It appears, in the short term, that decisions made by the men and women working at the White House have been made in favor of business. The Decider-in-Chief thinks that by encouraging (bribing) businesses to open, people will leave the safety of their homes, and rush to shop at their local department store to purchase – what?
Thanks to the Decider-in-Chief, we have learned to live with less. We do not need hair extensions and fake nails when are commute is from the bedroom to the bathroom and onto the kitchen and living room. We do not need designer fragrances, French cosmetics, false eyelashes, designer suits, and jewelry when the only people we are seeing and talking with our family (or ourselves).
Before the Decider-in -Chief missed the opportunity to keep COVID 19 offshore he decided to let it wash over the USA like a big tidal wave. Before the Decider-in-Chief shut down America, I actually enjoyed prowling through supermarket aisles, looking for a new and tasty morsel for dinner. I looked forward to attending wine events to find the newest, boldest, most awesome wine to be released from California, New York, Kosovo, France, Italy, and other wine centers waiting in the wings. I eagerly looked forward to exploring the streets and shops of new destinations, finding innovative and creative architecture and design at boutique hotels, and talking with chefs about their newest menu items.
If I ran out of hair spray or nail polish remover, no big deal, I put on a coat, grabbed my mittens and scarf, and ran over to Duane Reade (adding a few packs of chips and pretzels to the marketing mix). Thanks to the Decider-in-Chief, I have to think ahead for every household item. Will I have enough paper towels, bread, jam, lettuce, soap, and laundry detergent to last through the coming week since I may not be able to secure a delivery slot from anyone (from Amazon to Key Foods) for the next two weeks.
Thanks to the Decider-in-Chief I am unable to meet with my Trainer at Crunch, or my Physical Therapists…so – in order to walk again (following my ankle fracture in December), I have to rely on YouTube for everything from medical advice to guidance on how to make the perfect hardboiled egg (the recipe did not work).
The Decider-in-Chief, providing me with unwanted downtime, has enabled me to speak calmly to the nice people still working at Spectrum and Apple. They sound like they are OK with their jobs, and I am thankful that I had someone to talk with today.
Life with Zoom
I can also thank the White House for Zoom meetings. Now I can watch press conferences from the comfort of my living room (while doing my nails to keep myself from being totally bored). Before the shutdown of society, I had to get up, get dressed, get on a bus, subway, or taxi, and spend hours going to and from these events which, more times than not, turned out to be a total waste of time. However, being face -to- face with the panelists did enable me to ask my questions and expect a response (rambling perhaps or off the mark, but at least more than a word salad). Zoom has taken the question option out of my hands and given the power to the convener of the meeting.
Zoom facilitates deceit because it does not provide the opportunity for me to see how many people are actually attending the meeting. The public relations people claim there were dozens, hundreds, thousands…I have no way to determine if this is “fake news.” I also do not know the publications the attendees represent. After listening to a few questions that were accepted by a conference convener, it sounds to me that most of the questions were formed by her 3-year old son while she made breakfast for him as a reward.
Then there is the issue of masks. First the Decider-in-Chief said that we did not need masks. The “flu” would not last very long and the few masks available in the entire United States of America should be reserved for the medical and healthcare professionals on the front lines. I consider myself a patriot, so, as my friends bought surgical masks, and washable masks and disposable masks, I patted myself on the back for being a good citizen; I would not take a mask away from someone who needed it more than I did. OOPS! Came the day of reckoning. Looks like the Decider-in-Chief underestimated the virility of the “flu” and masks needed to be worn. When should they be worn? Occasionally? When I am the bus/subway/taxi/sidewalk/taking a shower??? The PR moved from “whenever” to “always.”
The Decider-in-Chief also promised that the “flu” would disappear with the spring season and would be totally gone as soon as the daffodils poked through the warm soil. It is now warm (77 degrees in Manhattan), I can see daffodils from my bedroom window – while simultaneously reading that millions of people are sick and dying from COVID-19. For the Decider-in-Chief this is just another OOPS.
Let Me Out
Being “out and about” has recently become a privilege rather than a daily activity. Only members of the Decider-in-Chief’s family can take their limousines to their private jets and hide out at their estates in New Jersey or Florida whenever they please. Movie stars, TV pundits, Wall Street tycoons, and other members of the Rich and Famous (infamous) club have no problem jetting around the world to their private islands, chateaux, retreats, to escape the boredom of the quarantine. For the rest of us, we have a choice, continue to live within 1200 sq. feet (or less), or be brave and head out to public spaces. (Oh, I almost forgot, many parks and recreation areas have been closed).
Death by Transit
Without the luxury of private limos, we “citizens” are forced to use public transportation (at least those of us who live in the epicenter of COVID 19). However, the photos of people living on the New York subways make impoverished areas of India and South Africa look like prime real estate.
It is unfortunate that New York has a Mayor who turns a blind eye to the poorest of poor people who have no access to housing, food, showers, toilets…the very basic needs of a human being. He has been happy to gather all the money available for himself and his spouse while ignoring the neediest. Were it not for the constant press conferences called for by the new Acting Chair of the MTA, the men, women and children living on New York subways would have been there until they died and were carted off to the U-Haul trucks currently being used to store dead bodies.
Back to the Future
Will there be a better tomorrow? Historians promise that from their perspective, “this too shall pass.” They recite the bad/terrible days of the Depression and Recession, the various medical emergencies we have successfully overturned (or at least corralled) from SARS to the Nile Virus. Scientists and doctors have found cures or vaccines for Polio, Measles, Small Pox, and even drugs to prolong the lives of people with Aids and Cancer.
It is unfortunate that medical gurus have not found a way to cure narcissism and a significant portion of the political will in Washington DC has bitten from the rotten apple, selling their souls for one more addictive bite from the Candy Man.
OMG. Another Day
I never thought that waking up each morning without a cough or a fever would be considered a “blessed day.” I never thought I would look forward to seeing my dentist, or my dental hygienist. I never thought that I would worry about my medical care…of course, my doctor would see me, talk with me on the telephone, contact the pharmacy. I would get my drugs, sleep for a few days, and be as good as new. I never thought that a trip to the laundry would become a major event – from gloves, to mask, to cleaning materials, hoping not to have to share the elevator with my neighbors, even leaning against a wall or turning a doorknob could lead to my death.
I continue to hope that these days/weeks/months/years – are just one bad and amazingly long nightmare as reality is really too difficult and complex to understand…but I am trying. I recently attended two Zoom press conferences designed and produced by WHO (World Health Organization). The Decider-in-Chief plans to stop contributing to the organization, and it appears that other countries are (at least) considering their relationship to this global agency.
I have become fascinated with what they do (and do not do), as well as the interests and political focus of the group. Although I have submitted questions at Zoom events, my questions have been ignored in “real-time.” I have subsequently submitted them in writing and sent via email. I was assured that I would get a response to my first questions on Friday, May 1 (today in May 3 and I have no email from WHO). I submitted additional questions on Friday (after reminding PR that I was still waiting for answers) – and eagerly scan my inbox to see if there are any signs of life (and integrity) alive and well at WHO.
I will continue to pursue WHO. I am trying to determine, exactly who is who at WHO. Does this organization have an agenda beyond what appears on their website that includes: preparing for emergencies by identifying, mitigating and managing risks; preventing emergencies and supporting the development of tools necessary during outbreaks; detecting and responding to acute health emergencies and supporting delivery of essential health services in fragile settings.
It looks to me that the WHO has not lived up to its own public relations. Will this change? Will a global spotlight on this agency, with a budget for 2020-2021 of $4.8 billion (or $2.4 billion per year), actually become transparent in its activities, and take ownership of what it has and has not accomplished and provided concrete and detailed plans of what it will do in the future? Time will tell…Stay tuned.