Will Covid-19 change the way we think, feel and behave?

In times of crisis, prayer is my number one go to.  Number two: booze. These days the order is debatable.  Some clever posts have shown up on social media lately.  One begins: As a result of this crisis, 50% of us will become better cooks. 50% will become alcoholics.

In a recent column, Peggy Noonan wrote about the fact that with so many businesses closed, liquor stores remain open.  “…there isn’t a politician in the country stupid enough to prohibit alcohol in a national crisis.  They may know on some level that no nation in the history of the world has closed both its churches and its liquor stores simultaneously and survived.  Russia after the revolution closed the churches but did its best to keep vodka available because they wanted everyone drunk, which is the only way to get through communism.”

Amen to that.

ONE OF MANY IMAGES OF HOPE! From Left—Granddaughters Lindsay, Camryn and Alexis Farbman visit our lanai to wish us Happy Anniversary at a safe distance. social distance

Friends have been posting gorgeous photos of meals they’ve been making.  I look at them with awe.  Wishing I were at their table.  And I turn back to my crossword puzzle.  Or to whatever I’m reading.

I’m currently reading Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile –perfect for the moment as it deals with another of the worst periods in modern history.  In that case a visible enemy.  It examines 1940-41, years in which France capitulated, Britain suffered constant bombings and Churchill rallied his country (and eventually ours) to face down the Nazis.   After evacuating more than 330,000 Allied soldiers from Dunkirk on whatever vessels could be had, the P.M. used his epic oratory skills to uplift his nation.  .

“…Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war.  If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward onto broad, sunlit uplands.

“But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.  Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and to bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

Even before this pandemic I teared up upon hearing that speech.  As we stay home day after day, witnessing the toll this disease takes, it feels as though we’ve fallen into another abyss.  Hopefully we’ll be saved by an inspired and uplifting science.  By remarkably selfless and brave medical professionals.  And by the fight in which we’re all engaged—staying home, saying prayers, sewing masks, delivering food, donating money.

I wonder about the long-term effects of this pandemic.  What will it do to our values?  Our social consciousness?  To my favorite city in the world: Manhattan?  I read about a stunning new high- rise residential tower in New York.  Deposits were put down months ago on multi-million dollar condos.  A clause lets buyers walk away if the building isn’t finished by a certain date.  That date fast approaches.  Will more and more such buildings stand empty?

Shopping with girlfriends has been one of my favorite sports.  I worry about retail stores and malls, already challenged by Amazon.  Will in-person shopping decline?

Will the current ethos of stay home/stay safe/save money carry over?  Will it change our thinking and spending decisions?  And will that be bad or good?  Will religion and/or spirituality play a bigger role in our lives?   Will we become more altruistic and less self-centered?  Or revert to spending excess and monetary displays?

The free world roared back from the brink after WWII.  But I’m guessing we’ll emerge from this pandemic somehow changed.  More sober.  Less demonstrative—physically and financially.  Less flashy.  I’m a hugger.  My sister, Anne’s, an even bigger hugger.  She hugs strangers on first meeting them.  I hate to think of a hug free world, but casual embraces may be gestures of the past.   Even shaking hands is up for question.

I’d love to hear your thinking.  Will you go on a spending spree post-pandemic or will you rein in?  Will your behavior change?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section of this blog.  Thanks.

Meanwhile, stay safe.  And may we once more move forward unto broad, sunlit uplands.

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21 thoughts on “Will Covid-19 change the way we think, feel and behave?

  1. Suzy Farbman Post author

    as emailed from Zina Kramer
    What a beautiful, sensitive piece. Thank you for making my day better. Virtual Hugs.

  2. Suzy Farbman Post author

    as emailed from Amy Lamb
    What a beautifull written and compassionate essay on our current times.

  3. Karen Raff

    Oh Suzy. Wish we could ALL sit around a cozy fire with hot chocolate in hand — spiked with your favorite alcohol warmer-upper like Bailey’s Irish Cream — and share our isolation stories, strengths and struggles. We moved here from Michigan to New Mexico in early February and were SO very ready, once the boxes were unpacked and the art work hung on the walls, to have our old friends from years ago over to our home and pick up where we left off twenty years ago. But the pandemic intervened and now our reconnecting is by phone call and FaceTime and email. Our family has a weekly call-in via FaceTime on Sunday evenings. We’re in 4 different time zones — Boston, Chicago, Albuquerque and Los Angeles. We start at 5 pm in LA and know it’s 8 pm in Boston. We laugh and share. All our kids are physicians and all are still working. Marika is delivering babies at Rush in Chicago, Evan is reading X-rays and scans in LA, Adam is working from home every day on big Pharma drugs for dermatology. Marika got lonely in Chicago in her tiny studio apartment and rescued a mini-Aussie this past weekend — the pup and Marika need each other these days. I’m relearning Spanish in hopes I’ll leave the confines of the house soon and get to speak it for real with our Hispanic community members. Also, catching up on email letters to friends of old. So many people helped us with this move to New Mexico and I’m wanting the thank each of them with a personal note. I had joined a declutter movement and course offered by Joshua Becker of the “less is more” philosophy just before we were planning to leave Michigan. It helped me downsize our belongings before packing for the move and once we arrived in New Mexico, helped me keep only what would fit in our new downsized home comfortably. Everything that didn’t physically fit or enhance our new lifestyle was donated. This all happened before the shelter in place recommendations — now “orders” — were in place. So we’ve got a cozy home to live in with wonders out each window as spring is trying to gain hold and as I find that I am the beneficiary of the previous owners’ love of gardening and fruit trees. Yes, I now have fruit trees. We are having snow falling right now (on April 13th) and I am needing to go out and cover my trees to protect them from tonight’s expected frost. I guess my challenge during this pandemic is not to concentrate my efforts on “waiting” for it to be over but rather on “doing” or better yet “being” during this long hibernation for the good of one and all. Miss you.

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks again Karen. Impressed by your ability to declutter! A talent I decidedly lack. And by your family’s commitment to the medical professionl.
      Thanks for the newsy comment. Stay safe. xoS

  4. Suzy Farbman Post author

    As emailed from Linda Freeman. This pandemic is not the only game changer for me. I’m in Minn. with my angel-dog Duchess. This is a whole new adventure as I terribly miss my darling Conrad. I came back to watch the magic of the ice leaving the lake and to embrace living alone and mourn. I need to know that “I can do this” and indeed I will. It is just so damn hard. I am finding strength, hope and faith (LOTS of faith) on this journey. In this time many people are finding strength, hope and love. We are in this together. Bless you, my friend. (The Bocelli solo for Easter in Milan lifted my soul.)

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks for commenting, Linda. Sorry I didn’t get to give you a goodbye hug. For that matter, sorry I can’t give anyone but Burton & Fayez hugs right now! You and Conrad were a dynamite team. I know the lake you reference based on a fabulous birthday celebration there many moons ago. We sure have had some fun. God willing, there’s more fun to be had. Take care. Stay safe. God bless.

  5. Suzy Farbman Post author

    As emailed from Gail Schulman: In The Eyes of Darkness, written about 40 years ago, author Dean Koontz even wrote about where a biological weapons accident would happen in Wuhan, China, at the site of a biological weapons facility.

  6. Suzy Farbman Post author

    As emailed from Ginny Beauregard
    Thanks Suzy. I am so hoping the gov of MI will allow greenhouses and nurseries and other places selling live plants to re-open. I consider them more necessary than liquor stores. (Suzy here: To each, her own, Ginny!) Also people staying at home have time to do projects around their houses, and they should be able to purchase supplies.

  7. Suzy Farbman Post author

    As emailed from Sallie Palm: Was reading your blog about liquor stores being open. Liquor stores are run by the state and the governor of PA a few weeks back closed all liquor stores in Pennsylvania. Now there are a few grocery stories that can sell beer and wine but no hard liquor. Then last weekend they were going to do online sales but the site kept crashing!!! So glad not in PA!!! I have some friends trying to find distilleries in PA that deliver! Gotta be creative. Hopefully the online ordering will get better, but people need their liquor after weeks!!!

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      My sympathies to your PA pals, Sallie! Closing liquor stores at a time like this is cruel and unusual punishment! Thanks commenting and for setting the record straight.

  8. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Dearest Brenda and 50+year best shopping buddy: Thanks for the memories and for my most special outfits. Sorry I won’t be able to receive the award from the JVS this month dressed in the outfit we picked out together, but hopefully the event will come off in November and the outfit will shine. THanks for your ceaseless efforts to make this world a better place.

  9. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Dearest Suzy, Shopping with me will definitely continue as one of our favorite sports! Being at home has given me the time to work with one of the most powerful forces for good on our planet: international Girl Scouts/Girl Guides. We are 10 million strong in 150 countries! Out of the many wonderful Goirl Scout programs “Stop the Violence Project” speaks to me as a way to make our world a better place. My hope is to create regulations for showing violent porn and violent gaming that are poisoning our world. I will keep you in the loop as I made progress.

  10. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Responses on FaceBook:
    Carmen McAlister: I think a lot of us will proceed cautiously until they develop a vaccine.
    Sharon Greene-Haggard: Maybe but we forget rapidly
    Diane Sullivan Mahan: What a wonderful opportunity for each of us to reset in an effort to become the best version of ourselves. I am hoping I will come out of this ordeal living a life where I am more conscious of how I spend my energy and where I give my focus. Such a wake up call to not take my many blessings for granted. Definitely feeling a renewed purpose to help others and to live a life that is less egocentric.
    Candy Watson: Yes I think that having had to give up our freedom to go where we want to and to have to search for basic necessities will make me feel more minimalist. I realize more thn ever that my people are who I need– not “stuff.”
    Suzy Farbman: Thanks, gals. Interesting to hear your different perspectives. I’m blessed to have smart and sensitive friends and readers.

  11. Suzy Farbman Post author

    As posted on FB:
    Deenie Hertz Zonder: You posed some interesting and thought provoking issues! I, too, am a hugger and hope that will not have to change as we move through this nightmare. I dont’t think any part of our lives will ever go back to what was. I only hope we all can come through this better than we went into it!
    David Farbman: Fo the first time in my life I’ll straight up admit I have no clue. Could see it going the other way. That said, we all make lemonade or not…
    Linda Ross: It teaches a life lesson on what little we need in reality!
    Suzy Farbman: As I replied on FB– Thanks, FBFs, for the sensitive and thoughtful comments. We’re all being hit hard. Honored to have such insightful readers. And Judy, the poem is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Suzy Farbman Post author

    As posted on FB by Judy Diebolt: It’s prayer, poetry and sauvignon blanc for me. And here’s a little gift, one of my favorite poems:
    Let me imagine that we will come again/when we want to and it will be spring/we will be no older than we ever were/the worn griefs will have eased like the early cloud/through which the morning slowly comes to itself/and the ancient defenses against the dead/will be done with and left to the dead at last/the light will be as it is now in the garden/that we have made here these years together/of our long evenings and astonishment. W.S. Merwin
    Linda Solomon: Beautifully written and inspiring. Thank you. Frankly, I am too frightened to cook. I spend hours organizing my photos, negatives, news stories and boxes from moving. The memories from looking back keep me sane. I found an old checkbook today from college. Reading the ledger made me laugh. I had written a check to my cousin (dorm mate) for $1.25.I have found so many photos I haven’t looked at in years. When i take breaks, I watch the news or read FB and it’s so very sad and frightening. This is why I hide out with my old photos and pray we can all have our freedom to live safely again.
    Carla Schwartz: As always, spot on Suzy. I’m not sure we will feel completely safe until there is a vaccine. I’m going to read the Churchill book next.(Linda Solomon: I agree Carla.)

  13. Suzy Farbman Post author

    As emailed from Tim Jones: lots of cooking going on here. Pea soup and meatballs yesterday, roasted vegetables and leg of lamb today. My wife Sue reminded me that we never had lamb because my mom liked them alive; mom passed about 2 years ago. …Will people find God? I pray for that, but have had complete strangers within minutes of meeting me say “you can’t make people see if they don’t want to.” The oild quip “everyone’s path is different” is uplifting for me. Godsigns: 1. Fumbled around on Amazon last fall and got a case of alcohol when I thought I was buying bottles. (Suzy to Tim: Lucky break. Alcohol’s sold out wherever I look.) 2. Fumbled around on Amazon and got a case of TP in January and another one in February. 3. Lost the key to my safe. Looked for days. No luck. Told Sue I should sell my guns. I love shooting but body’s failing. Told Sue: if God thought I needed that key, I’d find it. Woke up the next morning, found the key, thought Oh Oh. Later at the party store I mentioned to the proprietor how hard it would be to find a buyer I’d be comfortable selling to. He said, “That would be me.” Bam! It would! I’ve gone from saying prayers to keeping God in my thoughts. I literally had it in my calendar to say hi to God every morning.

  14. Suzy Farbman Post author

    AS emailed from Ellen Kahn
    Being sequestered alone is very difficult. I am however grateful for my friendships and my small but wonderful family.
    As posted on FaceBook
    Anne Garlington: Thank you for a great, thought provoking article. I do hope we will ass change for the better, but never want to give up huts!
    Antonina Victor: Beautifully written. What a rousing speechby Churchill. You have clearly given a lot of thought to the current events and how they are affecting us all. The questions you asked require a great deal of thought. Thank you.
    Phoebe Wietzke: Still contemplating, which tells me it is going to change in ways I can’t even imagine.
    Sherry Edwards: I am going to try to live my life the same way to the extent possible. I know my industry (Sherry’s a real estate attorney) is evolving very quickly with evidentiary standards being relaxed (i.e. Zoom hearings, relaxed in-person notary requirements) that I feel will continue to make lawyers more efficient.

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