Week Six: Life in the Epicenter of the Coronavirus

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Writing to you from my couch, here in the epicenter of the Coronavirus, in New York City, the far east side of it.

Usually I post my weeks’ experience on a Friday. I’ll do that as well. Today, though, early in the hours of a not sunny Monday morning, I am filled, filled with thoughts, thoughts about what my next meal will be, thoughts about whether I should order more dark chocolate, thoughts about escape. My Governor tells us we’re at half-time.

Here’s what my half-time looks like: I’m unemployed. No paychecks coming in. Many expenses going out.

When you think about fear, maybe you think of snakes or home invasions or riding on a roller coaster. To me, fear is my poverty. To me fear is my powerlessness. To me, fear is my unemployment. I am the daughter of a man who worked until the day his body failed him. I am the daughter of a woman who worked well into her retirement. I am a woman who has no partner to cover her during periods of fallow unemployment. I am a woman with a daughter in college, with no cushion there either, no gofundme raising tuition, none of that. I am a woman who must work, to survive emotionally, to survive financially, to survive period.

As  I ride Cuomo’s half-time, I am thinking about all the people I have met for an hour, who have surveyed my usefulness, who have determined not to employ me. I am thinking of the women who brought me in, not once, but again six months later to discuss an employment opportunity only to hire a woman who graduated college just five years ago. I am thinking of the faceless women and men who have spent an hour of time with me on the phone, never to hear from them again. I am thinking of myself, yes, but I am also thinking about the legions of people who have lost their jobs, who have taken paycuts, who have been furloughed. I am about to become one of 22 million people who are unemployed and I am entering a new paradigm of survival.

I am hoping for compassion in the coming weeks. From those survivors, from those I’ve lost, from those I’m about to find. If not for my friends, for their compassion, for their sensitivity, for their love, I’m not sure I’d be able to form a sentence.

Survival is what’s on my mind.

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