How about that Corona virus? COVID? China flu? COVID-19? What’s the acceptable term, and who says?

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Wear a mask or don’t wear a mask. Feed a cold, starve a fever or is it the other way around?

Fight the fever or let it run its course? Ice? Run a fan and a dehumidifier or infuse healing oils?

Warm liquids or cold fluids? Tylenol and no ibuprofen? Or both, combined, in high doses?

I don’t know. But I think you know, or you think you do.

One thing I’m certain about is one’s level of interest in this virus, or interest about anything, really, is, how has it affected me? Has my loved one suffered through it? Has someone I cared for, died from its effects?

Everything is about me. I didn’t get it, yay. Whew. Cheerio then. All is well as long as I’m well. I haven’t lost my job or business, my health, my social equilibrium. I’m good.

My livelihood hasn’t been desolated nor my liveliness diminished, so “it’s all good.” This is just an extended vacay for me.

I’m working from home, in my pajamas; living the dream. I mean who can’t Skype, zoom, FaceTime, IM, or talk on the phone? These are the times: the best or the worst, depending on how they work for me.

Self-centered, I’m the center of the universe, don’t you know? How dare you question my opinions, my choices, my decisions? Who do you think you are? Agree with me or the highway.

Empathy. How could you know how I feel? I am the arbiter of my feelings. Don’t you dare eavesdrop on them. Empathy, where have you gone?

I don’t share; never learned that when I was three. How dare you care?

Everything’s a secret. Spying on my feelings is an invasion of my privacy. I prefer being an enigma, alone.

My eyes don’t leak my motives. My words reveal nothing about me. I’m hidden in my silence.

Are you kidding me? Are you genuinely content in a world of you? Doesn’t that mirror ever get monotonous? Dull? Hazy?

Others provide perspective, variety, pizazz, color. Adam, the Genesis man was incomplete, alone. He needed another, a mate.

I’m defining “mate” in the Aussie sense of the word. In Oz, everyone can be your mate. In Australian cinema, I’ve even seen enemies refer to one another as mates. It’s a universal, other, mate. Other than me, I, self.

“Other than me” ... a counterpart, alternative...to me, who doesn’t agree with me. Someone who cares about me enough to challenge my oneness, myself, my singularity. If you don’t have others, please care for yourself enough to ask God to put others on your path; someone who will make you more than you, alone. Others who cajole you to come outside of yourself, to play. Make my plans, our plans.

Ask, “how are you?” Mean it, genuinely mean it. Not just a passing greeting to which you expect either no response at all or please God, a rote, “I’m fine, how are you?” Just don’t make me engage, really engage, with another.

Could we try being real, genuine, honest? I, for one, need this from the world. Wouldn’t it be better if we dropped the barriers, the “stone walls,” the dividers and the boxes? All the things that keep us apart, isolated in our me-ness.

Face it, most of us have been wearing masks since at least high school. The Corona virus mask is far from the first mask we’ve had to wear in public.

Public masks remind me of the recent death of Prince Phillip. It occurs to me that some people must wear masks for noble reasons, like duty, in the case of royalty. Royals must wear masks as they are tasked to serve at the pleasure of the queen/king; not at their own pleasure or whim. Queen Elizabeth and company cannot afford the uniquely American characteristic of self-serving public life. They serve a higher power, the church, and the crown.

The lives of those in the House of Windsor are not their own. They do many things with a masked face. I wouldn’t play poker with a one of them.

Hiding from reality, the truth, or shame, isn’t new. In high school we wore masks to protect our real selves from being disliked by others. But as an adult, I’m thinking that if back then, we had the courage to expose our true selves, being open, genuine, the real deal, “they” may have liked us without the mask.

I awoke from a dream that had me at a meeting in Bedford, a rally sponsored by the You and Me Movement. A woman with her handful of different colored pills began to offer them to one and all. I selected a yellow pill but pocketed it, others ingested theirs without question, and yet others defiantly refused them.

Whatever pill you choose, let’s make the medicine about you AND me. Healing rarely happens to me, alone. It takes others in concert with me. Let’s sing in harmony.

Bev Barton LeVan of Everett is a personal essay writer and blogger for her website www.deepthoughtsonrandomstuff.com.

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