EDITORIAL: A time to think, a time to plan

March 20, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

BY MARCY SHORTUSE – Did you ever think things would get this crazy? Just a couple of weeks ago we were worried about things that seem so inconsequential now. Whether you believe this virus threat is real or not (and many people don’t), it is affecting your daily life in a very big way.
My first word of caution to everyone reading this is to slow down, take a breath, and appreciate what is good in your life. If you stay buried in news reports, television and rampant speculation from your peers you will subconsciously drown in the negativity and fear. Just listen to the people with multiple medical degrees. Listen to your own doctor. Stop looking at horror stories from other countries.
Speculation on what is to come and what this whole thing really is, not to mention how many people it will
make sick or kill, is not worth it unless you’re working on the cure in your basement. We know what we should do – stay out of public venues as much as possible, keep our hands clean and don’t touch our faces, stay away
from sick people. If you can stay home, do it. If you have to go to work, keep your area clean. We all know the
drill by now.
If you’d rather listen to the internet babble than healthcare professionals because you think it’s all a conspir- acy, keep that crazy to yourself … we’re all stocked up over here.
Here are a couple of ideas I’ve had that might make sense to you:
• Keep your cell phone safe. Even though it can be the devil sometimes, right now it’s really important you have access to up-to-the-minute emergency alerts and phone calls. Don’t take it to the beach without a protective cover, don’t let your two-year-old grandson play with it. Your cell phone is your lifeline these days, especially if you don’t have a home computer. Keep it safe, because in days to come if the craziness continues you might not be able to pop to the store and get another one.
• Buy a water filter for your spigot or keep an open pitcher in your fridge. Yes, our water in some places tastes terrible. Chlorine is no one’s friend when it’s in a drinking glass. You can buy a pitcher that filters the water, put one on your tap, or simply put tap water in the fridge in an open container for 24 hours and let some of that chlorine get released into the air. Heck, many of my friends drink straight from the tap, so I guess you can
eventually get used to the taste.
I know it’s much easier to do that than to spend $5 to $7 every other day on bottled water, and if it’s all sold
out in the store or you can’t get to a store, be prepared.
That leads me into my next tip …
• Use less, eat less, drink more water. As a society we have become accustomed to big meals and a never-ending supply of goods from the store. This isn’t a hurricane we’re dealing with here … it won’t be over in a
week or two. We might be in this for the long haul, and supplies might be spotty for quite some time. I’m hoping all the hoarders will eventually cease their hoarding as their homes become full, floor-to-ceiling with toilet paper, baby wipes and loaves of bread. For right now, though, you need to be sparing with the size of your meals and the amount you spend. The average American eats far more than they need to every day, anyway. Turn this into an opportunity to make a lifestyle change.
Water fills you up. Many times when you think you’re hungry, you’re really just thirsty. If you feel like snacking, try a glass of water instead.
• Check on your elderly neighbors. The crowds at the store are crazy right now, even scary. If you ask me,
stores should have special senior hours for those who can’t get around as well, or need a little more help.
Ask your neighbors if you can go to the store for them, or ask them if they need someone to stand in the pre-
scription line for them. While they sit nearby in the store, you can be their placeholder. Sometimes they just need a “bodyguard,” so to speak, as a confidence booster. See if they want to ride along with you.
The funny is, when you ask someone as a generality what it is they might need, they will often say “nothing.”
If you ask them about specifics, such as “Do you need bread/milk/butter, etc.” they will realize they do, in fact,
need those things. Being specific is always better.
• Keep your little ones abreast of what is going on in terms that they might understand. Please don’t run the
television 24/7 with them around. Answer questions honestly, but let them know they have a strong support
network of people who love them, and will do everything necessary  to keep them safe. The world will be here waiting if you shut that idiot box off and read a book with your child. This is a scary time for them, even if they don’t show it.
• Be courteous. Be kind. If you make eye contact with a stranger, greet them with a smile. Bring the positivity up a notch when you’re in public because, like a virus, it will spread. If you have a cart full of groceries and the person behind you has two things, let them go ahead. If you have four of something in your cart that isn’t a necessity and you see someone searching for that item, offer it up. Your attitude may not always be met with the same matched energy, but who cares. You tried, and for all you know that sour-faced person who just grumbled back at you will be the better for your attempt anyway.
• Do what you can from afar to support local businesses. Buy restaurant gift certificates to use later. Do take-out a couple times of week if you can. Order online. Go to their Facebook page and thank them for their service, if nothing else. If you use a delivery service, tip the delivery person a bit more for their “hazard pay.” Even a dollar more from each of us all adds up in the end, and this is going to be a difficult time for our favorite businesses.
• Don’t forget to profusely thank your FedEx UPS, or USPS drivers. They might be our lifelines in the days to come, depending on how long this situation goes on and how supplies are stocked in our local stores. They are laying their health on the line for all of us.
Dear readers, please stay well. Take care of yourselves by following the essentials of wellness – get enough sleep, drink enough water, eat as healthy as possible and stress as little as possible. Walk in the grass barefoot, paint, read and love on your family as hard as you can. We are all in this together, and how each of us reacts to this is interconnected in the big scheme of things.
Marcy Shortuse is the editor of the Boca Beacon. She can be reached at mshortuse@bocabeacon.