The consequence of being ignorant and arrogant is fatal. May we never forget that again.Tweet
The current collective emotional state is not as nuanced as it used to be. Now, we find we share a similar silence and hope with strangers’ and share these essential human needs with more people than we have before. Most especially, a thing as basic as food necessity now places us hip to hip with unseen tragedies and –thankfully- generosity.
Scared? Yes. It’s tough to exist with something you don’t understand yet. Hungry? Most definitely.
Food has gone on to play a cardinal role in economical structures and household structures too. For us, before Corona Virus halted jobs, I could just stroll by the hallway, linger at the kitchen door (do I need to eat noodles at 11.30 pm?) then walk towards the fridge and opt to down a cup of soda with two slices of bread instead. I’d do this recklessly, sometimes opening the fridge innumerably knowing well enough the fridge is an empty well, but looking for a quick snack anyway. A few weeks ago, upon opening the gaping fridge, my shoulders drooped and an exasperated sigh escaped me. I -once more- closed it, walking back to my desolate space in my bedroom with a hand as empty as a liar’s promise.
As I made the corner to my bedroom, the voices of anchors like mosquitoes on loop baited my curious ears and in passing, I heard, “Next, we’ll talk about boosting your immune system to fight Corona Virus…” Suddenly I remembered the balloon of comfort foods was popped -what’s it been? A few weeks? A few months? Sometimes time escapes me- long ago and the broccoli I saw in the fridge might not make me as stupendously happy as a KFC would but, it may very well be the sole determinant of whether or not I would still be here to make such choices. We are an acclimated being rerouting back to our previously discarded uncluttered ways of collard greens and tea like the Okinawas. Why? Dr. Stanford said.
As our vessels of modicum, the media has the inherent responsibility to inform the public truthfully, and balance the cold hard complex truth with humility. Like every other preceding day since February, breaking news had been running under the screen highlighted in bright red and orange so I never miss a beat about the latest Covid-19 news. If I could high five the probably underpaid journalist that was seated dressed in a black dress, sticking her head out in the midst of a beheading, I would, but then I’d have to start washing my hands again.
In spite of the inflamed media’s much-appreciated effort, my own fear sowed me into the ground, afraid that I would see the death toll had doubled again and my mind would scramble. Trying not to let the ‘what if’ questions scratch one’s brain can prove, in some cases, lifesaving. Paranoia is worse than the disease itself. A disease can be externally controlled but paranoia can only be first settled internally. And until that settling of storms happens, the brain will find an outlet for its confusion and pain which it will actualize through ‘paranoid actions’. Even if you went to the supermarket and found half the shelves empty, keep calm, it’s probably bad timing. Remember, there is a restriction of movement in most places and this will affect how fast food gets to you.
I placed a stool by the door and listened as the anchors discussed with nutritionists and doctors (over video call) as to the plausibility of any specific food being able to give you a strong enough immune boost to fight Corona virus if you happen to catch it. It might be a pathological curse, but on a social level, Covid-19 might not be a curse.
Mid-way through the discussion, a comprehension and acceptance of reality permeated through. The cake I craved was not worth the candle. It never had been and having anemia was about just as much proof as I needed to -sorry for the crass- cut the crap. I walked back to the kitchen and this time, the multitude of greens, yellows, and reds, smiling at me like a gaping toothless child, planted gratitude in my heart, aware of the fact that without our mother’s touch of multi-colored nutritious edibles, my sister and I might probably have eaten pancakes to our death. Life before the pandemic was pancakes for breakfast, lunch or dinner (also acts well as a snack), whatever for lunch, maybe skip if we are hungry or pick from a choice of deep-fried foods or takeouts, and for dinner (right after the fantas and more pancakes we had during the day), we might have gotten ourselves a double-stacked deluxe pizza with extra cheese and fries. Don’t forget the coleslaw. Never forget the mayonnaised coleslaw.
Now, I am familiarizing myself with the taste of green tea with a full lemon squeeze, according to the doctor on TV who went to Stanford Medical School. Surely he knows what he is talking about, right? I did a little research (of course) and these: ginger, garlic, broccoli, chickpeas, spinach, sunflowers seeds and red bell peppers are said to hold up on all fronts in case you are curious. Think Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, and Zinc. My sister is adapting to the growing pains of daily greens with every meal.
During these times, it is vital that you remain alert, awake and aware.
My mum is living out her best life; over spicing the food with ginger and turmeric, adding fish to our weekly diet, bargaining for blueberries and oranges for the cheap by the local mama mboga (a person who sells vegetables and fruits at a small stall) and officially making green tea the new water (with chia seeds of course, we’re not savages). I find her actions now being reflected in mine as well. It was just the other day I went shopping only to find rows on rows of untouched jam, raisin bran and peanut butter, and guess what? I didn’t buy any of it. When I got home, all I did was enjoy the comic relief of my previous definition of ‘needs’.
Do I feel healthier? Not really because how does healthier feel after a few weeks when we sit perched on the edge of a collapsing hill, not knowing if we will tip over first, fly or get sucked into the ground? Do strong nails and supple skin do it? What of clearer vision and firmer hips? This is what I hope for instead; if the time comes when I need to go into battle with any sort of virus thing, I will have a better chance of coming out on the other end of the line. And whether or not I catch the virus, the way we buy food in our household has changed forever and I am happy for it. Maybe in a years’ time those nails will be stronger and that skin will be supple but nonetheless, I will continue to eat sweet potatoes for breakfast. Simply loving healthy significantly reduces your susceptibility to man diseases including cancer. For now, we retreat for safety in our four by fours, away from the needed physical comfort of a thing as simple as touch, but not manic with desire to the point of (desiring death). Leave the mania to the ones plagued with madness. This book is a good example.
I am grateful that we have a full fridge because I know out there, the stories are very much grey and grim. Maybe further from the topic of food, I found myself wondering, are we fumbling our way to a mass passivity due to the alarming lethargic state catapulted by the global catastrophe? Here’s the underscored truth: The consequence of being ignorant and arrogant is fatal. May we never forget that again.
Marcus Aurelius, the force that saw Rome through a plague, put some weight in this sentence when he said, “Bear in mind constantly that all of this has happened before, and will happen again—the same plot from beginning to end, the identical staging. Produce them in your mind, as you know them from experience or…
If the ad nauseam of manic-depressive illness could be acutely and accurately summed up into words, these would be it; I was used to my mind being my best friend; of carrying on endless conversations within my head; of having a built-in source of laughter or analytic thought to rescue me from boring or painful…
Is nature fighting back? Maybe. But how much of that can you control? Very little. I miss hugging my friends. We all do. I miss the coffee dates, the hearty laughs, wind against my face and the white Diani sand on my hand. And what about hopping on a plane? That I miss the most….