By Ken Boone
For the past few days, for about as long as I've been stuck inside practicing social distancing, I've been hearing a constant tapping against the transom above my front door. My initial assumption was that it was someone trying to sell me a cure for COVID-19. (We have all kinds of weirdos peddling things in our development).
About a week ago, I got a letter from my Home Owners' Association demanding that I have the sides of my house power washed by next Tuesday. It was my first warning, so I don't know what their "or else" will be.
The channels I typical watch have turned their programming into "All Coronavirus, All the Time". They don't just run the same stories over and over, they've added slick graphics, theme music, and a parade of medical experts doing interviews via Skype.
My reactions to these inconveniences would vary depending on my age and my mood at the time. I'll tell you right now that none of my past reactions made any sense. In retrospect, they were silly, to be kind.
When I was a kid, up until my teens, I would express anger and frustration by biting my hand. I would clamp down on the knuckle of my left index finger. In addition to tickling the hell out my friends, that gnawing left a mark that I thought would never go away.
Manhood brought about a new coping mechanism. I was old enough to by cigarettes and proudly exercised my right to do so. I justified this vice by saying that I only smoked "lights" and I never smoked more than a pack per day.
Whether it was hand-biting or smoking, I also and always yelled and threw things around the room. I justified that behavior by saying that those outbursts were brief in nature. I never engaged i long-running rants. That made it OK. Right? Wrong!
Wanting to change my bad behavior, which isn't an easy thing, I noticed that my wife, Celia, would react to life's annoyances in a much more controlled, calm way than I ever could. She would always tell me that my behavior was like taking a cyanide pill and getting pissed that it didn't kill the other guy. I can get my head around that.
She'd also ask me what my fears were. Initially, that was the wrong thing to say because most men don't like to admit to fear of any kind. Then she told me what fear is the acronym for: False, Evidence, Appearing, Real. That's very catchy and easy to dance to!
So I started chanting the FEAR definition. It took a while because it takes a while for old dogs to learn new tricks. I'm happy to say that I don't bite my hand any. Nor do smoke cigarettes, or anything else for that matter. I'm still loud, but I don't yell or throw things around any longer. And I stopped those things just in the nick of time.
There's some very real dilemmas facing us today. Not knowing when things will get better is quite frustrating. Having sensible coping skills in place relieves a lot of tension. Look up the Serenity Prayer and commit it to memory.
Now, let's get back to the problems I articulated at the beginning of this post. The tapping on my transom was a male robin looking at his reflection and trying to protect his nest against himself. He'll either stop because he has a headache or summer will give him other things to instinctively do.
I responded to the demand letter from the Homeowners' Association by letting them know, via email, that I would address their concerns as soon as possible. I also reminding them that there is a health crisis in this country and requested that they exercise common sense and compassion when dealing with the residents who vote them into office. They "graciously" extended my deadline for compliance to May 31st. I want to write them back, but I should just let it slide. They have to save face, you know.
As for my favorite channel running nothing but COVID-19 coverage, I simply change the channel when I've heard enough. I'm binge watching a bunch of movies from that greeting card channel (I'm a little embarrassed to call it by its right name).
I've also become a frequent viewer of my local cable news channel. I'm becoming a fan of the anchors, meteorologists, traffic and street reporters. While they cover the virus, the do a bang up job of keeping us informed of the lighter side of life in our community.
Well, the Pappa bird is tapping on my window. Let him protect his family. I just hope he doesn't knock himself out, since he's hitting the glass at a high rate of speed. Be safe birdie... and all of you as well!
About the Author
As owner of the Descant Music & Media Group, Ken is a creator and producer of several podcast shows. He is also a music producer, as well as a writer and an accountant for small businesses and nonprofits.