- Natalie Symons
Christmas in April
Today was the first time in these last sad, strange weeks that I did not look at any news. I figure I know enough and if it’s that important, Jim will tell me, or Bed Bath & Beyond will send me an email. And then a few hours ago, I got a text from my mother with a link titled: “Just Breathing and Talking Could Spread the Virus.” Needless to say, I didn’t open the link because that’s where I draw the line—I’ll wash my hands and practice social distancing, but I downright refuse to stop breathing.
My point is that for some people, especially people who battle with anxiety and depression, this crisis is more dangerous than one might think. I’ve spent the last few weeks festering in a storm of dread, panic and existential gloom, while I compulsively google things along the lines of: “How many people died in Italy today?” And “Does Interstitial Cystitis equate to immune compromised?” (Now to be fair, when I googled: “Florida hot spots,” I got a picture of a dog in Orlando licking a bald spot on his hind quarters.)
To escape the black hole of news stories, I pop over to my Instagram feed, where I’m bombarded with pictures of my smiling, resilient, super-productive friends who are live-streaming candle-lit meditations, cooking nutritious meals, and having nightly Zoom happy hours. Oh gee, the only thing I’ve managed to zoom is back and forth between my bed and the kitchen to fetch another bag of something made by Frito-Lay. But today is a good day, friends. I showered. I only had one alcoholic drink before noon. And above all, I did not look at any news! Call it self-preservation or call it denial, but I’m abstaining folks, because the media is just as deadly right now as any virus. To demonstrate just how fierce my new commitment to denial actually is, I put up the little tree that I bought at Target a few years ago to celebrate Christmas. In April. I might even hang the stockings and leave a note for Santa.