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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

It's the End of the World as We Know It

Last night, I began to write an account of time Wednesday through today. I was tired, but not tired enough to realize that was boring. And honestly, the days have bled one into another. Indistinguishable. I will tell you that our alarm went off at 3 AM on Wednesday morning so that we could empty the remaining scattered belongings from our home. This took much longer than you might expect so we didn’t get the drive to Virginia underway until just prior to 7 AM. I towed the U-Haul trailer and the cats were in the back in crates. They would loudly express their pleasure, fall silent for a while, then yowl once more. Usually, when I was dialing into a conference call. Weirdly, Waze had sent Andrea one route and me another. An accident occurred somewhere along Andrea’s route so she was slowed around Charlottesville, VA. This meant that I rolled into Lynchburg approximately 20 minutes before Andrea. Towing a trailer is hell on gas mileage so I had refueled 3 times on the drive down. Upon arriving in Lynchburg, I carried a cat through the hotel lobby in its carrier and it yowled as if I were skinning it alive. An older man checking in at the front desk furrowed his brow in concern as I shushed the cat into the elevator. Thankfully, our room is adjacent to a staircase so I was able to bring the rest of the pets up this way.

On Thursday, we exited the hotel and I’d realized I left my wallet in the room. I ran back, grabbed it and jumped into the car as Andrea began pulling away. “Andrea! I wasn’t in!”

“We’re running late!” she replied.

We were only 3 minutes late to the walk through of our new home and thankfully, both my feet were in working order. From there, we went to the realtor’s office for the closing.

On Friday, Andrea received the call notifying us that our furniture and household belongings would be delivered on Monday. After our final night at Parkhurst Drive, after sleeping low to the ground, we’d unanimously decided we’re too old to sleep that low to the ground and extended our reservation. This will also serve to keep the pets safe and out of the way of the movers.

We’ve been occupied with much of the boring stuff that moving entails. On Friday, we purchased a sofa and ottoman for our living room. The living room furniture we had in Massachusetts will go in our new (finished) basement which is where the dogs will live when life gets back to normal and we are at work. More on that in a moment after a full report on the boring: We got internet at our home on Saturday, are getting cable this Wednesday, and the electric dryer we bought will be installed on Saturday.

Team by team, reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped Look at that low plane, fine, then Uh oh, overflow, population, common group But it'll do, save yourself, serve yourself World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light Feeling pretty psyched

It's the end of the world as we know it It's the end of the world as we know it It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine

- R.E.M.

Of all the things I worried about leading up to this move, a pandemic never crossed my mind. And yet, here we are amid a full-blown, global pandemic unlike anything that any of us have ever lived through. Part of me, my introvert, non-hugging self that uses dark humor during dark times wonders how I never heard the term “social distancing” prior to last week. It hasn’t quite caught on here in Virginia. On Saturday, the tech who installed our internet stood before us awkwardly until we shook his hand. Schools are closing, sports are cancelling, many offices are working remote. But how I knew that things were dire is when I woke up to news that bars in South Boston have closed. That. That right there is a sign of end times.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday. -Mary Schmich

A friend pointed out that Andrea and I married in a hurricane and moved during a pandemic and to let them know if I had any other major life changes in mind. I promise to alert you all.

I had a lot of anxiety leading up to this move. (Someone’s mumbling, “No shit.”, under their breath right now. But yes! It is true.). I’d ask Andrea, “Why do I feel anxious?” at times when the anxiety seemed all consuming and she’d point out that so much was out of our control. And you know what? It's all out of our control. This lesson is served up to me again and again because I don't learn easily.

Just prior to the move, when it appeared that things were coming together after all, an older, wiser, mentor asked what I’d learned from this experience. I contemplated this for a moment before grudgingly admitting that the lessons were abundant. They usually are, and can often be seen only in retrospect, and only if you’re willing to take a closer look.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. Soren Kierkegaard.

One of the lessons that bubbled to the surface almost immediately is how quickly things can change – one day, things may look bleak and you can’t see a way out and then, there’s an opening. An improvement. Things lift. I share that because things look bleak. Things will improve. But the only way out is through. Maybe it is the end of the world as we know it? I hope some good emerges from this in the end. I know it's hard to see that possibility but look for the good - be the good. And be good to yourself as well - so many people are working so hard during this crisis. Make time for self care each day. I know - it isn't easy. But what's even harder is not doing it.

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