We’re 3-4 weeks or so into sheltering in place, safer at home, lockdown, or whatever other terms for it you might prefer. On one hand, as far as disaster scenarios go, we have it pretty good.
For most of the country, Netflix is still available, as is Amazon (albeit shipping a wee bit slower than normal on some things), Walmart, and take-out food. Nobody is dressing up in ragged biker/fetish outfits, at least not out of necessity. Who knew that the official dress code of the apocalypse would be pajamas and bed head? On the other hand, though, people are angry. Well, that’s an understatement.
Many people appear to be absolutely livid, rivaling Yosemite Sam when he’s in his rootin’ tootin’, biting nails in half, full-on apoplectic rage. And the outlet so many of these people have chosen to express their displeasure is social media.
While Facebook has never been known for polite and civil discourse, it has gotten absolutely brutal in the last few weeks. People who have generally been easy-going and affable are now coming up with ever more creative ways to tell people to go f#@& themselves… for arguing about the weather.
Late last year, I joined a FB group focused on state parks. It was a great group, filled with awesome photos from hikes people had taken in the state, county, and local parks. Lots of suggestions for where to go and what to do when you got there. For the last month or so, the group has reached Broadway-level amounts of drama. Seemingly every post made, no matter how innocuous, is met with venom and vitriol. I saw one woman who, when asked why the comments were so inflammatory, replied, “What do you expect when we’re all sitting home doing nothing?”
Of course, one of the major debates is the “stay at home” folks versus the “you’re trampling my rights” people. What an awful lot of the people on both sides of the argument seem to not take into account is that it is quite possible to have a foot on each side of the line, so to speak.
Safety vs. Government
It is quite easy to be very concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and at the same time be worried about the overreach of the government. As I mentioned in one such discussion, I feel as though if we were all sitting in a room, talking face to face, we’d agree on far more than we’d disagree about.
But, given the communication limitations on social media, FB in particular, arguments tend to quickly spiral out of control during normal times, let alone under these circumstances. Part of that stems from having at least a couple of generations of people who have now grown up without real fear of being popped in the head for saying something stupid. Combine that with frustration, loneliness, and even depression and you have what we see today – people being ugly to one another for no real reason.
Slow Burn? Chill
The takeaway this week is this – we’re all dealing with the same stuff. We’re all angry and we’re all frustrated. Remember that there is another actual, living, breathing human being on the other end of that FB debate. Rather than seek out a virtual punching bag upon whom you can vent your rage, maybe do something more constructive with that energy.
Bodyweight exercises are great and require very little space. Walk up and down the stairs a few times (there’s a 12-year-old kid in the UK who challenged himself to walk the height of Mt Everest using the stairs in his home. He did it, too, in just about 24 hours!). If you don’t feel like physical exertion, maybe channel that anger into an email or phone call to the politicians you feel need to hear your thoughts on the matter.
At least then you’re directing those negative feelings at those you can legitimately hold responsible for this situation, rather than some rando on FB who had the audacity to comment, “I like your shirt” on your profile pic.
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