One of the nice things about the internet is that there is real time dissemination of information. Today, that information has been about the coming school year. Parents are eager, possibly very eager, to get the kiddos (God, I hate that word) back to school. They seem to have grown quite tired of their progeny and wish to off load them to the schools.

Because of the state of the economy, school budgets are getting cut. There simply isn’t enough money to go around. And education is just one of those places that seems quite easy to cut. The schools, however, are going to open, dammit. They just have to. Because … well, see paragraph above.

There are three programs being offered in South Carolina, Ohio, and Arizona (that I know of) and I assume across the entire country. Students and parents will opt into one of three options to start the school year, and will be able to change options as they see fit as the year progresses.

First is full time school with social distancing and all that stuff. It will be every day but with seating available for only half to one third of the students if that social distancing will be enforced. So we need more teachers and more classrooms. It seems like we should be building some more schools, if you ask me.

Another option available either to all students (Ohio and Arizona) or older students (South Carolina) will be daily virtual classrooms with set times. Schools will provide laptops to each student magically making them appear out of thin air and classes will be mandatory with teacher based lectures. This seems to me to mean that we need to hire some more teachers for this segment, although we don’t have to build more actual schools.

Then there is the combined version where some of the time will be spent at home and some in the actual schools. I have no idea where the room for this comes from.

Students will be provided some time for recess, but they shouldn’t get close to each other. They will have access to what in educational parlance is known as specials, but they may not share materials or equipment. I guess gym is going to be running laps and I have no idea what art class is going to be like. Music will be singing and more singing. I have no idea if libraries are even possible in this situation.

There will be lots of cleaning and hand washing with soap and water and lots of hand sanitizer. I’m unsure how meals are going to go, but the process states they will. Somehow.

I’m sure that the kiddos will be all over this social distancing and be very efficient in the hand washing and certainly no one will touch anything that another person has used. The younger grades that use manipulatives for hands on learning will be out of luck. Group projects don’t seem to be very promising, either.

Sports will still be able to be played and no one will be in the bleachers to watch, right? Or if they are, they will be scattered throughout the bleachers without any grouping together. I’m not quite sure how football is played if there is no touching, but I’m sure someone smarter than me figured this all out.

We shouldn’t worry about all this because little kids don’t usually die from Covid. And the average age of teachers is 41 and those people are pretty resilient as well. Of course, the way to get that average is count all the new grads who are in their 20s and match them up with the old and experienced teachers in their 50s and 60s and then average that out. So the old one are just going to have to … what? Are we sacrificing them? Apparently so.

What isn’t commented on in this rush to get back to “normal” even as daily records of new cases emerge nationwide, is that just because some people don’t die, it doesn’t mean they don’t get sick. And with all the congregation of the “distancing” students bringing in the germs they have gathered from their ever more active lives outside, there will be an increase in the number of cases.

It looks to me as if we need, regardless of methodology, as least twice the number of teachers, even as budgets are getting cut. So, when the teachers get sick and cannot come to school for two to three weeks, where in the hell are we getting all the substitute teachers from?

In normal times, when there aren’t enough subs, they cram the kids together in one of the classrooms. Can’t do that now.

How do you make little kids (and all this includes preschool to grade 12) aged 3 to 7 to actually wear a mask or not touch anything? How are you going to get a bunch of 3-5 year olds to wash their hands frequently and not just spend the whole day with kids washing their hands?

So, exactly HOW is any of this going to work? In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they aren’t. While this may, at least to some, look like a plan, there is no reasonable way to implement it. There wasn’t a way to make this happen before budget cuts and there surely isn’t a way after them.

Who is going to teach the remote learning? Who is going to make sure the kids actually remotely show up? (Pro tip: they don’t all show up.) Where are the laptops coming from? Who is providing the internet service? Who is going to keep my sister alive? Those kindergarten kids are Petri dishes in the best of time. This is not the best of time.

Anyone have a concrete plan telling me how this will work?

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“I never go anywhere.” I say that quite often but it is really not true. I often don’t remember where the hell I have been, but I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled extensively.

I really didn’t think it was going to be all that difficult to stay home because you see, I don’t go anywhere. I found out over the last several weeks, that I go quite often.

While social distancing and staying home under mandate or heavy suggestion or whatever this is, I have not been shopping for stuff. I have been to the grocery store twice (with Dick going once a week picking up all the stuff on my list). I have not been to the library. I have not had a massage. I have not been to the gym. That last one was my most frequent place to visit.

I have been shopping online and have managed to keep the house going with all my needed unnecessary purchases. My home gym is much better stocked than it was back in March. It doesn’t have everything, but it has more stuff and enough for me to get in fairly decent workouts.

Still, I’m starting to go a bit stir crazy. Every time I think I’m going to lose my mind, I remember poor teen aged Anne Frank. I feel a bit ashamed of myself. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it makes me sink even deeper into this … not really sadness or depression. Maybe ennui. Just a gray lack.

I have spent hours and hours on the phone in these last weeks. I have spent hours and hours and even more hours in my chair either crocheting or coloring. I have watched endless classes from The Great Courses.

I have managed to continue to eat healthily. I’ve lost about 3 pounds during this hot mess. I keep worrying that is muscle mass and all that I’ve worked so hard for over the last years is withering away. That’s rather worrying which gives me something else to add to my list of worries.

Because life is better if one is laughing, I’ve tried to make light of things and make a joke about this situation. So, after dinner, it is SOFA time. SOFA is Sit On my Fat Ass. And I have mastered sitting and more sitting.

Now there is a new worry looming on the horizon. Certain states are starting to lift their restrictions. We may be allowed out in public again. And that scares the ever loving shit out of me. I know what is out there and it is trying to kill people.

I used to think I was healthy, but I have to admit that I am not. I am as healthy as I can manage, but I sit here with blood chemistry that is not all perfectly in that lovely normal black column. I have some red numbers out there and they are simply indicators of ill health. As far as I know, my respiratory status is unaffected so far. As far as I know, is the tricky part. Every trip to the doctor brings up one more area where I’m slowly dying and in slow descent to shut down.

So when things are open, will I be brave enough to head out there? Is there really anything I’m missing right now that is worth dying for? Is there something I should be doing instead of SOFA time?

I have a plan for the gym, the space I visit the most frequently. My plan is to go there when there is NOT a class, do the WOD by myself in the total luxury of ALL the equipment available, and then scoot out of there before all my friends show up. That does get me a workout, but I truly do miss my friends.

I’m not sure about all the other stuff. I rarely interact with anyone at the library. We even have a self checkout station there. I could stand having some new books available. I can go at some weird time of day and get some books and leave quickly.

I have mountains of stuff in this house, so I’m not really sure what sort of shopping I might need to do. I certainly have enough of all the things except some food items and those have been replenished throughout this lock down.

How am I going to find the courage to venture out of my safe house? Why should I venture out of my safe house? Is my house really safe? These are strange times. I wish I had some answers. I don’t even know if I have the right questions.

When this is over, it isn’t going to be all over, so stay safe. Ask yourself as you go forth into the world, if your mission is really worth the possible costs. And know that the possible costs might be zero. Or death. Pretty damn wide spread there on the costs. Uncertainty principle is running wild through the world.

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I was talking to my son today. He owned and operated a CrossFit gym for over eight years. He is a personal coach today. He knows some stuff about health and fitness. He also has worked long and hard on an attitude of gratitude. His day job is being a firefighter. I am quite proud of the guy.

My other son has been bewailing his non-essential essential status. But now, Case Western Reserve is turning some dormitories into housing for COVID patients who might need more space. He is working for the next two weeks to get these dorms patient ready. I am quite proud of this guy.

And here I sit. Old and retired. Making baby blankets for when this is all over. They will be ready to donate so little babies who don’t have a Nana to make them a blanket, will have one from this Nana. It is what I can do in this mess.

I also share as many funny memes as possible and try to share as many health tips as an old retired nurse can manage. Wash your hands. Wash the stuff your hands have touched.

What I am struggling with right now is restless legs syndrome. Not the kind that keeps you awake at night, but the kind where my legs would like to take me places and I know that I’m supposed to stay home and be safe and keep others safe by keeping my distance. I have always thought I was pretty much a homebody. Turns out, I’m not. I miss going here and there and all the minor little things I usually do without much thought.

Biggest thing I miss is going to the gym. I have been going to the gym, first three days a week, then four, and now five. I go and I work out with my gym buddies and we support each other and there is just all sorts of equipment available. Fun times. I can’t do this right now.

Fortunately, I already had a bar and some plates. I can get from 30 to 125 pounds. I had a kettlebell, which is too light but that’s what I’ve got. I had some really light dumbbells and I purchased some heavier ones before they sold out. I now have a box for jumping or stepping up to. I have a speed rope and some resistance bands. I have a fairly rounded out garage gym.

My house is situated on a T in the roads. Right in front of my house is a stop sign. If you turn, you are on the street and if you pull in straight from the stop sign, you are in my driveway. I am finding this quite disconcerting.

I am on display in my garage. I’m not a powerhouse athlete. That 125 pounds is sufficient for all my needs here. And I am finding it embarrassing to work out and have people coming up to the stop sign or walking their dogs along the sidewalk and seeing this old, pitiful woman doing really odd stuff.

I have suffered from feelings of ineptitude and ineffectiveness and unworthiness since I started CrossFit. I have always been the oldest person in the gyms where I have worked out. And I am always at the lower end of the white board and I’m just not that strong. What I am is determined and constant. Like the worst kid in some poor teacher’s classroom who never misses a day. That’s me.

I mentioned this to my son and he was appalled. Perhaps, he said, what they see is not some old, pitiful woman, but some inspiration. Perhaps they see someone with a gray ponytail doing more things than either driving a car or walking a dog. They see me and they might be impressed or inspired.

I’m going to tell myself that story tomorrow morning. I hope I’m not doing toes to wall and feeling like a complete idiot while I try to convince myself this is normal behavior for a senior citizen. I will try to face uphill as I do my double unders and hope I miss fewer jumps and perhaps I will be able to tell myself that I’m adequate in some small way. I will, as always, try to monitor my form on Olympic lifts if that’s on the menu.

What I do know for sure is that you should exercise to keep as healthy as possible. It does wondrous things for your body, young or old. Movement, purposeful movement, it great. Walking is good. Weight training is a bit better for your skeleton. All of it, all the movements, are good for your psyche. We need to feel some bit of control in a situation beyond our control. One way to do this is to take your old, fat ass out to the garage and actually succeed at some workout either as posted or as made up. But with integrity and purpose.

That and, of course, wash your hands. Don’t touch that. If you did, wash that, too.

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I think we are doing okay. We seem fine. We aren’t sick or anything but we are getting a bit batty. Things that shouldn’t throw us for a loop have us looping.

Part of this is because we are completely out of our routines. Routines help us get through our days without nearly as much thought or planning as this whimsical do whatever time. My first this, then that system is all askew.

Part of this is due to low level stress. Under constant bombardment about my impending doom, my fragility, my soon to be corpseness is getting under my skin.

Since we have idiots out there in droves, the virus is spreading faster than it needs to. We have people who do not understand the distance rule of self distancing. Gathering together with a group of your closest personal friends is not what self distancing means. It means by yourself. Distant from others. Your family is all in this together, however.

I don’t know if it is fatalism or realism, but I keep wondering WHEN I’m going to come down with this virus, not IF. And what concerns me isn’t so the much knowing it’s coming as it is in not knowing which version of this shit is going to get me. I know there are mild cases. So mild that people don’t even know they are sick. And then there is death.

That’s a pretty wide variety of choices there. And it is completely unknown. We don’t know why some people get the virus but don’t really get sick as opposed to those who get the virus and die, or nearly die and take a long time to recover. I’m not partial to being ventilator dependent. I worked ICU too long to want that for me or anybody really. Being able to breathe on your own is a wonderful thing and I would like to continue doing it. I wish we all could.

But this low level stress is draining. The waiting is difficult. The boredom is trying. The isolation is gnawing away at my soul.

I love all the memes out there trying to help us gain perspective, knowledge, or even humor. Even they seem to be slacking off.

I don’t have any answers. I do my yin yoga which helps calm my brain and stretch my tense muscles. I do my CrossFit workouts which helps me burn up some excess energy. I have been cooking the same healthy meals I always do. I have been crocheting like a crazy woman.

I was watching a Great Courses class on Infectious Diseases and learned I’m going to die of everything. It was made a few years ago and it still made me crankier and edgier than needed in a time when I’m already crankier and edgier than usual. So I stopped watching it and went to something less soul destroying. I’m learning about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Interesting and calming.

I’m doing what I can and yet there is this constant frisson of worry. I try to stay away from the news. I have only gone out in public to get some groceries and I did my best to steer clear of anyone and everyone. Although I did smile at people from a distance so as to spread a little good cheer, or at least try.

We have gone out for walks around the neighborhood or on a path, staying well away from any of the other walkers. It helps a bit.

What would be great is for normal life to resume. I don’t know if ever really will. We have been fortunate with this virus. Although it is ridiculously easy to transmit and has a very high contagion rate, it isn’t killing off proportionally as many of us. Ebola killed about half of those that got it. This is killing anywhere from less than 1% to about 4%. We can’t get good numbers because of all those lucky people who didn’t get sick enough to even go to the doctor, be tested, and find themselves in the “recovered” column of the statistics.

Hopefully, some good will come out of this. Perhaps our drug manufacturers will stop concentrating on life style drugs and work on a few more anti-viral and antibiotic things. I know those don’t make as much money as blood pressure drugs that are daily and forever, but we really need them. We also need some scientists/humanists like Salk or Sabin who gave the world their invention for free because life is more important than money.

For now, I will sit here, isolated and worrying. I’m not in a panic. But I can’t really say I am not stressed. I wish I could.

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Dear gym owners,

Be not afraid. I bring you tidings of great joy! I miss my gym. Terribly. If you are a caring coach, if you are involved with your clients on a more personal level, you are going to be okay after all this is over.

I have been doing CrossFit for seven years now. Well, seven and a half. I have a record of every single workout I’ve ever done. I have a score for each and every WOD as well. I can do comparisons and see how far I’ve come over the years. That’s really cool.

Note to gym rats everywhere: write down your workouts, your times, your issues, your gains. Your time in the gym is worth more than just your time in the gym. When you look back over time and see the monumental gains over the years of work, it is far more impressive than the incremental gains you are making in the current times. Your PRs mean even more.

If you are still working out, that is.

Jason is our head coach. He is graciously offering up a home workout for us every day. I’m sure it can’t be easy. None of us has access to the same equipment. For instance, I don’t have a pull-up station. Nor do I have a box for jumping on or over. I have a bar and some plates. Not very many. Others don’t have that much. Some have nothing at home except their anxious selves. But Jason is helping us get through this.

I for one, am eternally grateful. I could go to my books and books of recorded workouts and pick something out. I may eventually do that anyway. I have dumbbells, kettlebells, and that bar and plates. I’m not limited to body weight workouts. I have to look around the house and find something for box jump WODs. I used to have a bench here that worked. I think it is gone.

I am scrambling. I am doing my best with what I have. I assume that is what we all are doing. I go to the garage with my phone for keeping time and my tablet for my music. And I get to listen to music that those kiddos I work out with wouldn’t like.

But the thing is, I miss those kiddos I work out with. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the extra push we all get from looking around the room and suffering in unison. I miss the high fives when we are finished. I miss the celebration of other people’s successes. I miss the whole gym experience.

I can work out alone. I’ve always been able to do that. But I don’t like it. It is lonely in my garage. I want my peeps back. I want all the equipment back.

I do keep up with my yoga and my CrossFit because when all this is over, I plan to still be alive and when I step back into the gym, I don’t want to be in a place where I have to start over. I want to keep up with all the advances I’ve made.

I’m waiting patiently for the day when we can all be together again. I know it is possible to never pay for a gym membership again. I can see that I can actually do this. But – I don’t want to. I want my gym. I want the interaction, interplay, and group suffering (almost never in silence).

So, dear gym owners, if you have historically run your business with enough of the personal touches, if you are reaching out to your clients even in this shitstorm of a present, if you are offering them guidance in this our hour of need, you will have them back when this is over. Probably with lots and lots of hugs. We miss you.

Sincerely,
A gym rat

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Lots of workouts to choose from

These are the times that try men’s souls. Some guy from the past said that. I couldn’t stand it and had to look up who it was. Thomas Paine.

I think there are things in every time that try men’s souls. Women’s souls, too. We live in a world that is forever trying us. We are usually found to be quite resilient. If not individually, then at least collectively. Each and every time has challenges.

It is good to remember that we, as a group, have always met them. At times, they have been world changing. The Black Death of the 1300s devastated Europe. It killed off a large proportion of the continent’s populace. Between 30 and 60% of Europe’s population met their maker within just a few years. And it changed everything.

No longer would the feudal system work and so the entire governing system as well as the economic system had to change. It is this sea change that marks a dividing line between Middle Ages and the Modern Era. It was horrific. It gave us today.

It is thought the disease came from the East, probably China. The Europeans were totally vulnerable. It is the same thing as when the Europeans came to the Americas and brought with them their germs to which the native population was totally vulnerable. Diseases have changed the face of the Earth many times. In ancient history, empire collapse often resulted from epidemics.

The Spanish flu, which wasn’t Spanish, killed millions about a hundred years ago. While this was devastating, it didn’t create the same disturbance in our overall way of life. By then the population of the Earth was much higher and “millions” was a smaller percentage.

And so we come to today. We are in the midst of a pandemic. The authorities are trying to come up with some hard and fast rules or suppositions about this disease. Mostly, they are guessing right now. They don’t have enough data to actually create a solid base.

Since the disease can manifest as anywhere from so mild you don’t even know you have it all the way up to lethal, there is confusion. We have no idea how many people in the first category are running around, but they greatly skew numbers such as death rate, the thing most of us worry about. The new stuff all points out that their numbers are based on the “number of confirmed cases needing hospitalization” and are not based on the number of people who actually got sick.

And so we vacillate between what is the prudent thing to do and what is the more convenient thing to do. We know we should be careful with contact with others. But … it is so boring to sit at home alone or with just the family. We are social creatures. And while social media is great, it is not a perfect substitute for actual interaction. As we have been saying for quite some time now.

However, there have been amazing stories out there. Selfless people willing to do what needs to be done to get the collective mass of us through this. Some of these are visible. Everyone is thanking the medical professionals. As a former medical professional, I know they are all grateful.

We are a bit less willing to call the cashiers and stock staff at the grocery store heroes. Truckers are our most precious lifeline right now. We live far apart from things here in America. Without transport of goods to our area, we are in trouble. There are so many people who are doing their jobs with grace and aplomb. They are all heroes.

But wait, there’s more. There are people who are sharing their gifts and talents with the world. There are those who are selflessly supporting their friends and acquaintances by various means. Spreading good cheer is necessary. Even if that means just sharing memes. Creating memes is cool, too. There is so much togetherness as we are forced apart. It is fantastic. Humanity is far more humane than the dire news from outlets that only tell the tales of doom and gloom. Each of us is doing stuff that helps our fellow humans.

I personally find this encouraging. We are really mostly good people. Who knew?

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Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a student. I can’t even hope to remember how many times others in class would ask, “Will this be on the test?” It always seemed like a rather stupid question to me. The person at the front of the room, whether a grade school teacher or a college professor, was telling me stuff I should know. I should then, as a concerned student, try to integrate into my knowledge base.

Well, folks, this is the test. Schools are closed and you are stuck at home with your own kids. I sure hope they know how to behave. I hope they know the meaning of the word “no” and they can sit still for at least 45 seconds at a time. Perhaps you, as a parent, have taught them this. Perhaps the schools have managed. But now, here they are.

I keep seeing all my teacher friends (and I have lots of teacher friends) posting how they will help you with helping your kids in this time. But you see, you are an educated adult. You went to school. You went for at least 13 years and maybe longer. Maybe far longer. If you had been paying attention, if you had learned the material rather than just passed the test, you would be in a better position to help your child master the needed information at this time.

You see, it is always on the test. We just don’t know when the test will be given. Life is the test. It throws stuff at us all the time. Are we ready?

“I don’t need algebra!” “I don’t need science!” “I don’t need history!” “I don’t need the arts!”

Yes, you do. I don’t ever use a quadratic equation in my normal life, but I do use algebra. I use it to figure out how many rows I can get out of how many yards of yarn. A is to B as C is to X. And since I know A, B, and C, I can absolutely solve for X. I can figure out how much I’m going to pay when an item is 30% off. Calculating all sorts of stuff is routine, doing taxes is another matter, but they still must be done.

Science is the art of understanding the universe and the ways in which is works. It lets you know that you do NOT need to hoard toilet paper when faced with a respiratory illness because you actually know your ass from your lungs. Science is important. It lets you understand the information and weed out the disinformation that is swirling out there.

History is important because it lets us look at how situations were dealt with in the past. Did this work? Did this fail? Why did it work or fail? How can we invoke the lessons of history into this situational issue and use those answers to devise a workable answer for the current problem? History is what teaches us here.

The arts are important in this situation as well. We need to understand the movements of gym class and how burning up some energy with physical exertion actually gets the kids to sit still for 45 seconds or longer. We need to appreciate the visual arts as we have time to work with color and light and understand why both Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci were able to create such masterpieces with radically different techniques and what that says about our own endeavors in the field. We need music to soothe, to calm, to excite, to delight, and of course – to dance to.

We needed our education. We need to pass on our learning to the next generations. This is truly what makes us human. The ability to transfer more than just routine, but to also pass on the reasoning behind the routines. Why something works is important because it allows some future genius to come up with an even better way.

So, yeah. It will be on the test. This is the test. All the information out there on the big old Information Highway is available for your perusal. Hopefully, you will also be able to approach it with some understanding. And with that deeper understanding, you can help the little people also get smarter and smarter.

Don’t forget to put your names on your papers!

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The world is going crazy. Perhaps I should say the world is going crazier.

There is a virus out there. It is not a very virulent virus. In fact, it is usually quite benign. However, it can make those who are more vulnerable quite sick. There is death out there, but there has always been death out there.

What this virus is doing is spreading like wildfire. Because it isn’t making the hosts (us) very sick, we are ignoring it. Some people have no symptoms at all, so how would you even know you are shedding viruses all over the place? It is allergy season as we turn from winter into spring and all the plants are out there doing their best to make more plants and spreading pollen everywhere. So a sneeze could be virus or it could be pollen and it is all just so confusing.

We like the illusion of safety. We are never safe. The only chance we might have is to be a bit safer, a bit better prepared. But we are not now nor have we ever been 100% safe. There is always chaos. But we feel better if we can assure ourselves that we are at least prepared. Or sorta prepared.

And so … toilet paper. What the hell? We are under threat of a respiratory illness and people are hoarding toilet paper. They are also hoarding paper towels and napkins, I guess in case they run out of toilet paper. I don’t think that is a good idea for toilets, but I’m not a plumber.

The grocery stores are showing bare shelves. Mostly in the paper section, but in other areas as well. The meat section was pretty much ransacked. There were some empty spots in the produce section as well. There were no eggs to be found. People are stocking up in case … what?

I’m always overstocked with way too much stuff in this house. Even though I’m not really worried about running out of food, it is daunting to think that perhaps we could have a supply side shortage of many different items. If too many people in production are too sick (or even dead, although that seems unlikely) to work, then what if shipping is interrupted?

What happens to overseas shipping? We know that international travel is curtailed or banned. So what happens if we can’t import many of the food items we are used to having available? So we hoard. We stock up. We worry.

Part of the worry is caused by an inundation of unreliable information and a dearth of trust due to the many times the authorities and authoritative entities have cried wolf. We have been taught that the catastrophic prophecies of the media are often just click bait at worse or simply erroneous at best. The constant need for “eyes” has made the inflation of news not only usual, but seemingly mandatory. So now, who do we trust? This is the truest catastrophe. We have lost our ability to believe those who are supposed to know. We cannot trust those to whom we look for guidance. The experts have, like the fabled king, lost their clothes.

So, I’m trying not to worry. Although the situation is worrisome. I’m supposed to travel in a couple weeks. I believe it is unbelievably stupid to travel. I refuse to lock myself into a metal tube with God alone knows how many sick people, but I even think a long car ride, stopping here and there, eating out in public (if we can find restaurants open to eat inside), and staying in hotels that are cleaned by minimum wage people who are just as scared as me – all this is exceedingly stupid. Traveling a month later seems less traumatic for me and for my psyche. There is still hope that I won’t be forced to put my health, if not my life, at risk.

Even so, every cough is scary. Every sneeze could be a problem. But it is pollen season. So I try to stay calm in a world that has gone crazy. Or crazier.

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I am blanketed in unrealistic expectations. I realize they are unrealistic, but I expect them anyway. This leads to a bunch, or even a boatload, of problems.

I can do a handstand. I have done them. I will do more in the future. However, just because I have managed one, doesn’t mean I am going to manage them all. That is the unrealistic part of my expectations. I expected that since I had finally done one, I would now magically be able to do them all.

I could not. I faced the wall. I balked. I hesitated. I was consumed by fear. I was terrified, of what in particular I cannot fathom. I mean, what is the worst that could happen? I wouldn’t get a handstand. Hell, I have been not getting a handstand for weeks on end. Still. I was afraid.

The workout was 45 HSPU divided into 21, 15, and 9 rep sets. I had actually done three handstands before this. So, 45 was a bit overly optimistic. But working on some seemed completely possible. I bargained for 5, 3, and 1 but Coach would like to see ten in total. He thought 5, 3, and 2 would be better and I thought 6, 3, and 1 was the way to go. So that’s what I set for myself.

As in most 21, 15, 9 workouts, there was something else in there as the couplet. It is immaterial to this essay. What I was most concerned about was the handstands, without a push-up or anything ridiculous.

The night before, I had pictured myself stepping up to the wall, taking a deep breath, and inverting to a handstand. However, in the gym, faced with the ordeal, I panicked. I froze. I simply stood there in fear.

I tried and failed. I tried again. I stood there terrified. I finally got myself up there, but it was with monumental force. It was not how I thought the day would go. I had this expectation of my own performance that did not match reality. I was dreaming of adequacy. What I got was something a bit less.

I missed and tried and missed and worked on it and sat around in near tears. I was unable to simply do the thing I knew I could do. I was instead, overcome by some unnamed and useless fear. It took several tries and many minutes before I finally got my six.

It took several more tries and many more minutes to get the three. The single one was no easier. I either got handstands, or managed a headstand on a high stack and then actually did the push-up part and got my head free of the abmats with me doing an actual handstand push-up, the harder way, I might add.

And I was simply defeated. I actually did more handstands than the last time I talked about this when I was elated. This time, I was defeated.

What is going on?

The first time I finally managed it, I had no reason to really expect I would. I had been working towards this goal, but it was not yet attained.

For this workout, I knew I could and expected that knowing that I could was all I needed to be able to just step up and move into the handstand without issues. I had issues. Stacks of them. Most of them unnamed and probably unnameable.

I did better and felt worse.

What I wish I could pull off is to step into the gym, look at a WOD, and do it. Instead, what I always have to do is bargain with myself over what part of what is written on the board I can actually do. I have to adjust the movement itself, the weight, the rep scheme, something. Usually, everything.

CrossFit is for everybody, but only in a version of what is up there on the white board. If it was written for someone like me, it would be pitiful for the rest of the folks I work out with. They are, for the most part, young enough to be my children or even grandchildren. They are not hampered by the age old problem of old age. I can do remarkable things. I should be happy with that.

I want, above all, to master this stuff. I know it happens incrementally. I wish there was some magic potion that made me able to perform the way my dreams project, unhampered by the fears my brain sprinkles liberally over those same dreams.

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Perspective matters. Let’s talk about some numbers. Around the world, about 150,000 people die each and every day. That is about 4.5 million deaths globally each month. From all causes, which are legion in number themselves. Heart disease is the biggest killer, overall.

Tuberculosis or TB is the leading infectious disease in the world. Last year, it was estimated that 1.8 billion, that’s with a B, people were infected with TB and about 1.5 million people died of the very treatable disease.

Coronavirus has killed about 3,600 people since it was first discovered in Wuhan, China back on December 10, 2019. In that same time frame, an estimated 375,000 people have died of TB, a known disease with a known cure. That means that for every Coronavirus death, there has been 100+ TB deaths.

The CDC has this to say on their website: The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases.

What that suggests to me is that there are far more cases of the virus out there without people even being sick enough to believe they need to see a doctor. These then are not counted as a base number from which to calculate a mortality rate. Since less than a quarter of the cases is believed to be severe, again based on a not solid number, we really don’t have a good way to know what the hell the mortality rate is. If even half the people with the disease don’t seek medical treatment, then the numbers are simply skewed.

However, there are real consequences of this scary outbreak. People are shutting borders (imagine a country just being able to say they won’t let people in!). The tourist industry is impacted. Global trade is impacted. Idiots in America think a disease starting in China means they can’t have a Mexican beer.

The panic induced is far more deadly than the disease itself. All those people dying of TB and things like malaria and other nasty diseases live in impoverished regions of the world. As the economy recedes or collapses, their resources will be devastated to a much higher degree. Their aid may be lost and their deaths will increase even as they bear the greatest death rate from diseases anyway.

There is, at present no cure for the flu. Any flu. That is because it is caused by a virus. We have antibiotics and none of them actually kill the bacteria. What they do is keep it from multiplying. They work in a variety of ways to stop more bacteria from forming by breaking down the reproduction cycle. Viruses are so small and inept, they cannot reproduce themselves. So they hijack your own cells to do it for them. That is why an antibiotic doesn’t work. We can’t stop all cell reproduction or you would die anyway.

The way to treat a virus is simply to support the human body while it does what it is designed to do. Fight off the offending opportunist. Your body is designed to self regulate and heal. It has systems for this that work pretty good for a variety of things.

The best defense is not to get the damn thing in the first place. The best way to do this is to wash your hands. You should always wash your hands because they go about the day touching stuff, all of which is covered with a wide variety of pathogens. Always. Even if you wipe the stuff off with a quick swipe of the cleaner sheets. Maybe especially if you wipe things off with a quick swipe. You see, that quick swipe killed off the least strong, the least powerful of the pathogens and left the rest to multiply. You are helping the strong grow stronger. That’s why the recommendation is to wash your hands for 20-30 seconds. A quick swipe isn’t effective, for your hands or the handle of the grocery cart.

If you really want to protect your health, eat real food and eschew the junk food items, get plenty of sleep, hydrate adequately even with a Corona, and wash your damn hands.

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