The Covid 19 Blues

by John Delach

Don’t you find from time to time sometimes unexpectantly, you are assaulted by an attack of The Covid 19 Blues? You feel angry or plain lousy: The Covid 19 Blues:

Once I built a railroad,

I made it run,

made it race against time.

Once I built a railroad,

now it’s done.

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al.

It was Al all the time.

Why don’t you remember,

I’m your pal,

Brother, can you spare a dime? 

In retrospect, it seems that we went from a normal existence into full Covid shut-down in the blink of an eye. I’m reading a book about the fall of Poland to the Nazis and the Soviets that parallels what those of us in the tri-state region who are overwhelmed by lost  battles followed by retreat, followed by another battle lost, etc. etc. until final surrender. A total shutdown of almost everything was ordered. In New York, effective at the close of business on Friday, March 20.   

March morphed into April. Hording became a mantra, shelves emptied, as people began to die in serious numbers. The virus spread with an uncanny speed and the death rate rose in New York City and state at an alarming rate. Mistakes, lack of preparation, lack of understanding and bad luck conspired to exacerbate the volatile spread of the virus.

As a Nation, we grounded to a halt. Education, business, entertainment, sports, commerce, travel, hotels, stores, shops and even entire malls were forced to close. Exceptions were granted for those establishments offering vital supplies like food and, thankfully, alcohol.

My first attack of the blues hit in late March as I watched a weekday local morning news show. Their camera presented a view of The Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Ave.) looking north from Forty-Eighth Street up to Central Park at Fifty-Nineth Street. As I took at the scene, I exclaimed, “OMG, there is absolutely no traffic in sight, not one bus, taxi, private auto or truck on the roads nor any pedestrians on the sidewalks.” Shockingly. I realized; Manhattan was a ghost town!

Since then reminders of what has been lost and the losses that are still to come grabs at me when I allow my mind to go to that place. I dare not think what the future holds. There is going to be a reckoning in the short to medium time frames as New York City, CT, NJ and NY as local cities and counties run out of money. In fact, they have already run out of money, but they can rely on enough fiscal manipulations to play with before payroll checks start to bounce in October or November.

However the outcome of our presidential election is decided, Uncle will be hard pressed to be able to write a check to cover the outstanding debt of so many states, counties and municipalities/ The future is scary. No wonder we get depressed.

These blues can keep me awake at night when I allow them to invade my psyche or I dwell on the crises enveloping us. The virus is paramount because it hangs over us. Not just the present attack, but, when will the second-round strike and will the promised vaccines be a Godsend or a fraud? Add to that, a stew of racial strife, worries about loss of jobs, layoffs, the confusion and conflicts with school re-openings and closings and our upcoming election conspire to produce a perfect storm for insomnia and depression.

Fortunately for my wife and I, regardless how hard the night, our morning stirrings usually attract the attention of two old friends, a eleven-year-old Yellow Labrador by the name of Tessie and a ten-year old Golden by the name of Max. These two very best friends invade our sleeping quarters and separately or together, put on a show to remind us that they are happy to be alive for another day and so should we.

Their gentle souls liberate us to remain optimistic and steer toward a good horizon. The Covid Blues are real and continuous. Every day it can seem there’s another thing. Such is life, but we can choose to deal with it, shake it off and move on. Think like a retriever:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.

I can see all obstacles in my way.

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.

It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day.

It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day.