I’m not quick enough to answer my phone, so I wait for the voicemail to complete. My mailbox is full again, so I hear only, ” Trish, this is Kendra. I’m sorry to call you after school hours, but Ma…” and nothing more. I have a premonition. After all, I have just heard the latest, that travel between Europe and the United States will be severely curtailed, that NCAA and other contests will be played with restricted fans.
I had been scheduled to substitute for a teacher at the middle school who was to attend a two-day conference beginning today. When I return Kendra’s call, she confirms what I suspected. The conference has been canceled. At the end of March, I was to fill in for a teacher who was taking a student trip to Italy. Obviously that was postponed two weeks ago.
When people talk about direct and indirect effects of a pandemic, I am honestly hopeful that most of us will only experience the indirect. Judging by these small personal examples, I can see how no one will be unaffected. I trust that those who know are not overreacting, that the choices leaders make do not exacerbate an already fraught situation.
I have a brother who struggles with pulmonary complications. He has had difficulties with breathing for several years and has just recently begun real treatment to improve his quality of life. He is one who should be seriously vigilant, yet when I talk to him, I don’t hear that. Work goes on as usual for him. As an independent contractor, if he doesn’t work he doesn’t get paid, and he needs to get paid. He even chuckles as he tells me that the first case of this novel virus closed the school near where he is currently on site. I worry about him in earnest while others stockpile toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
As we close our telephone conversation, he urges me to reconsider my husband’s and my anticipated trip to a wedding in New Jersey in April. “No one should be getting on a plane right now unless they absolutely have to.” I hear him, but I do wonder what advice he gives himself, and I cross my fingers.
What else can I do?