Gently paranoid

It takes a Chinese virus to get me to write again, apparently.

So, basically, my attempts to wean myself off bad habits and onto good ones have failed. I’m trying again.

That was the update.

The current event is the coronavirus. Late February the thought occured to me that this is our time’s Black Death—and oh, heavens, did I feel immediately that that was not a thought I wanted to have! (Bergen, Norway, was hard hit by the plague back when.)

I have always had a safe life. To my great frustration as a child, I was never present for the drama. Example: My grandma was driving us Brownies home and we passed a car accident. We wanted to stop; Grandma refused to and drove on (others were already on the scene, helping). Years later, and many similar episodes like that later, I have come to appreciate not being in the middle of dramatic events; I don’t have the presence of mind to deal correctly with such things.

I try to fight the worry about the spread of the coronavirus by convincing myself that I will not break the pattern of not being in the middle of the drama. I will be on the outside, looking in, as usual.

I have to take a deep breath just from writing that.

Sanity still prevails here, even if reality has gotten weird. I have been fortunate (which is part of the drama avoidance factor):

The company I work for is Danish-owned. The Danish government reacted more quickly to the coronavirus than the Norwegian one did. Example: I was thinking about traveling to Germany for Easter. The Danish Foreign Ministry updated their travel advisory with the message that Germany had the virus, so be cautious. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry had no such travel advisory—until a week later. Anyway, the information we employees were getting was based on Danish advisories. So we were taking precautions early.

And so was Bergen. My city, a popular cruise destination, chose to ban cruise passengers from coming ashore a week before the Norwegian government decided Norway has a problem that needs big attention.

Norway is now finally realizing that what has happened in Northern Italy can happen here. Complacency is a bigger enemy than the virus.

It’s weird, though, suddenly having to sit 3 feet apart in the employee cafeteria, not shake hands, coming to work to see most of the desks empty because co-workers are telecommuting. And the sight last night…! I should have asked if I could take a picture.

So, my employer is letting us take our monitors home to make it easier to work from home. I went back to the office yesterday evening to get one. And walked in on half a dozen cheerful people in white hazmat suits, disinfecting the common areas on my floor. But it was OK to come in.

By the time I left with my monitor, they had moved on to the office area where a coworker who was found to have the coronavirus had worked. Her entire department was sent home.

I’m home today. Thoughts swirling. I was going to telecommute but I’ve decided to just take the day off (got lots of vacation days) and plan my grocery purchases. I need to make room in my freezer, for one thing.

I have to take a few breaths and convince myself that there will be food in the store—and that every little twinge I feel is not The Virus. I am working on focusing on facts, not my fears.

I can’t believe I’m living through this. It’s so weird!

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

9 replies on “Gently paranoid”

It is weird. So weird. The US… shutting down. Sports, travel, Disneyland, schools… it’s mind boggling. And more to come. It also shows you (me) the vast power of those we elect. The governor can take over assets as he chooses ~ forex, he commandeered a hotel for some of the cruise ship peeps. I hadn’t realized this could happen. It makes you (me) more aware than ever of the importance of voting.

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It’s an emergency situation. Norway is calling our preparations the biggest since WWII – which really shows the scope. The government has no choice but to respond to the outbreak and do as much as possible to control it.

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