Social Distancing, Covid-19, & Gratitude

The photo in this article may not be a big fat lie, but it doesn’t really make sense either. But there is good reason for the almost lie. Not long ago I was reminded of copyright laws we must all adhere to. With this in mind, I pledged only to use photos I took with my own hands. The photo for this article was taken about ten days ago while my wife and I practiced some social distancing exploring the swamp in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Preserve in South Georgia. We had a great time and could not have distanced ourselves any better away from everything. The coronavirus, and those dealing with it, were well behind us.

The politicians, bless their hearts, are doing their best to do their best. Corporate Captains are navigating new waters in the attempt of serving the best interests of the stockholders, customers, and employees, and the news media is one hot steaming mess trying to report the news, which is sometimes driven by opinion, and changes by the minute. We see them on the television. Solemn, all projecting the aura of ‘soldiering on’, and each feeling the weight of duty of their occupation.

These are the people we see every day. Many being dedicated enough to their professions to continue their work from home. But what about those we don’t see on our television who can’t work from home? In many cases, we need them even more than those we do see on TV, but they are not the ‘face’ of the crisis to us. Let us take a moment to talk about these behind the scenes people. Number one on the list is easy.

First Responders

These are people who can’t work from home. They include law enforcement of various types, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, rescuers, and military personnel. That isn’t a complete list, but those are the most well-known.

How about those who are not so well known? In thinking of a complete list of first responders, think of anyone who would show up if you made a phone call reporting anything from a downed powerline, missing boater, disabled automobile in traffic, to a rabid animal. It is a big list of people who have the burden of showing up at a time and place when things are bad, and people are at their worst.

Medical Anyone

I get it, doctors and nurses in hospitals sacrifice more than most. They put themselves in harm’s way and don’t have a job; they have a vocation. They make sacrifices most of us would not make, and are not home with their families when many of us are. The work is exhausting and sometimes thankless. But there are more than just doctors and nurses that make things tick. Think of all it takes to run a hospital. There are certified nurse’s assistants and patient care technicians, patient transport personnel, maintenance, janitorial staff, and hospital logistics and supply, to mention just a few. All of them have to show up for work to make sustainable care possible. And let us not forget the first line of defense for many of us, our family doctor’s office, which is often the initial triage of judging whether a trip to the hospital is needed. As with first responders, the ‘Medical Anyone’ list is darn big.

Supermarkets, Pharmacies, & Other Retail Stars

Most of us have basic needs to live if we would be honest with ourselves. We feel like we need a good number of things to make life bearable, but we don’t. It is only in the long term we must get higher on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ladder closer to self-actualization. For shorter periods measured in lower single-digit months, our needs are modest. Two of the things we do need are food, and many of us, medication. Yes, there are those with enough land, knowhow, and resources; they can produce much of their food with no help. For us city dwellers keeping livestock such as chickens, cows, and pigs is problematic. We hunt and forage in the supermarket, and since I wouldn’t know what tree bark to chew for medicinal purposes, I go to the pharmacy. To get to either, I need fuel.
Retail makes all those things possible for me. While it isn’t reasonable to expect retail staff to crew their stations while the world burns around them, I sure am grateful they are dedicated and thoughtful enough to get up every day and go to work when so many are not.

Supply Chain Everyone

Everyone cited in the article has my gratitude and respect. One of the closest to my heart is all the supply chain heroes that make almost everything possible. For things not available in our own country, mariners and aircrews man the vessels and planes to bring those things to us. For large amounts of goods within our continent, railroad workers keep the steel wheels turning, and if a truck doesn’t bring it to us, it does not get brought. Making all of it happen are countless and nameless people who put their shoulders down and keep pushing. They work at sea, they work in ports, behind the steering wheel, in rail yards, trans-loading warehouses, air traffic control towers, and behind two or three computer monitors routing it all. The supply chain is what keeps retailers able to sell us goods, and the medical industry stocked with needed consumables. If it is available to bring and the government will let it, the supply chain will keep bringing it.

I know I have not included all the unsung heroes whose work has allowed me to sit at home and type this article. I have electricity to run my world, food to eat and water to drink, the ability to buy what I need, and the fuel to drive to get it. I marvel at the dedication of those who keep pushing. Under the circumstances, that’s hard to complain about, but I hear those who do complain. For me, the things and people I have written about are easy for me to be grateful for, even though some people are not.

To the people who only cite the inconveniences, try turning off your electricity, not purchasing anything retail, and not using the products and services available to us. All those things are not a ‘right’ because we exist; they are seen as necessary enough others sacrifice to help ensure we have them.