By Bernie Schmitt
I don’t why everyone’s complaining about staying home.
Isn’t home where we want to be? Isn’t it where we’ve made our beds, where we keep our stuff, and where we hide out from everyone else?
It could be that we just don’t like being told to stay put. Now I can understand the wanting to go to work. We need to work, as we (most of us anyway) need our pay. After all, we have to buy groceries. And toilet paper if we can find it.
I’ve not had a problem staying at home.
The big problem most people in Vincennes experienced this spring wasn’t about the governor’s stay-at-home order or not being able to publicly socialize. The BIG problem for a short time in early April was a lack of electricity. This, more than the stay-at-home order, seemed to be a true deprivation.
I can’t tell you how many times I flipped on the light switch when entering the bathroom when I knew the power was out. There were several times I went to the fridge only to be stopped in my tracks with “Don’t open the fridge!” Reflexive habits showed me how dependent we are on a home humming with electricity.
Dinner? No problem. I was all ready to fire up the barbecue grill, but that meant getting into the fridge for the pork chops. But then we’d need lettuce, BBQ sauce, butter for the potatoes, and … Well, you get the idea. “Don’t open the fridge.”
So, I went to Wendy’s.
So did everyone else in town.
I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait in a line on Sixth Street to get into the drive-up lane at Wendy’s. I had my turn signal on, but still there were impatient drivers speeding past (as if there was anything I could do about it). Soon there were more cars behind me, and others lining up in the Plaza exit, to turn right and wait in the line on Sixth Street. Most of the other fast-food places experienced similar congestion that night.
The storm that swept through Vincennes took most of us by surprise, as we’ve not had such widespread damage and power outages for years. In all my years of living anywhere, I’ve never seen so many trees uprooted. It took a few days and a lot of hard work to repair what a few minutes of wind did to our community. We keep reminding ourselves that it could have been worse.
Indeed. Our days without power cannot compare with the tragedy of tornado-ravaged communities and loss of life throughout the South this spring. We should count our blessings.
That goes for all of us who have thus far remained healthy, and alive, when too many others are suffering from, or have succumbed to, the terrible virus known as COVID-19. There is nothing more frightening than an unseen attacker, and nothing more frustrating than people who argue whether or not it is real. Staying home isn’t that much of a sacrifice.
Of course, all of us want things to get back to normal. For most, I hope, it will mean going back to work. Those who have been able to work at home are fortunate, as too many of our fellow citizens have had to endure plant closures, store closures, restaurant closures and more. We’ve also realized how important a utility broadband Internet is, especially for students.
It’s a shame we’ve had to cancel important milestone events such as graduations from high schools and colleges. Some things just can’t be rescheduled. Yet it’s much more tragic for loved ones to die alone or for there to be funerals without family. Staying at home isn’t as bad as that.
Now that it’s spring, there’s plenty of work to do at home. It’s time to make repairs, time to spruce up the yard, and time to clean out closets, attics and garages. It’s time to do all of those things we talked about in the winter, but excused ourselves because it was, well, winter.
You know this is true.
I’ve been quite busy during this stay-at-home period. I’ve spent a lot of time making educational videos for my students (yes, my bookshelves have been the background), and when school is over I’ve been whittling away at a never-ending “honey-do” list. I’m getting a lot done.
The silver lining in an otherwise terrible situation is that the pandemic has forced a collective “time out” from our fast and furious social lives. Slowing down might be the best medicine ever — as long as we have electricity.