Jonathan Kraut | Learning to Lead a More Peaceful, Safe Existence

Most of us should be enjoying self-quarantine at this point. 

Not that the coronavirus is everywhere, but by now few should be in line at Costco or at any store. 

It makes no sense to mingle with crowds in the hundreds in order to meet the objective of staying away from people. A month into this, we all should have enough to easily stay at home for a week or more.

It has been many weeks but still some cannot stay put. What is with this urge? To hunt down more eggs, bread, bottled water and toilet paper?

Since when is eating four eggs every day the key to survival?

We can always order pizza or Chinese takeout rather than dying of starvation. Did you know even tap water can ward off dehydration?

So please, friends, unless it is urgent and unavoidable, plan on staying home for a while. 

While I have great compassion and admiration for our excellent medical teams, first responders, supermarket staffs, delivery drivers and security professionals still on the job, staying at home and out of their way makes their vital roles easier and everyone safer.

The month of May seems about the time our self-quarantines might loosen up. Maybe we can come out of hibernation in June. Understand — it will be a while.

In the meantime, I have some interesting observations about staying at home for the last two weeks. 

Between my wife and I we have been out only thrice — me to work a couple of times to run payroll for the company, and her once to buy food for ourselves and her mother. She completed her no-contact shopping in 40 minutes by going late in the day when the store was empty.

I admit I enjoy the peacefulness of staying home.

Instead of walking our creature three times a day, I now take the long way five times a day. The dog is quite appreciative. 

I notice most of the cars on the street are unmoved. I wave to an occasional neighbor at a distance.

Rather than thinking days ahead and processing tasks and obligations back-to-back from dawn to dusk, I take my time and accomplish fewer goals over several days with no urgency.

No more hourlong commutes to and from the office.

No more planning on what we will be doing on the weekend.

Taking time to cook Middle Eastern and Bistro cuisine from scratch.

Watching interesting low-budget but well-scripted Netflix presentations made in India about every night.

My wife has sterilized the house and done her spring cleaning a few times already. There is no reason to believe she is finished — she keeps thinking of another way to repack a closet or move pantry items to a more accessible location.

When the sun is out, we sit quietly with nothing to say in the back yard and gaze at the snow-capped peaks on our horizon.

I notice how happy are our wildlife is as spring begins. 

We are often greeted by coveys of quails singing “Chicago” in the greening hills, doves fluttering about looking for a companion, and bunnies on our front lawn in the morning. 

Now is a good time to enjoy a more peaceful existence.

I hope time will continue to feel like it is moving quickly. But for many, the coronavirus means time will stand still and then cease. 

Now is the time when deeds, not words, matter. Words cannot bring back the dead.

For the healthy, one can only hope this nightmare will end soon. Our economy and sense of safety can then begin their inevitable restoration processes.

The most significant way we can contribute is by avoiding the impulse to socialize in person or to forage for goods and food.

As a remedy, I offer to everyone taking the “two-trip challenge.” 

This is when you commit to making no more than two visits for purchases a week. You can go to the same supermarket twice in one day if you want, but then it is seven days at home. 

Order as much as possible online, plan ahead before venturing out, and remind yourself to appreciate those who are daily putting themselves in harm’s way. 

In the meanwhile, let’s keep our distance, be safe, enjoy some tranquility, and appreciate a peaceful existence.

Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations firm, is the CFO of a private security firm, is the COO of an acting conservatory, is a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.         

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