GUEST VIEWPOINT: Where’s COVID? (AKA My own game of “Where’s Waldo?”)

I don’t know about you, but I have entered into a phase known as “ COVID-19 paranoia” related to my response to this pandemic!
This is not a real condition, but rather what I call it. I don’t mean to take anything away from those suffering from the real medically diagnosed mental health disorder known generally as paranoia. But COVID-19 has afflicted me with the littlest, itty-bit glimpse into that condition! It has reared it’s ugly head in me as I open my door to my home and go…..ANYWHERE!!
The other day I went to one of our gorgeous county parks that has been a favorite of mine FOREVER. I went on a sunny day to get some fresh air and exercise. Well, what is usually a zen-like experience at this county park got flicked away by a little burrowed paranoia I have called “Where’s COVID?”.
Admittedly, there were WAY more people than usual at this county park given the beautiful spring-like weather, families at home, and, last but not least, a free park entrance! The reality for me though, was that I immediately went on high “public health alert” (remember I have a background in public health).
With my exaggerated public health mindset upon entering the park, I immediately started looking for who might be transmitting COVID! Yes, welcome to my world!!
Is it that couple walking, without masks, 100 yards away? In the fresh air?
Is it that darn energetic squirrel scampering in front of me? Can squirrels transmit this dreaded coronavirus? EVERYONE/EVERYTHING has become suspect!!!! I try to resist my own game of “Where’s Corovid-19” with little success.
And, I’m losing this game! Because of instead of looking at ME as the “Where’s COVID-19”, I’m suspecting others! Instead of being paranoid about grocery shopping which causes me anxiety about that which I can’t control, maybe I should focus in on what I can control. Do:: Wash hands, stay at least 6 feet apart, cover mouth, social distance. Don’t:: Go out unless for essentials!
But ultimately I have a question: Who/what/why is this scourge among us? Maybe it’s the Politicians? Globalization? Climate Change? Human Nature? Evolution? Stupidness? I want answers. I want to find my conjured Waldo, darn it!! I want to point my finger, and yell “YOU DID THIS”!
Then I remembered an old SNL character, Father Guido Sarducci. Remember him? This character was depicted as an Italian priest, with an Italian accent and large brimmed Roman hat. One bit he had, which I think is particularly relevant today, was when he talked about one of his parishioners. His parishioner came to him and wailed plaintively about his misfortune. “Father. Why? Why me?”, he cried.
Father Sarducci shrugged his shoulders and simply said: “Life. Don’t take it personally!”
Good advice!

Polly Jantzen is a Clarkston resident, has a B.S. in Nursing and Psychology, a Master’s of Public Health, and was a consultant to global organizations as they planned for enterprise-wide change.

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