Virus is immune to diversions
I’m having a difficult time dealing with this coronavirus thing. What’s bugging me is this crisis is almost inescapable.
In times when the news cycle is dominated by one event such as an election, impeachment, weather, war or other national event, I ignore it by turning the channel to sports and taking a break. Or, I go to the gym and spend an hour on the Stairmaster.
None of those things are working right now. ESPN is a wasteland of Carolina-Duke replays. Can Australian Rules Football be far behind? My two favorite sports shows, “PTI,” and “Highly Questionable” are nowhere to be found because they have nothing to talk about.
The NCAA Tournament, which I truly consider to be better than Christmas, has been canceled. There will be no answers to the question of, “Who is this year’s George Mason.” No great stories of failure and redemption like we saw with Virginia last year. No UMBCs. Nothing.
The college basketball season this year was like reading a great book that keeps you up all night with surprises on every page only to have someone come along with two chapters left and throw it in a fire.
Baseball is another go to when I am looking to avoid the world. I bury myself in whatever game is available either on television or the radio. But baseball has also been pushed back to who knows when.
I am struggling, but here are some things I am doing to make it through this and maintain some sense of sanity.
Classical music – I have rediscovered my love for Beethoven, Mozart and Dvorak. My car radio stays on the Symphony Hall channel from SiriusXM. If you are looking to stream some really good free classical music stations, try WDAV from Charlotte, North Carolina or my favorite KING-FM in Seattle, Washington. The music helps me clear my head of all the coronaclutter, refocus and think clearer.
Along those same lines – follow Yo-Yo Ma on Twitter. The world’s most famous cellist is recording himself playing songs of comfort. His version of “Going Home” by Dvorak posted on March 13 is a great listen. If you need two minutes of peace in your day, try that.
Limit the news – It may sound strange for a newspaper editor to say this, but too much news consumption is just as bad as too many Cheetos, too much Fireball or too much sleep. Turn off the cable news channels. I have found that I stay just as informed when I watch 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening and check in briefly at lunch as I am when the news stays on all day. Look for other sources of news rather than the cable news channels. NPR radio is a quick way to get updates.
Also limit social media. Sometimes Facebook and Twitter are not your friends. The endless scrolling, snarky comments and funny memes serve as a form of entertainment and connectivity with family and friends. But make sure it is healthy for you. And if you are on social media, please be kind. I have to remind myself of that quite often.
If you are looking for good TV, West Wing is always my go to. It is streaming on Netflix. One of best episodes is said to be In Excelsis Deo (season 1, episode 10), my favorite is “The Indians in the Lobby” (season 3, episode 7).
We will get through this. Everything tends to work out.
We are Americans and we have this whole freedom thing that has been in our genes the past 200 or so years. We don’t quarantine well. We go to Walmart when we want. We want to see friends when we want. We travel when and where we want. But for a while that just isn’t possible.
We all need to find ways to cope.
In this season of Lent, may God grant us peace, patience and persistence as we continue on this journey.
Roger Watson is editor of The Charlotte Gazette. His email address is Roger.Watson@TheCharlotteGazette.com.