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Strange World

COVID-19 Shelter In Place Day Six

As a writer, I spend hours slipping into the heads of others. Trying to figure out how someone else would think and what they’d do when challenged by life.

I try to imagine how life would be in a different world. What would they eat? How would they live? What would be their societal problems?

It’s not easy but readers are willing to suspend their disbelief – to a point.

For example, if we’re writing about a world filled with magic and dragons or human/animal hybrids, the idea that the language would be the same as ours is a bit far fetched. However, unless you’re Tolkien you don’t create an entire new language and even he knew not to write his books in that language.

But people suspend their disbelief on these little details in order to emerge themselves in the story.

With this semi-apocalyptic world we all find ourselves in, there are many things that authors guessed right — empty grocery store aisles, staying at home, hospitals overrun, etc — but no one predicted the run on toilet paper.

It was too far fetched. Too unbelievable.

If someone had written that, readers would’ve been like – “What? Why? No. I’m not buying that. This virus isn’t like dysentery.”

The TP outage was unimaginable. Illogical.

This next one wasn’t but I don’t think anyone predicted it either. I, at least, don’t recall seeing it in any post-apocalyptic books or movies.

But to get to that point, I need to tell you a true story.

COVID-19 hit home a little too close last night.

My brother and his family have been quarantined for a little over a week. His wife and daughters were sick. He was not.

His oldest daughter was getting over it but his youngest was getting worse.

They tried to take them to the doctor when their fevers first started but were told to stay home and quarantine themselves.

Yesterday, his youngest daughter (she’s one) was just too sick for them to continue to do nothing. So they called and after answering numerous questions about symptoms they were told that they’d get a call back.

They waited.

And waited.

For hours while their baby was sick.

Finally, his wife called the hospital and talked to a RN who told her to take the baby to the emergency room.

It was a scary night for all of us, especially them. Their daughter is so little. Not just because she’s one but she was bore premature and she is still so tiny.

The hospital ran just about every test but the one for COVID-19. I get that. They needed to rule out everything else, plus they could get results from the other tests right away.

She has strep throat.

We were so relieved and happy. I know the relief just washed through my body. I can only imagine how my brother and his wife felt.

But it’s a strange world we live in when a diagnosis of strep is a good thing.

The relief in a bad diagnosis because it wasn’t the worse diagnosis was predictable but many, if not all of us, never imagined it.

We will now.

This virus has opened doors for fiction. It’s given us experiences that we had only imagined.(I’m not pro-Coronavirus, but I do believe in using what I’ve learned — good and bad). It’s forged a new path in my brain of how folks might feel if they are quarantined, sick and scared. It’s also made the unbelievable acceptable.

What do I mean?

From now on if there’s a book about an apocalyptic event the author can imagine a run on shoelaces or carrots or spray paint and bubble gum and folks will be like, “I guess. During COVID-19 people did buy a ton of toilet paper.”

Take care and stay safe out there.

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