Category Archives: (ca)Rona Writings

This Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a lot of people for a loop…From the sick and families who are grieving loved ones snatched by this thing that’s been raging for more than a year…to others who are also trying to make sense of it all.

Just a few thoughts about the longest two weeks in history.

September 11, 2021 at 11:34 AM (Journal entry)

If you’re of a certain age in the United States and beyond, you likely have a “Where were you when…” story regarding September 11, 2001.

Here’s mine:

I was living in Los Angeles, still in my parent’s house. My youngest brother opened my room door and said something like “Guess what? A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!”

Heh. I brushed that off, and likely expressed my disbelief, too. That jokester boy woke me up to tell me some nonsense. Sheesh.

I turned over to get back to sleep. His words were so easy to disbelieve because not only is he a jokester with an ever-present sense of humor, but he has such a natural smile. He was telling me, but I saw so many of his smiling teeth, it was hard to believe.

Besides, a plane crashed into the Trade Center before—a small Cessna-type thing.

But did he say commercial jets? Did he say two? This part I can’t recall. But something was different about the information he gave.

I thought about it. He’s a jokester, yes. He has an easy smile, yes. But even he wouldn’t joke about something like this!

So I turned on the TV…

Both towers, smoldering. Uncertainty over missing flights that might be headed to the White House and the Capitol.

Then word a plane slammed into the Pentagon.

Glued. To. The. TV. Who, when, what, how, WHY, WHY, WHY? Were the questions running through my mind.

Underneath my covers, watching…one network anchor was saying/wondering about something new happening at one of the towers… While he was talking, MY eyes and brain asked me “Is it falling down?” Then TOLD me “It’s falling down!!!!” First one tower, then the other.

Swirling about was the uncertainty about a flight somewhere…headed someplace. We didn’t know if a plane would try to do harm to Los Angeles, no one knew much.

I can’t recall when I found out about United 93 crashing into a field in Shanksville, Pa., but I do remember getting a call from a longtime friend from childhood.

Recalling everything she said is difficult, but it went something like this: “I was on my way to San Francisco, but we got stuck on the tarmac. We’re not going anywhere and I need you to pick me up from the airport.”

National airspace shut DOWN.

The rest of the conversation, I can’t recall. Can’t recall if she called from a cell phone, from an airplane phone, or if she called from a pay phone…but she called. So I got dressed, told my mom “I don’t know everything that’s going on, but I’m going to get Ivette from the airport.”

Crowded, LAX was. That’s not unusual, though. But it was weird. Surreal. Strange. Unbelievable.

I got Ivette and drove her home.

And the news kept rolling in…

=======================

Fast forward to 2021… I’m living in the DMV now, and working for a startup TV network.

Like all outlets, we were preparing to commemorate 20 years since 9/11. During this prep, I’ve had the honor of speaking to folks who are directly impacted by loss on that day as part of the pre-interview process. The loss is unimaginable, even after all these years. Got the opportunity to speak to someone who lost their sister in the Pentagon. A different member of this same family has another twist to the story:

Imagine learning that your mother died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon…only to find out that your friend was on board that plane.

Unbelievable. But true.

==========================

I’ve kept a series of consistently inconsistent handwritten journals since the 1990s, and I wondered if I wrote anything on 9-11. I looked. Turned pages. Checked a few different books.
Nothing.
Not one peep written on 9-11. But I did find an entry made about two weeks later. That entry started like this:
“September 11th turned out to be a rotten day…”

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We’re so interconnected

I took part in a Zoom girlfriends conference call earlier. About five of my longtime friends and I met up in a room set up by one of my decades-long pals…

Living during a pandemic and social distancing and shelter in place orders…made me realize that I allowed work to get in the way of maintaining my friendships.

But no one’s knocking work. It’s important. It allows me to buy things—like food. And toilet paper. And more hand sanitizer—when I finally track that down.

But one of the things we discussed that is sticking to my mind—how interconnected we are—top to bottom, side to side, everyone incredibly integral to everyone else’s survival and well-being.

Doctors.
Nurses.
Hospital Techs.
Custodians.
Physical plant staff.
Guards.
Police officers.
Fire/EMS.
Dispatchers.
Grocery workers.
Restaurants.
Journalists.
Research scientists.
Imma say that again for the people in the socially distant back who may need to read it again.
Research scientists.
And everyone in between.

Let’s not forget the delivery drivers—shout out to all of y’all from the Amazon, UPS and FedEx folks to the gig-working drivers who deliver app-based food orders.

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March 17, 2020 at 7:40 PM

Good God Almighty! I haven’t written a stitch in my journal since July of last year, and a whole heck of a lot—hell of a lot might be a better description, because it feels that hell is nigh—a whole hell of a lot has happened since then.

First of all, Kobe Bryant is dead.

Yes, Marley, dead as a doornail. In a helicopter crash that killed nine people total…including his middle daughter, Gianna.  What in the world? Like, why? I’m still asking because I’m STILL getting over that one. 

It STILL hasn’t trickled down to that hardly disturbed gathering spot—the place where facts go once they actually make sense…or that other settled place where we accept that they won’t EVER make sense.

But still. It. Just. Doesn’t.  Maybe it never fully will settle in.

 I was working the editor’s desk at WTOP that Sunday morning, and it was a flurry of an afternoon. Seems like such a distant memory now–barely two months later…because LOTS has happened since.  Including Super Tuesday (I worked the desk that evening, too—Lord—keeping track of all those states and American Samoa was a pleasantly exhilarating chore), Democratic presidential debates, and just life.  I’m still working on my podcast–my free-time labor of love, Planet Noun, and have some pretty good interviews in the can, but now, this heifer named Rona is trying to steal my joy.

Rona’s not its real name.  It’s COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus.  It’s been traced back to Wuhan, China and it’s spread the globe, to nearly 200 countries.  Once Wuhan was the epicenter, now Italy is the new epicenter.  So many people have died there, and the death toll in the United States is also climbing. The number of cases in our area keeps rising, and each part of the DMV is reporting deaths. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

I don’t know what else to do, but write out my thoughts so they don’t crowd my mind… and create stuff.

I wrote some darn-silly lyrics for Rona…First time I heard someone call this outbreak The Rona, Bobby Brown’s song Tender Roni immediately came to mind…

SneakyRona

Truth about The Rona 

It’s a sneaky little virus

Don’t treat it right, fight it back don’t hold it tight. 

Only sneaky Ronas can swirl around the world

A special pandemic where symptoms can even hide.

If you believe in health and all that it can do for you 

Buy you some veggies

Buy some fruit tooo-oooo

And if you find that sneaky Rona has crept up on you

Make it official

Go get it a di-ag-noooo-ooo-sis 

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love

Verse 2

Truth about Rona

It’s always on the move

Don’t matter what you look like-it can come for you…

So stay your hind parts home. 

And cook you some food. 

Netflix and chill and Amazon Prime too

(Just don’t order food)

If you believe in health and all that it can do for you 

Eat you some veggies

Eat some fruit too.

And if you find that sneaky Rona has crept up on you

Make it official

Go get it a di-ag-noooo-ooo-sis 

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love

Bridge

The truth about Rona—it’s a sneaky skank

Bout as sneaky a skank thats around the way

It makes the toughest homeboys get fever, dry cough. 

Sore throat runny nose or-no-symptoms…

Wash your nassssy hands to keep that Rona out your life. 

 Cover your mouth

Don’t go out in a crowd 

You don’t want the Rona cause the Rona ain’t right…

So getting toilet paper it might save your liiifffffeeee.

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love. 

(Repeat 2x)

Sometimes foolishness is what saves us (read: me) from anxiety or panic.  And panic and brawling over fibers used to clean hindparts is not what I’m about. But then again, sheer foolishness and selfishness is what leads some to do just that.  Hoard and fight. 

Rona Shopping

Made a Target run yesterday, and found toilet tissue. May make another run tomorrow morning for a few more things.  

Things with this COVID-19 outbreak have totally upended he way we do things…folks staying at home, teleworking, San Francisco on lockdown, part of New Rochelle, New York on lockdown, gatherings of 50 or fewer banned—then that number squeezed down to 10 people or fewer. 

I’m usually glad and content to stay home—but there’s the knowledge that I’ll get to go to the store and get what I need.  

But just like Kobe Bryant’s death fractured the once secure lenses through which folks may have seen life, COVID-19 has tilted us into thinking that we may have to hunker down for a long time…that resources that were constantly stocked on supermarket and big-box shelves may be scarce.  Yes, if everyone buys 80 packs of toilet paper each, yes, things will be scarce.  

To make sure we all have what we need, we must be committed to being good humans and not moved by fear.  And moved to thank our store clerks for their service along with medical teams, servicemen, firefighters, cops—and journalists who help us stay informed.  As a journalist, I’m biased about that last one…But during that Target run, I made sure to tell staff members “Hey, I’m glad you’re here!”

I’m afraid all of this will be our new normal.  Already, I’m longing for the halcyon days when I was getting over a bad breakup…or those days when I worked seven days in a row here and there—and the only thing I had to worry about was being a little tired. 

It’s thrown many of us for a loop. And we’re just trying to navigate and deal, and adjust. It’s the human way.

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