Harsh Reality

Going Nowhere, Fast

Three days and copious amounts of vodka later, my head still spins. I thought I could ignore it and move on, escape to a better reality. But there is no escape in quarantine; only isolation.

The race to normalcy started less than a month ago. As work from home suggestions and unnecessary amounts of toilet paper vanished as if into thin air, life as we knew it came to a screeching halt. In my eyes, COVID-19 floored the gas pedal on a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, only to crash and burn faster than the Hindenburg. 

Now, three (four?) weeks in, my world is in disarray; unlike any other personal hardship preceding this locus, I am at a complete standstill.  

I used to revel in the fact that “the only constant in my life is change,” but I forgot to account for global pandemics; something, I assume, most people on this earth forget.

Yet, here I am – here we are – a nation, a continent, a world, facing the same attack for the first time in modern history, in some 40-odd years. At the beginning (which, in the US was early March), I recognized that, all over the globe, no matter where you live, humans (and now some animals) will experience this pandemic.. 

Of all the historic events to occur during my lifetime – 9/11, legalization of gay marriage, first black president, I could go on – COVID-19 is the first I’ve seen that affects the entire world. Everyone in the world shares something in common. Initially, this perplexed me because initially, I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation and how many would suffer from; nor did I expect to be one of them.

At this point I want to close my eyes and forget about my new reality, but all I can see is the Hindenburg collapsing into a burst of flames. Everyone onboard content and grateful for being alive, but in an instant, blind to their fate, bursts into a fit of panic and confusion. That’s how I felt Friday morning, moments before my Hindenburg moment.

Thursday evening, after completing my work day (remotely, obviously) around 7:00 PM, I ate dinner and went to bed, uneasy but extremely grateful for having a job during these “unprecedented times.” 

However, when I tuned in for my Friday morning team meeting, I was blissfully, foolishly, ignoring the harsh reality that unfolded before me. Blind to my fate, I was again reassured and relieved that I still had job security, healthcare benefits, 401K, and an amazing squad of individuals who fiercely motivated each other to succeed; even now.

In a matter of minutes, my confidence dissolved. My positivity instantly melted into the fiery remnants of the Hindenburg. Stunned and lost, I crumbled. Dread and fear coursing through every vein in my body. Like a broken record, the words “terminated effective immediately” continue to echo in my head. The past seven months burned the backs of my eyelids as I overanalyzed every action, every win, every mistake; asking myself what I could have done differently to release myself from the sickening feeling of rejection and failure. But there was and is nothing I could do; the damage was done and the effects are irreversible. Now, moments of relief and peace meld with overwhelming panic and doom; resulting in utter bewilderment that I can’t seem to escape.  

Even days later, I am truly at a loss for words. The only thing currently giving me solace is the thought that I am not alone. We are going through this together, as a country and as a global community; but if Queen Elizabeth believes that, “if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it” then I do too.

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