Three months ago, Corona was, to the entire world, a vision – an often hazy one – of the infamous Mexican beer, with its cute little lime wedge sitting atop the bottle, waiting to be plopped down into its caramel-colored demise.
To me and a hundred million other Egyptians, it was also our local, sub-par (but still bloody delicious) chocolate, with its iconic red gazelle logo.
Today, Corona means sanitising your hands 12 times before even thinking of touching a door knob, and 12 times after. It’s skipping the gym and staying indoors- because it’s better to be unfit than to be dead. It’s the alarming rise of Sinophobia. It’s flights canceled, entire cities quarantined, the Olympics and the Liam Gallagher concert I was so looking forward to (sob) indefinitely postponed.
It’s life at half-speed.
For a generation that grew up with a mindset where juggling any less than a hundred and one things is nothing short of failure, what does this global lockdown mean for us? Now that the world has literally been forced to slow the F*** down, what are we supposed to do with ourselves?
Take care of your mental health
Look, I know we’re all terrified. We’re all watching the news and reading the sensational chain messages sent to our Whatsapp groups and occasionally laughing at the memes trying to make light of the topic. And while it’s absolutely important to take precautions and sing the entire first verse of Barbie Girl while washing our hands (that’s how long you’re meant to wash your hands for, FYI), it’s also important not to overwhelm our brains with information debris. Try to make a conscious effort to walk away from C-word conversations if they are not adding any benefit to your current situation.
Our poor brains have already had a pretty tough couple of years, what with Brexit and Trump and the Australian fires and and nuclear war threats in the middle east and the Iraqi and Lebanese revolutions (to name a few), we really don’t need to overwhelm them even more with unactionable fears about diseases.
Take time out of your day to meditate for ten minutes. Put your phone down and stop scrolling while having breakfast. Try to divert conversations with friends away from Corona if you feel your anxiety acting up. breathe. All you can do is take care of yourself and stay calm. Freaking out about something does not prevent it from happening (trust me), but calmly and mindfully taking precautions definitely does.
Read more books and watch more shows
A few months ago, we would have killed for an excuse to binge watch crazy Netflix shows without the pressures of having to socialise. Now, staying in and watching all ten episodes of Love Is Blind in a row is considered healthy.
You’re not touching people you don’t know, you’re in the safety of your own house, and you’re having the best time judging the hell out of Amber and Jessica. What more could anyone ask for?
And when you’re a little too tired of watching other people’s drama, you can read about them instead. The first thing my English teacher in the 6th grade told us was that “the best and cheapest way to travel is by opening up a book and reading”. And what better time to do just that than the year 2020, where flights and airports are breeding grounds for the virus to spread and a quick holiday to the south of Spain is a recipe for disaster?
Celebrate the dramatic drop in pollution
This wouldn’t be a Coffeee & Chaos post if it didn’t mention the environment, would it? Mind-blowing NASA images were recently circulated online, showing the drastic decrease in noxious nitrogen dioxide – the gas emitted from power plants, cars and construction machinery- over China. A massive 30% drop has been recorded over the month of February, and is expected to last longer than usual pollution drops due to the closure of factories in fear of the virus spreading further.
While definitely not a solid solution for the colossal pollution and climate change crisis, at least it’s slowing down our sprint towards an overheated planet. It’s true what they say: every cloud does have a silver lining.
Be Respectful; Be Kind.
It’s easy to pin this whole virus on a specific race, especially when that race has physical features that stand out and a culture that seems alien to the standardised Western one. However, just because the media creates an easy target to hang our fears on does not mean we should. The amount of memes and online jokes that are going around, casually perpetuating fear and a sense of othering of Chinese people and Asians in general is absolutely appalling. We need to stay respectful towards everyone around us, irrespective of where they’re from or what they look like.
Under no circumstance is this pandemic an excuse to marginalise, humiliate and alienate yet another race that isn’t white. If you feel like you’re starting to develop Sinophobic tendencies, please check your racism at the door because this is 2020 and racism is honestly so 2001.