A lot comes to my mind as we all struggle to come to terms with the current situation regarding COVID-19.

First of all, I understand the concept of “social distancing.” However, I wish it were referred to as “physical distancing.” We are social beings and during this time of uncertainty, it’s important to refrain from isolating.

I recently saw a meme that referenced “The Shining,” a 1980 psychological horror film that starred Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. It features a picture of the Torrance family and says, “A couple of weeks of isolation with the family. What can go wrong?”

For those who haven’t viewed the flick (or its 1997 TV mini-series remake), the story centers around Jack Torrance, an aspiring author with writer’s block. He accepted a job and took his family to a remote hotel to serve as the off-season caretaker. During the stay, strange occurrences begin to happen and Nicholson’s character slowly begins to lose his mind.

During this pandemic, I encourage people to stay connected via text, video chat, phone calls and letters. Also, I think it’s important to talk to others when we’re in their presence.

When Jacob, our contracted janitor, came in the other night, I was walking through the kitchen and made a comment about the “social distance dance.” I urge people to continue with social pleasantries and not just merely steer clear of our fellow human beings.

And, I can’t say it enough — wash your hands. Medical professionals have long said that hand washing with soap is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid the spread of germs, including the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. At a loss for how to gauge 20 seconds — years ago, I read that if you hum the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself two times from beginning to end, that would be a sufficient amount of time.

I’ve been a hand washing fool. I’ve been quite joyfully singing “Happy Birthday” to myself (I turned 60 last month) numerous times per day. Oh, I did take a break and insert my cousin Laura’s name on March 15 — and will sing to cousin Lynda next month.

Also in recent weeks, I’ve increased my dexterity skills. I’m becoming really proficient at opening doors, turning on/off water and lights with my elbow, feet, knees and, yes, even my butt. I’m glad there isn’t someone following me around videotaping my moves. I’m afraid when this is all over, I’m going to need a serious chiropractic adjustment.

Again, I urge you to reach out to others — just don’t reach out and touch someone.


Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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