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What a Difference a Month Can Make

I'll be honest. I can't remember the last time I wrote.

For one thing, I'm not a dedicated blogger so I tend to start a bunch of posts -- usually inspired by some thought which occurs to me whilst out on a dog walk -- then either fail to finish them or neglect to transcribe them in any way in the first place.

So I've been thinking about a bunch of things, but haven't actually been writing about them.

I've also been a bit busy working on my move to Wales, planned for about May/June, which is two to three months from now, as of this writing. It turns out there's quite a lot to do if one wishes to leave one's home and job in one country, then move her entire lifestyle (plus dogs) to another country. Houses and cars and visas and belongings. Moving companies and banks and phone contracts. A lot.

And though I've been nervous about the move, and second-guessing, I've still been pushing through those fears and staying the course. I have all the little pithy sayings posted on notecards all around my house, mostly about fear, to keep me going whenever I start to falter.

Then the world started to fall apart.

I'm speaking (mostly) about COVID, of course. Coronavirus. As of this writing, it's been around for about a month, and ... well, it's taking the world by storm, as they say. There's no toilet paper to be found anywhere. People are being encouraged to not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary. Public gathering places like cinemas and restaurants have shut. And nobody knows when it's going to stop. Every day, it seems, the information changes.

Admittedly, one month is barely time to scrape the surface for the scientific community. To have confidence, we/they have to gather data -- a lot of data from lots of different circumstances -- and then analyze that data calmly and intelligently, before any sort of "conclusion" can be drawn. A global pandemic will take years to fully sort out, though of course we're all eager to learn more, now, immediately.

So then there's also panic. In particular, the stock market loves to panic. So savings are being depleted just as businesses are closing (or scaling back), perpetuating the panic circle.

I don't honestly know if anyone -- least of all me -- will even be around to do a post-game recap. Is this the end of the world? Maybe. Could be, right? Or it may not be the end but it's quite possible lots and lots of people will suffer then die before it slows. Or stops.

So then, needless to say, my own little "Next Thing" plan just seems frivolous. And of course, very very uncertain. One month ago, nobody even really knew we'd all be locked down in our homes. So who knows what will happen two months into the future?

The most logical questions are obvious: Will I even be able to go? Will airlines and governments permit travel into or out of the US & UK? And what about the dogs? Will they be able to fly, or will there be evidence by then that some pets act as fomites or asymptomatic carriers, and quarantines would be imposed?

But there are also more subtle questions: What would I do once I got there? How would I buy a car or open a bank account? If I had to self-quarantine in my flat for two weeks, how would that work with nobody knowing me there, except a friend thirty minutes away (at a time when non-essential travel is prohibited, which isn't happening yet but predicted any day now -- mostly because some people are too stubborn & stupid to adhere to the lesser restrictions and are instead congregating in large groups on beaches and in parks and woodlands)? And would I still have a job, with the reduction in non-essential services? If I lost my job, would I lose my visa & have to leave the country? COULD I leave the country??

And even more subtle: Would it be "better" there, or here? It's well known the NHS is short-staffed and overwhelmed, but so is US healthcare. The UK seems to have a more "all for one, and one for all" attitude about the whole thing (at least as far as I can tell from field reports from my Welsh friend, and from their newspaper's social media feed), whereas the US's size works against it, and every state is sort of on their own. Also, the UK is an island, and one in the midst of a political upheaval of leaving the EU, so who knows what that means for availability of key resources, such as food and medical supplies.

Also, the US has guns. Lots and lots of guns. So if "shit gets real," will we find ourselves in a militia state? Of all the things that frighten me about this situation, that one ranks high on my list: Idiots with guns.

So in a nutshell, I don't really know what's going to happen. Does anyone? But as regards my particular circumstance, I have to say, I'm still preparing as if I'll be allowed to go. Sort of. Maybe.

I'll be honest: I think I'm still going to try to go. If the governments or airlines say otherwise -- or if my job offer is rescinded -- of course, I'll have to back off. But I'm not sure it's going to be "safe" anywhere. Or "better." Maybe. Maybe the wealthy people are packing crates of food and flying their private jets to their private islands in the middle of nowhere to wait it out whilst reading books and eating caviar. But short of that option, I don't see a clear alternative to just living each day, trying to take precautions to be as safe as possible, as if there's a really deadly virus circulating out there, which there is.

But this sure is a different scenario than all the hemming and hawing and philosophical wonderings of former posts, eh? What a difference a month makes.


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