Kathleen OKeeffe
4 min readApr 15, 2020

As we settle in to the moment, as if in an uncomfortable yoga pose for an extended time, we realize how we need to behave in order simply to function. Whether we are part of a family with kids who all of the sudden need home schooling, or older folks who need to isolate more than anyone in order to protect themselves, or someone like me who is still luckily able to work from home and only have personal interactions via a screen and the occasional chat with a neighbor, from a distance of course. Cue that yoga pose again. The funny part is that you put yourself in that position somewhat willingly, and you have to figure out how to get yourself out of it, sometimes literally when it’s all over. But enduring the pose is the greatest mental challenge. How does your brain cope? Does it scream and yell and carry on, or does it acknowledge the discomfort, package it up, and put it away somewhere? We are all suddenly very uncomfortable together, ironically enough, even as we self-isolate. How do we deal with this individually and collectively? Meanwhile there is so much noise, so much intellectual clutter, so much media/political product to sift through, to organize, when what is at stake is our society as we know it. And in an environment where one side has chosen allegiance to alternative facts, when the truth is as hard and brutal as it can be, what do we do? Four weeks ago did you think that you would have to wait in line to get into a grocery store or that there would be shortages of toilet paper? Or that we’d all be wearing masks to protect ourselves and others as we went about our day? Life comes at you fast.

As we learn to look at statistics and mathematical projections and graphs for days, did you think our society even could stop on a dime like it just did in many places? Life before COVID was downright indulgent comparatively. For those who could afford it, there were daily soy lattes and expensive dinners and lengthy vacations, botox and tummy tucks. There were reliable investments in the stock market that suddenly became anything but. There was a reliable income that didn’t look like it would go anywhere fast until it did. Whole industries will be decimated. The death knell of the American mall is nigh, it was anyway. The cruise industry, the airline industry, just line them up and knock them down like bowling pins. How vulnerable were we?

And then there are those who never had the chance to be indulgent, who operated paycheck to paycheck, weren’t fairly represented in government, or at work, or in society. If they had health insurance at all it…