Fumbling Through the Pandemic

broken bottle

I hadn’t really thought about it until I read an article on The Atlantic website by Amanda Mull but I have been more clumsy the past few months.

Amanda’s klutziness included a tree that tried to kill her, an iPhone that flew out of her hand, and lots of objects falling to the ground – a pitcher, bottles of cold-brew coffee, pickle relish, and cocktail sauce.

Can we blame this clumsiness on the pandemic, sheltering at home, lack of contact with people, kids at home instead of school, closed bars and restaurants, no many hours of streaming video and too many calories and alcoholic beverages?

Out of curiosity, I looked up “clumsy.” It is a word from the late 16th century. It comes from the obsolete clumse  meaning “to make or be numb.” It probably is of Scandinavian origin and related to the Swedish klumsig.

I doubt that you think of being clumsy as being “numb” but isn’t the current clumsiness that Amanda and I – and maybe you – are experiencing a kind of numbness that has fallen over us since March?

There is a numbness many of us have to the passing of the days and weeks. I’ve seen these indistinguishable days as Blursdays.  We need to give shape to our time.

Health organizations are offering ways to deal with this pandemic anxiety. Prioritize your health. Stay intentionally calm. Get outdoors. Be kind to yourself. Connect with others. Limit media exposure. Get creative.

Some parting advice from Amanda:
“It would be difficult for any particular person to determine if their accelerated quarantine clumsiness is real, a function of their attention, or both. No matter what, it seems unlikely to decline soon—for the foreseeable future, many Americans will be working and parenting from home, laboring within a pressure cooker of stress. With summer nearly over, much of the country will soon lose the opportunity to spend lots of time blowing off steam outdoors. In the meantime, it might be smart to get a case for your phone and some hard-plastic drinking glasses. Think of them as safety gear for the long haul.”

broken phone

Published by

Ken Ronkowitz

A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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