Waiting For Superman: CV Stories, 7 April 2020

A pandemic outbreak as dramatized by Legos.

Starting this week, this newsletter will be publishing your quarantine and coronavirus stories twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These stories are valuable, but four times a week is definitely too much. We will continue to run stories from you about how this is affecting you, your family, your friends … your daily life, every Tuesday and Thursday. (The regular weekly newsletter will continue uninterrupted.) Email me your story at williamfleitch@yahoo.com.

I know initially I said I’d be running these stories on Monday and Wednesday, but I think Tuesday and Thursday is better. Either way: Just twice a week. I hope you are all holding up. If you are wondering whether I have solicited a mask made out of Cardinals-branded material, know that the answer is “yes.”

Today’s stories are about a man struggling with getting his sister and his father to (still) take this seriously, the unique torture of having a five-year relationship end right as a pandemic is beginning and a father whose children are dramatizing this particular moment through Legos. Send me your stories at williamfleitch@yahoo.com.

From Jamie from Baltimore:

My wife and I are fortunate enough that our jobs will ride out this storm. We don't have any kids, so we haven't had to manage the challenges that other parents have gone though. My wife is considered immune compromised, so we are being extra careful. I went 10 days without putting on shoes, so we are happy in our little apartment letting the world try to heal itself.

But for the first time in my life, I am totally speechless when it came to my family. I grew up middle class in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Everyone in my family is college educated and went to decent schools, etc. For some reason my dad and sister, unlike my mother, have taken a very hard right turn into evangelical town. I am not sure that applies here, but it is good to set that upfront.

So my sister lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children, aged six and 12. Before all this went down, they were very close with her husband's family. Family dinners on Sunday, they'd watch the boys a few days a week, etc. All normal close family stuff. But now that COVID-19 has struck … nothing has changed. She is still having family dinners. A cousin had a birthday party last week for the whole family. They still watch the kids twice a week. Her friend just had a baby, and her washer and dryer broke; her friend brings the newborn and her other two teenage kids over to play with my nephews and do laundry, like everything was normal. Apparently her husband thinks this is all nothing at all. It is completely baffling.

I think some people won't get it until it really hits them. I hope they figure it out before then, but there is no talking to them. My mom has tried multiple times. They won't stop what they are doing and don't accept the fact that everyone's lives are at risk.

I kind of have no choice but to let it go. We had a Zoom family call, and they were a little cagey about what they were doing these days. I haven't texted her or anything to see if she was doing anything differently. To be honest: I dropped it. I am just hoping they stay well. I know there isn't much I can do.

From Colin:

With my anxiety regarding the eventual pandemic growing, on the evening of March 1 it was the furthest thing from my mind. A dodgy situation with my then-girlfriend finally came to a head, and by the morning of March 2 our entire five year relationship was unequivocally done. I now found myself needing a place to live. 

That morning I called on a friend, Jonathan, who in all honesty I hadn't been the fairest to for the duration of the relationship. Luckily, inexplicably even, he immediately dropped everything and helped me move out that same afternoon. Jonathan and his fiancee were more than willing to let me stay at their place until I could figure out what I was going to do. Other friends who I had also been distant from reached out and offered to let me stay at their places too, along with any other support they might be able to provide.  Being wrapped up in my own emotional drama and the developing situation with Covid-19 and its impact on the world, this outpouring of support from those I'd neglected for the past few years came as a shock, but in the best way.

Flip flopping between the feelings of inadequacy and betrayal that are inherently associated with the dissolution of a long term relationship, and the fear of a unprecedented pandemic, I would have been completely lost without these friends of mines support.  They were there for me and continue to be in this time of global crisis. Even with this imposition, and the fact that I had been largely absent from their lives for the past four years, they've still welcomed me into their homes and lives again with open arms and hearts.

My parents, who live a few hours away, have been overly supportive and call me frequently, establishing more meaningful conversation than we have ever had my entire adult life. My father and I speak on the phone daily now, for at least 30 minutes. I never envisioned a world where that'd be true, and in a way it is sad that a global pandemic had to be the catalyst, but when this is all over with it is something I could never take for granted again.

With these new lessons embedded within me for life now, I can't wait to embrace my friends and family again. And to tell them all, face to face, just how much they mean to me, through this, through all of it.

From Joe:

My 10-year-old and seven-year-old built this incredible LEGO hospital this weekend. Nice regular entry and exit for the ambulance. Private rooms with beds and seats in each one. A physical therapy center. A drive up pharmacy. Good stuff.

I went back later in the day to check in … and it was transformed to what you see here.

Barricades over the doors. Jail cell doors blocking the rooms.

They told me they had an outbreak of COVID cases.

Guess I should be happy they didn’t erect a makeshift morgue outside?

Send me your stories at williamfleitch@yahoo.com. See you Thursday. Please be safe.

Best,
Will

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