Traveling in the Time of Covid-19

I have been on the road for three and one-half weeks. During that time, I have flown to Washington State, Drove a U-Haul from Washington State traveling south and east to a small town in South Carolina, then drove back to my home in Albuquerque.

Quite a bit of travel in a few short weeks. But nothing compared to the real road warriors, our Truck Drivers! Without these folks driving to every nook and cranny in the United States and beyond. Despite the scared yet pathetic hoarders, we would be naked and starving, unable to take care of our basic human needs.

Driving over any Interstate Highway, and especially coming from one of the coasts, it is obvious how much our nations Truck Drivers do to keep our country running. For example, Apples from Washington State are driven down to the Florida State and unloaded to take on a load of citrus fruits for Washington. And so on and so forth, everything we need and take for granted. I will end this portion with a call out for our Nation’s Truckers! Give them a smile if and when you see them.

Washington State, which is racked with this new sickness, was in my short time there, a mixed bag. Depending on age, and perhaps education, different views on all aspects of this pandemic can be seen in a single afternoon, if one is daring enough to leave the house. I have no doubt that is how we are, wherever we live.

Empty roads to roads shared with Semi Trucks

 

Depending on where you live in the world, you are giving more or less attention and are better or poorer prepared than we are in the States as we stumble along in semi denial. There are a few people in charge who are obviously in a different reality and have different priorities than caring for the public good. However there are State Governors and small town councils who are taking this pandemic with seriousness and appropriate action.

Personally, I think our situation is a blessing in disguise. Families are forced to spend time together instead of inhabiting the same home, and leading disparate lives. We have time to explore our spirituality and look deep into our beliefs and thoughts. I went out walking in the park today, physically distant from others, and it was a pleasure to see people outdoors as a family.

I received texts and phone calls from my neighbors asking after me, and offering any help or support as they may be able to help with. What more can one possibly expect from neighbors? Neighbors are in many ways, extended families. What happens to a family in many neighborhoods is known and and effects friends and neighbors alike.

Moving back to spirituality, this is a good time to really think about what you believe and why you believe it. Some decades ago, I found myself in a position of knowing without a doubt, that everything I thought I knew to be true was not only incorrect, but was/is part of a massive effort to push beliefs that grossly falsehoods.

In light of inspecting the falsehoods and misdirection that made my belief system, I was moved from being asleep to alive and awake. I hope this quarantine period, moves others to reflect, and have the courage to admit their beliefs too are wrong. I hope they find their way on the path to truth and a more meaningful life.

After being in half the states in the U.S, in only a few weeks, I have seen people showing immense courage and empathy. People willing to feed me, rent me a room for the night, provide gasoline, coffee, and snacks. Some of these people have no choice, they need to work, no matter the risk.

Other people, either through instinct or altruism, are out there making other peoples lives better and helping folks like me get to where they need to go. My heart goes out to the probably millions of people who went to work, to find out they are now unemployed. Several industries we took for granted are now, idle, maybe never to recover.

I hope you are able to make positive changes in your life, and practice whatever form of spirituality which is important to you in the coming undefined period of time. One good thing about a pandemic, is getting through one, and learning “I” can’t do it alone. Surviving a pandemic takes all of us, “We” is in and “I” should be forgotten.

This has been a rambling and perhaps incoherent compilations of text, parading as paragraphs, and put together as a post. I have so many people to thank for getting across country twice, and getting me home safely. There are so many good people out there, no matter where you live.

Your Friends Tell the World about You

Professor Jennifer Golbeck has a Talk on TED.com you should listen to if you are a user of social media or not. The subject of Professor Goldbrick’s talk is the act of a ‘like’ for a picture of curly fries. How that innocent like categorizes you into a special group. Generally liking curly fries, and other innocent ‘likes’ tells those who are interested, a lot more about you than your taste in food.

Social media is social, no surprise there. You generally are careful about what you say or write about in your own life, or what you comment on in other peoples live’s. It all appears harmless enough on the surface, but the amount of seriously personal information you are giving away is scary, both its width and breadth.

Pre-computer age, if a company wanted to learn if you were a good fit for the company, they would ask you if you would mind a taking a test, or four in my case. The company was upfront about it. These were personality tests designed to unravel who I was, what I thought, and where I drew my boundaries.

If you were asked to take tests such as these as a condition of employment what would you do? In my case I said, sure I would take the tests. How bad could it be? After all, if there were questions about subject I chose not to share, I would answer differently than I really thought.

After the eight or ninth question it hit me. If I am choosing to not answer honestly about a question, and answer differently, how does that reflect on me? Is everyone like me, and are they answering in the exact different way? Or am I answering the way a pathological criminal would answer?

This series of tests was quite a little mind game for me. After the fourth test, the company for whatever reason gave up on me. Somewhere in my answers, it became apparent that I was not the right person for the job. It may have differences to my answers of the same type of questions, or it may have been my answers led them to believe something else about me. It may have been there was no company hiring, and I was being lied too. I never heard from the company after the fourth test.

So what has that srtory to do with social media? A lot more than you think. You are I am sure very careful about what you say, and pictures you post in social media sites. Seems like a safe approach in itself. After all what information are you really giving away?

You are giving a lot more persoanl and private information away than you think when using social media. Starting with your on-line friends. Do you really know all your friends in person, or do you only know the persona they pretend to be? Do you know their friends, or just the friends they mention?

What are your friends generally posting about? If you are in college, and you never mention drinking, drugs, cheating, when writing about college, it does not matter. If your friends are doing something, odds are you are too. That’s the way life works.

From Tribal or villiage life of old to facebook of present, we haven’t changed. We are who we hang around with. There is an old saying I was told as a Teen that applies more now than ever. “You are your friends.” It may be a good idea to commit that line to memory. What your friends are so are you.

What this means, is if you socialize, or are linked up with certain groups of people who like or enjoy certain things, chances are you do those things too, even though you may not mention them yourself. What your friends, online or off talk about, is what you are probably doing too.

After all what is the point of having friends if you do not share interests? If your friends are talking about spending the fourth of July in a drunken stupor at some beach, it does not matter if you post about it or not. If you have no comments during the time they will be partying, it is pretty likely you were right there with them.

If some of your friends mention being in favor of one or more frowned upon behaviors, and you do not mention it anywhere in your posts or messages, guess what? You are connected to those behaviors by association, because of your friends. Even if your friends have little in common in your real life, inferences are being made about your life, every bit of it.

Social media is fun, Social media helps you feel connected, Social media is also stealing your life and selling it for profit. Social media is forming your world. Think about the amount of freely given information available to someone if you are a long time user of social media. Chances are good that you have already been categorized, binned, and classified in a hundred different ways, waiting for the buyer of your personal information.