There is so much craziness—to put it mildly—going on in the world. The pandemic continues, despite Trump saying that “we’re rounding the corner.” As Dr. Jonathan Reiner said on CNN yesterday, We may be ‘Rounding a Corner’ into ‘An Oncoming Train.’ The election is 58 days away and the president is encouraging his supporters to vote twice. The country seems to be getting more polarized by the day. It’s a wonder that we’re all not walking into walls.
by Rebecca Crichton, Seattle, Washington
Recently, I decided I could install my new Amazon Firestick by myself without the help of go-to tech guy. I ordered a new one when my old one suddenly stopped working just as I was about to choose the movie for my regular Saturday night movie experience.
Notice the words ‘Saturday’ and ‘regular.’ I have finally, six months into the pandemic, developed routines that help me navigate this time of no demarcations from day to day, meal to meal, week to week.
I did what I knew to do: I checked the connection from my router to the TV. No change. I changed the battery in the remote. I even Googled how to do that. I was rewarded with comments about their bad design that made it necessary to look up how to change the batteries in a remote!
Let me just admit that I have a history of not understanding some basic scientific principles. Over 60 years ago, I read a James Thurber story about a woman who was afraid of electricity leaking out of wall outlets. I thought, “Well, that makes sense!” I realized it wasn’t true, but really, are we sure it doesn’t?
I ordered a new Firestick, which only cost $30. I decided I could definitely afford it.
When it came, as I reviewed its parts—all familiar to me—and read the instructions. I wandered over to the 3-outlet plug on which my TV, DVD and Firestick are arrayed. I noticed that the adaptor plug for the Firestick had loosened. Pushed in again, my streaming channels all appeared.
I felt the familiar flood of stupidity related to things technical. I remembered hearing a tech guy at Boeing comment on a call that was clearly an ‘I-D-ten-T’ error. That took a moment to decipher: ID10T. Right. Just what it felt like.
I added it to the other things that I have found myself doing, like walking into walls. They haven’t moved as far as I know, but my sense of where they are in relation to where I am has proven less accurate. When I find a new bruise on my hip or upper arm, I figure that’s what happened.
As for days and dates, times and schedules, sometimes it feels like it’s up for grabs. I love hearing from a friend, known for precision, that she showed up twice to meet a friend for coffee and it was the wrong day.
Here’s my reframe: We are all dealing with a spectrum of stressors. Some of us struggle with how to feed ourselves well, others with what actions to take to help with the political situation. Some feel isolated and scared to be with others and are still getting groceries delivered despite running low on money. A few have decided that being outside with others really doesn’t require wearing masks, citing ‘science’ as proof.
And I know that the whole ‘science as proof’ experience feels increasingly fraught. It all depends on who you choose to believe, who you consider a good source for justifying what you do or don’t do.
The guides I trust for managing my own self-talk tend to be psychologists and/or Buddhists. Being both is better and there are a surprising number who fit that bill.
Here’s my current list, which seems to be helping:
Be kind to yourself; develop compassion instead of judgment.
See mistakes as ‘unskillful’ as opposed to ‘wrong.’
Share stories and benefit from the support of others.
As a good friend keeps reminding me: Welcome to Club Human!