My husband decided to buy a new dishwasher — ours was over 15 years old and it came with the house when we bought it second-hand (yet only 6 months old) from the second owners — so he stayed home this morning while I was first keyholder in to The Place Where I Work to open everything up.

Speaking to my colleague the principal, she announced her dentist (whom she saw the afternoon before due to a major tooth issue) was decked up the nines in personal protective equipment (PPE). His wife, an anaesthesiologist, is paranoid about COVID-19, he claimed, so to allay her fears, he was going overboard with the PPE. The principal described how her dentist put some special shield over her with two holes for the dentist’s arms and hands to poke through to work, and how over-the-top she felt this was.

But, she mentioned at the end, her dentist told her that while not all dentists were going this far with PPE yet, he felt there would never be a vaccine or treatment, and this was the way were going to live for the foreseeable future.

I said, quite frankly, I didn’t think I could live my life like that for the next 10, 20, how many ever years I still have left in my life. And, honestly, that was the truth.

Later, my colleague in my own department and the other owner were talking — and this was all within the same hour or so — and our other owner had been listening to a news broadcast with “a known doomsayer” in his words (more or less) where the doomsayer also said this is the new reality we will have to live with for the rest of our lives, because there’s no immunisation for the common cold (which is also a coronavirus) so there won’t be one for COVID-19 either.

I don’t know the answer, to be honest, and I’m not a scientist. I honestly think we are too early into this pandemic to know much of anything for certain, judging by the news and all the stranger symptoms and reactions coming from this virus in recent weeks. COVID toes. Blood clotting in random places. Strokes in seemingly healthy young people. Organ failure. Kawasaki-type disease in young children.

What I do know is this.

And, disclaimer, it might sound entitled, or privileged, or spoiled, or whatever, but it is the way I do feel.

There is no way I can deal with not visiting my family and friends in the States for any prolonged period of time.

The mere thought of being separated half a world away as years, even a decade or two, rolls by, fills me with absolute dread. And I can’t face it. I really can’t.

I also have a real fear of taking my chances, going to visit my family, and finding out I have picked up the virus and infecting them all without knowing it. And that fills me with panic as well. I would never, in a million years, want to hurt them, knowingly or accidentally. That too would be something I couldn’t face.

So where to go from here?

I guess with the uncertainty of not knowing exactly what’s going on with the virus itself and the ways it can infect humans, it is still early days yet. And that goes for travelling too. Time will tell.

Right now, I don’t know how much I can dwell on it without depressing myself or making myself anxious. Take each day at a time. One foot in front of the other. Like I have done throughout my life.

Again, New Zealand has no new COVID-19 cases today. A few more people have recovered, and there is now only 1 person in hospital, not critical. People are feeling more sure of themselves and are quietly optimistic of the country’s future as a relative safe haven, for now, from this virus and the pandemic it has caused and is causing around the world.

Who knows what the future brings for any of us?

But, for now, I urge you all to stay safe, stay in your bubble, wash your hands a lot, and be kind.

Writer, blogger, actor, reader, singer, liberal, German, American, Kiwi, gay, Caucasian, educational administrator.

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