and then I begin my anti-Covid 19 immunity response.  Right now I’m taking Vitamins C and D, a tablespoon of Sambucol Elderberry Syrup and a packet of Emergen-C.  I have NO idea whether any of that is doing any good but I figure it can’t hurt.  And, I haven’t gotten sick so, fingers crossed, hopefully it’s working, even if it’s all in my head.  Once fortified, I begin on my activities for the day.  I am maintaining my 10,000 steps/day routine.  It’s fairly easy this time of year when our weather is beautiful.  If the virus hangs on until summer and our fitness center remains closed I think I’ll be wearing holes in our rugs marching around the house.  Or, by then, the insane asylum.  But that’s a worry for another day.

All that takes me to about 9 o’clock.  That’s a whole lot of time to kill for the rest of the day trapped inside the house.  I saw a segment on the new-found popularity of jigsaw puzzles on CBS Sunday Morning last week and that reminded me that I had some puzzles stashed away.  I broke one out and started to put the edge pieces together only to discover that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.  Several of the pieces that I put together did not actually fit correctly but I couldn’t see that so I had something of a jumble on my hands.  It’s still sitting on our dinette table and as this staycation drags on I’m sure I’ll get bored enough to take up the task once again.  Hopefully with better lighting.  My knitting friends and I have discovered (along with the rest of America) the magic of Zoom, the internet meeting app.  So on our regular knitting time on Wednesdays we meet up.  It accomplishes two things – first, it proves that women of a certain age can still master some new technology and second, it puts something fun on the calendar.

Alas, I have to admit that once I’ve cleaned the house for the umpteenth time, watched a few episodes of Grace and Frankie,  and then knit for a couple of hours, I resort to playing Candy Crush on my iPad.  It truly is amazing what a time suck it is.  On the other hand, it keeps me from looking at the latest coronavirus stats and worrying about the health and safety of those I love.  It’s only April 6th.  I know that we all can get through this.  I just hope that it ends before I’ve mastered all 6365 levels of Candy Crush.