Opinion: Column: What's Today?

Opinion: Column: What's Today?

After six weeks or so of isolating at home and working hardly at all, I believe it's time to invoke Violet Crawley (a.k.a. Maggie Smith), "the Dowager Countess of Grantham" and wonder aloud: "What's a weekend?" Every day feels like some other day or no day at all because the days in and of themselves are meaningless/indistinguishable. I mean, you can't go anywhere, you can't do anything; thankfully, you can use your phone and access your computer, but at the end of the same-old-day, you're basically nowhere man, with apologies to "The Beatles."

If it weren't for the trash pick-up on Thursdays and the recyclable pick-up on Fridays, and of course, no mail delivery on Sundays, there really is very little to separate one day from the next (the four-week schedule relating to my thyroid cancer treatment notwithstanding). Actually, if it weren't for the thyroid treatment beginning May 11th and the very specific requirements/activities for the following 23 days, ending June 2nd when I return to the hospital for a post-script scan, I would be totally betwixt and between; so much so that I might not know the difference between "Downton Abbey" and "Belgravia." But I still do, thank God, even though they were both written by Julian Fellowes. I haven't completely fallen through the cracks. Although sometimes I do fear that if I indeed have a crack in my psychological armor, it likely would occur in the middle/late beginning of a pandemic when a possible lack of sanity might be exposed.

And since I'm not really allowed out of the house, and retail stores and service providers are mostly unavailable, this would be a heck of a time to need any kind of help from outside one's house. You're not supposed to go anywhere and neither is anybody else, so you're sort of left to fend for yourself. Now, generally speaking, I don't mind fending for myself or others for that matter, but at present, in the midst of pandemic pressures, we're all supposed to mind our own business (and/or others if we stay six feet apart) and watch our "Ps" and "Qs" as we're doing it.

And as well consider what other letters to "watch." The problem with living through a pandemic, aside from listening to all the opinions on "a" to "z," is believing any kind of reliable timeline. No one, despite their credentials and learned experience, can say with any accuracy or certainty when this pandemic will end, when the virus will stop spreading and/or whether and when a second viral wave will hit in the fall, when a safe and effective vaccine will be ready, and when we can return to whatever the new normal will be. And though there's no shortage of hopes and prayers on the subject, unfortunately neither are there any simple solutions or definitive end to this mess. Somehow, we have to persevere in the present to get to the future by presuming nothing except more of the same. I guess it's an updated version of a definite-maybe or a "confirmed I doubt it" as B.J. Hunnicutt frustratingly said on a MASH episode 25-plus years ago.

However, life went on for B.J. and the rest of the MASH characters, as they all got to leave South Korea and return to The United States (except for Klinger who ironically enough chose to stay and marry a South Korean woman). And just as it seemed that the suffering they all experienced during the police action in South/North Korea would never end, it did. And so too will this pandemic end. Probably not by magic as President Trump has suggested, but likely through the collective efforts of the medical and scientific communities as well as our own mitigation and social distancing behaviors. As my Auntie Irene used to say decades ago, and as so many others say all the time now: "This too shall pass."

But not knowing exactly when "it shall pass" is sort of the problem. As my late mother would say: "It's enough already." I imagine we'll have a better idea of whether it's "enough already" when we see the effects of the 45-plus states which are "opening." If the virus reasserts itself, and thousands more are diseased and ultimately die, then we'll know exactly what day it is: a day of reckoning.