Contagious Planet Earth, Pandemic Era, Day Umpteen Thousand:

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Wendy Hodge

By WENDY HODGE

The world is two years into a medical crisis, and coronavirus is apparently not going away anytime soon. It has mutated and grown and bred fear in the hearts and minds of countless humans. 2022 is only two weeks old, and yet I count myself lucky to have lasted this long without developing Omicron or Flu-rona or even the plague.

Folks around me are coughing and sniffling and sneezing and wheezing. Friends and co-workers and family members have had Covid and the flu and stomach viruses and old-fashioned nasty colds. Every morning I wake up and do an assessment — any coughing, body aches, nasal congestion? Can I smell this coffee or taste this bagel?

“Oh, good,” I tell myself. “I’m still up and running.”

While the thought of being quarantined at home for five to fourteen days sounds like a pleasant staycation, I know enough to be certain that Covid is no picnic. Vaccinated or not, whatever your political beliefs or conspiracy theory tendencies, getting sick is never a vacation.

We arm ourselves with hand sanitizer and face masks and Kleenex, and still germs are everywhere. If you think about it too hard, the world is one large Petrie dish of contagious yucky stuff.

But…

Yawns are also contagious. And so are good belly laughs and giggles that you strain to keep silent because you’re in church. Grins are contagious. Optimism is also contagious. And so is kindness.

The world may be bombarded with death and disease and angry mobs, but it is also chock full of amazing folks who laugh and love and do kind things for others. People still open doors for each other and say “good morning” when they pass in the hallway. Driving down the road, I still get waves from passing cars. And, just the other day, a nice stranger in the car ahead of me paid for my fast food. That always just makes me feel proud to be human.

Planet Earth has Covid, but we also have puppies and county fairs and vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. We have balloons and cinnamon toast and college football. We have Christmas trees and date nights at the movies,
and we have pasta.

We have lost Betty White, but we still have The Golden Girls on demand.

We have Dolly Parton and Wonder Woman. We have Bradley Cooper … let’s face it, that in itself is a gift from the universe.

We have dogs with eyes that see through to our souls. We have slow dancing and deep kissing. We have high fives and standing ovations.

We have books written by authors whose words are like music, and we have stand up comedians and knock-knock jokes.

It’s easy to find people who argue and hate. But it’s also easy to find people who adore each other. Just the other day, I spotted a man and woman walking down the street holding hands. Something about the way they leaned into each other and smiled made me smile right back. Turns out love, too, is contagious.

For the time being, the world will still speak of and worry about germs and vaccinations and standing too close to someone who may or may not be infected. But, as my mother always said, this too shall pass. As for me, I will focus on the puppies and the chocolate … and Bradley Cooper. And on my best friend and all the other people I love so very much.

Stay healthy, everyone. We’re all in this together.

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