Covid Series: The World Needs More Collaboration

Asheville, North Carolina

Oh baby covid! You are shaking and rattling life as we know it.

These days, it is best to pee in a bottle in your car. You can’t trust gas station restrooms- they are disease ridden! For some van life/car life people, peeing in a bottle is a typical every day occurrence. We call on you dirtbags to teach the soft, society socialites the new way.

Asheville is on a “stay at home” order which means everyone is at the park laying on blankets, riding their bikes, mowing their lawn and sitting on their front porches.

I read somewhere that having some states on lock down and others not is like having a peeing section in a pool. This shit will keep spreading. Why not order a national lock down so we can stop the virus and move on? The government is failing to be efficient and effective, oh no! We are so let down! Usually the government takes great care of us.

Quarantined at your home is like being told “GO TO TIME OUT IN YOUR ROOM!”… with all of your toys, books, your bed and stuff you like. I do not mind so much. I do not care that bars and restaurants are closed.

I’m happy at home. Every day I feel like I run out of time to do the things I love- write, walk, hula hoop, paint, play board games, make an apple bong and eat it, read, ride my bicycle, juggle, and watch the occasional documentary. Boredom has not hit me and I don’t expect it to.

The World Needs to QUESTION EVERYTHING.

The word “quarantine” evokes fear- for both the individual quarantined and the gatekeeper.  The individual fears their loss of freedom, loss of connection to others, loss of choice, loss of mobility perhaps, but above all: fear of themselves.  What will I do by myself in time time? Will I be productive, lazy, or go off the deep end? Can I trust myself alone? Am I infected? Am I a danger to others?

The gatekeeper fears the individual. Will they infect me? What if they try to escape, will I have to wrangle them back in?  Will they hurt me if I try to control them? Ultimately, the gatekeeper fears itself. Am I the villain with the key? Am I locking an innocent victim away? I never wanted to be the warden.

At first I thought, what the fuck is everyone freaking out about?  The overreaction is worse than the virus itself.

Doubt set in.  

Am I underreacting?  Surely this kind of response can’t be related to a virus.  Ebola broke out and schools stayed open. A flu like virus is canceling events months ahead of time, no fucking way!  I was shocked. What am I missing here? 

More doubt set in.  The Lonely Island taught me YOU CAN’T TRUST THE SYSTEM.

What is the government hiding this time? Did aliens invade looking exactly like humans carrying the deadly covid? Are they trying to conceal a zombie outbreak?  Is the invisible thing from Bird Box floating around? 

Is this outbreak actually a side effect from eating Tide pods?

Are climate scientists behind this? Let’s release a virus to decrease the population.  Everybody turn off your damn lights for a few weeks, stop driving, halt production, let Earth take a goddamn breath!   

How many people are using this pandemic as a way to break up with someone? “Oh, whelp…the government says we can’t hangout anymore.”

Are others not breaking up with someone because they want to have quarantine sex?

Did employees of Charmin Ultra get paid to hoard toilet paper so the public was led to believe it’s running out?  How much money is Charmin ringing in from this crisis? How many more trees are being cut down to produce more TP?

Are people boofing hand sanitizer?

Will people start to riot if a national rent freeze doesn’t happen? Will riots break out when people are expected to go back to work, but want to keep working from home?

The government is going to pay me to stay at home and “look for a job”?

How many children are being conceived right now from random quarantine sex? Like the Baby Boomers after WWII, will the next generation be the Covid Kids? Corona Kids?

In an unrelated note, should we all be bleaching our assholes right now?

What would happen if the internet shut off? What would people do with their time?

Is now a good time for our society to accept women pulling their pants down and squatting in a bush to pee as a normal and okay thing?

How many women and men are letting their hair grow out without the social obligation of leaving their house? Will there be a surge of buying razors and Nair when the quarantine is over?

What will happen to the recreation and tourism industry? I was one day away from starting a new guide job as a backpacker. People started canceling their trips, so they laid off guides and the season itself may not happen.

Will we see an influx of trip registration as everyone who has been cooped up in their houses become desperate for an outdoor adventure?

Will summer camps run? Will parents be so tired of their kids at home they sign them up for multiple weeks of camp? Is camp a dangerous place to be- living in community and using communal spaces?

Will the thru-hiking community stay off the PCT, AT, CDT? How will the trail rejuvenate from a year of no visitors? What if we installed a “1 year trail rest” where no on one hikes every 10 years to reduce impact?

What if quarantine is really good for us as humans? Do we need to slow down? What if we had one day a month where everything is closed, no events are planned, no travel is permitted, and no electricity is used to allow ourselves and the earth to rest.

Is our society capable of change? Will we miss being quarantined?

Will our society come out of this with an emphasis on self care, spending quality time with their loved ones, and going outside?

Will people remember this? How long with the gratitude last when we are able to gather socially again? Will values change and realign?

What does this mean for our Earth? Is Earth healing? Are the overcrowded trails taking a breather? How little and big of an impact is our absence having on natural spaces?

In the future, will our society put more value on accessible outdoor spaces and protection of our natural world?

The idea that cocaine protects against Covid-19 was first propositioned on Twitter. The original tweet gained so much momentum that the French Government were forced to comment, confirming in no uncertain terms that: ‘No, cocaine does not protect against COVID-19’.

https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/a31892113/coronavirus-conspiracy-theories/

That’s what the government wants us to think!

The World Needs More Mindfulness

“If I could give anyone advice of how to be mindful right now, it would be to count your squares.”

My roommate insists I count how many squares of toilet paper I use. 

However, I have challenged myself to other bathroom mindful activities.  I do not do anything on the toilet now. Does this sound easy to you?

I was born a fidgeter and I love to multi-task.  While peeing, I engage in many activities: I pull the toilet paper from the wall, get it all scrunched up into a ball and ready to use at least 30 seconds before I’m done. I scroll through my phone, using this bowel movement as a chance to be productive and delete emails. I read the back of shampoo bottles and judge the sustainability of the ingredients used. I flip through the pages of the joke and puzzle book we keep on the back of the toilet, which inevitably extends my time in the bathroom long after I’m done. I change my shirt, my socks, and my pants if needed. I brush my teeth on the toilet. I’ve drank a beer on the toilet, and when I was a kid, I thought if you sat on the toilet while drinking water, pee would flow into the bowl continuously.

I do all of these things because ultimately, I view the bathroom as an interruption to my day. My bladder and poop schedule is out of my control- it interrupts the activities I am doing. It is (was?) perceived as an inconvenience.

Thanks to baby covid, I am learning to appreciate my time on the toilet.

I am taking this time to focus on Toilet Thoughts, where all great ideas were born. Mark Zuckerberg realized he had no idea what his friends were up to when he was sitting on the toilet. Thus, the idea of Facebook was born. Betsy Ross fell asleep on the toilet and dreamed of a flag. When Mark Twain mindfully listened to the toilet bowl flush, he was reminded of the Mississippi River. And when he realized he clogged the toilet, instead of saying “fuck!” he accidentally said “huck!”

Toilet Thoughts are waiting for us.

We must sit there, stare at the wall and DO NOTHING else if we are interested in walking the path to greatness.

Surely I will come out of this quarantine a better version of myself.

The World Needs More Neighborly Connections

This pandemic has put into perspective for me how important our home life is to our well being. In the recent weeks, my roommates and I have poured love into our house. The three of us moved from California to Asheville in January, and only now (April) is it starting to feel like a home.

My goal has been simple: make the space of my life as sacred as possible.

I rearranged my room three times. I created a small meditation table in the corner. I moved my desk for writing next to the window so when I look up from my notebook or computer, I see trees instead of a wall. The bed is now facing this desk and meditation table instead of the door. When I wake up, my first thought is either to meditate or write, instead of get up, walk out of my room and see what my roommates are up to.

The more you bring your environment alive with sacred thoughts and feelings, the more you will feel spiritually connected.

Wayne W. Dyer in Manifest Your Destiny

My roommates rearranged the entire basement, which we call the Cat Cave. The sofas now sit in front of the garage door, which we open to look outside and feel the breeze while we read or eat breakfast. Cat’s art studio moved from the middle of the room to the corner, now with organized shelves and ample table space.

We have a porch, an empty porch. No one spent any time on it until I decorated it with lights and tapestries. It is now a movement space for my yoga mat, hula hoops and dancing. I went from spending zero minutes on the porch in two months to spending multiple hours a day on the porch in one week.

The porch decoration has led to more connection with my neighbors. Two weeks ago, I didn’t know any of their names.  Now, they have turned into friends who look out for us.

“We have a full pantry full of food if you need.”

“We have an extra grill, do you want one?”

“Here, take this succulent.  Put it in some soil and it’ll grow.”

“What’s your diet? We made burgers and veggie burgers.”

They have an 8 year old son with blue hair who thinks the world needs more people.

“I don’t want all of these people dyin,” he said, shaking his head.

He likes to pretend there are rattlesnakes in the bushes and plays with hula hoops with me. Some days I teach him tricks, other days we see how high up in the air we can throw the hoops and catch them.  Other days we take to yelling at the cows across the street.  

“Hey cows!”

“Moo!”

“Come over here cows!”

“I use this to get the cows attention,” he said while waving a tattered American Flag on a stick frantically.  He tried to convince me the flag was from 1865. Five minutes later he forgot and told me he got it at the beach for $8.

“Thank you for playing with him,” his parents tell me repeatedly.  They baked us peanut butter cookies and he colored a handmade thank you card for me.

My heart is warmer by this connection. I feel safe in my yard and on the porch.

They are role models of how friendly neighbors can impact your well being and improve your quality of life.

The World Needs More Collaboration

What the world needs now is collaboration.

How can we collaborate in a time of isolation and separation?

We need to share our knowledge across borders. We need to research solutions together, regardless of language barriers. We need to share resources: medical supplies and medical professionals are rushing to the states most affected.

We need to share support. We need to reach out to those affected: the homeless, the sick, the widowed, the unemployed, the lawmakers, the essential workers. We need to reach out to everyone, no one is unaffected.

We need to nurture within us an emphatic and compassionate patience.

We need to share our experiences with each other. The power of storytelling and active listening cultivates empathy.

I began reaching out virtually to my worldwide pals and asking them to write to me. I asked them “how is this virus affecting your life and what do you think the world needs more of?”

I have recorded the responses here.

My heart has been gutted, lifted, warmed, and inspired by reading these accounts.

What sticks out most to me are the similarities between people’s experiences across the country and around the globe. Many of us have been uprooted. Our travel plans have been canceled, we cannot hug our loved ones, we are worried about our families, friends and self. We are spending more time on the internet and hanging out virtually. We are all doing our best to adjust.

The idea of oneness is present on my mind.

In this time it’s important to filter what we thoughts we are acting on to stay positive. I prefer to use the phrase “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing.”

On the trails I have noticed more closeness. I have seen and participated in stepping several feet off the trail and allowing others to pass. Instead of averting our eyes, we talk.

We thank each other for giving space, we ask how the other is doing and really mean it. I have noticed people really answer this question (instead of “good”), they talk about isolation. They talk about health and their friends and family. When we part, people say “stay healthy” or “nice talking to you” and “have a great hike.”

Perhaps isolation has created more gratitude for simple conversation.

Since quarantine, I have had more meaningful conversations with both strangers and friends. The number of phone calls, zoom meetings, emails, texts and voicemails are overwhelming and appreciated. The quality of connection has been shocking to me.

In quarantine, we can find ways to connect and collaborate.

A huge thank you to everyone who has reached out and written to me. I am still accepting submissions if you are interested in writing, contact me.

Read the collaborative covid stories here.

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One Comment on “Covid Series: The World Needs More Collaboration

  1. Pingback: What Does The World Need More Of? A Covid Series – Empathic Adventurers

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