All Sorts of Distance and a Different Kind of Bucket List

I know, I’m a couple of weeks late for this party… but there’s a very simple reason for it – I wasn’t going to write this post. Yet here I am, taking it out of that mental bin of posts to never be written. I normally have this funny blog writing process. Something triggers an idea, then at some point of the day I have to drive from one place to another, and during that time my mind runs with that topic. By the time I get to my destination, I also decide whether I’m going to write about that “something” or I discard the idea, rarely going back to it. That’s not an option these days, so that percolating process is no longer in place, leaving me surprisingly uncertain about my writing decisions.

Like so many of you out there, I’m making a conscious effort to control my anger and focus on a positive, creative output as means of coping with the current situation and also of supporting those close to me, yet not close to me. So I stepped back from Tina’s inspiring challenge (Distance), because the dots I was connected weren’t painting too soothing a picture; and I appreciate the people behind the Lens Artists challenges for the positivity and togetherness they inspire. Meanwhile, the distance that was on my mind was not of an uplifting kind…

There’s distance between where we’ve been and where we are. There’s distance between where we are and where we thought we’d be, but especially where we’d like to be.

Physical distance is by far not the worst kind of distance I perceive these days. Disturbing and disruptive as it might be, I can cope with it. But the other sorts or social distance I notice are a lot more upsetting. Sure, they were there all along, I’m not some sort of innocent delicate flower who had no idea about it. But everything feels more intense, more condensed, crueller…

There’s distance between those who want the truth and those who sweep it under the pandemic rug. There’s distance between those who cry out for more testing, not only when symptoms are so obvious, that sometimes the results come after the victims already die; and there’s the prominent political figures who get tested (along with their loved ones) on a daily basis… There are those who get infected while trying to help their patients and are relegated to a hospital ward with the one toilet serving dozens of people. And there’s that one whose duty was to look after that particular county… when he gets sick, he has his own room with a private bathroom all to himself. They may all be in the same hospital, but there could be no greater distance between them. There are those who do everything in their power to find the necessary equipment and there are those making fortunes, speculating and increasing prices to unimaginable levels for what used to cheap, banal products until recently. There are those who try to speak about the dangers they face every day while trying to save others, and there are those who silence them with threats only to preserve the illusion of an effective functional systems. There are those who willingly moved out of their homes only to keep their loved ones safe, and there are those who simply refuse to protect themselves or anyone else. There are those buying everything in sight even when they don’t need to, and there are those left with nothing on the shelf… or worse even, with no financial resources to feed themselves and their families.

Dichotomy is everything, perhaps more so then ever. Or maybe we just have more time to notice it invading every little corner of our lives. And here’s another one of its “brilliant” manifestations. There’s a brand new kind of bucket list trending these days. I honestly hope it’s been going on only in our neck of the woods… Well, if you were thinking that medical personnel are appreciated and revered everywhere, think again. Aside from the countless gestures of appreciation and sincere gratitude, there’s also the bucket list – the neighbours of a nurse treating Covid-19 patients rewarded her efforts by throwing a bucket of chlorine on her door; the owner of a nearby grocery store refused to let her in to do her shopping. Sadly, that was not an isolated incident. There is great distance, it seems, even between what should be complementary thoughts in a person’s head. To me, it should go something like this, “I’m afraid of this virus, of ending up in a hospital, so I should be thankful to anyone willing and able to help me if I need it, risking their own health.” Common sense appears to be somewhere far, far away…

That’s one way of coping with the distance between now and what life used to be until recently, I suppose… but not a healthy, constructive one.

Distance is also unwanted, excessive, inescapable violent proximity for some. While many of us suffer because they cannot be with their loved ones, others abuse their partner and/or children, who cannot even flee somewhere safe…

Like so many others, I spend more time online and in front of the TV, paying attention to the news a lot more than I used to… or should. Clearly social distancing isn’t for everyone… while you see so many creative, inspiring or hilarious ways people find to cope with it, you also see the one who sneaks out of guarded quarantine because she just has to see her boyfriend… or the guy who climbs out of his girlfriend’s apartment when her parents return home…

One thing cannot be denied. Distance does breed creativity, be it constructive or destructive… in some cases, it’s absolutely hilarious. Personally, I loved that video of a person disguised as a rubbish bin running away from the rubbish collectors. And on a local note, since our officials did say we are allowed to walk our pets, let’s not forget the one who was found walking the goldfish, or the one who took the cat for a drive, or the one walking a parrot. It’s clearly a difficult time for dogs, poor creatures. There’s a cute little bichon in the neighbourhood who might not live to see the end of this pandemic – his owners keep taking turns walking him for hours.

To finally answer Tina’s question, aside from reading, writing and small home improvement projects, I use humour to cope with the current situation. Yes, I cannot avoid distance triggered anger, but I try to control it and I use humour as an outlet. I’ve always been this way, and from what I see online, from what I read on social media, many of us react this way. We’re not indifferent or callous, we just need to lighten the mood. We need reasons to smile, and when we cannot find them, we create them. I also check up on the people I care about and inquire about acquaintances, I try to stay connected, as I’m sure most of you are also doing. To that end, I’d like to thank the Lens Artists ladies and their guest bloggers for keeping us connected, inspired and creative at a time we desperately need to be so.

Stay safe, everyone!

26 Replies to “All Sorts of Distance and a Different Kind of Bucket List”

  1. Bravo! You have given words to my thoughts on this pandemic and the reactions to it. There is a chasm of distance between the realities of people’s lives. That chasm has been there for some time but now it is appearing in 3D Panorama right before our eyes. The only distance I would add to your comprehensive list is the disrespect for elders in our society. Where I live the highest number of deaths are in elder homes. It is appalling and so painful to see. I sincerely hope that in some other cultures elders are treated with more respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right about that, it’s a terrible situation. Sadly, it think it’s the same in most of the places… well, at least from what I’ve heard; that’s certainly the case with retirement homes here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you articulated beautifully many people’s concerns. None of us want to get the virus, we’re all grateful for those working on the frontline, this pandemic is bringing out the best in most but, sadly, the worst in a minority.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my goodness Ana, your post was quite powerful. I’m sorry you weren’t in sooner as I think you’d have had more readers. That said, you’ve covered the gamut of emotions perfectly (altho I was shocked and appalled about the poor woman whose door was bleached and wasn’t allowed to shop I’d not heard of any such thing. Horrific. Thank you for putting your heart into this – hoping there are more good, caring people out there than those with evil in their hearts. stay safe and be well

    Liked by 1 person

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