Taking My Bad News Orally

Updated: In error, I posted that the resorts (hotels) would be closing, too. At present (3/13/2020), the resorts remain open. The parks are scheduled to close Monday, 3/16.

It’s been a little tense here in Orlando this week, culminating last night in the announcement that the two biggest employers/money making enterprises in town–Walt Disney World and Universal Studios–will be closing their theme parks effective Sunday night in response to concerns about this virus/pandemic galloping around the planet. I’m not happy, to put it mildly. Listening to or watching the news makes it worse somehow.

Getting Bad News Via Text vs. TV

I learned after 9/11 that I don’t like television news. People talking about bad news creates an awful lot of anxiety in me. I started gathering my news primarily by reading sometime in 2003-2004. This might be an introvert thing, but my reading brain, connected to my eyes, is a lot more phlegmatic about bad news situations. My emotional brain, apparently, is connected to my ears, and TV news ramps up my anxiety about the state of the world up to 11.

My mother and sister are visiting Orlando in the midst of all this excitement and Mom is staying with me. Mom likes to watch the TV news. After two days of listening to more and more issues–sports, businesses, and even entire states going into lockdown, I’ve reached my saturation point.

If I haven’t had a full-blown anxiety attack, my anxiety is at least getting more bandwidth in my mouth than usual. I’m putting a kibosh on any further TV news.

What’s Really Bothering Me

The actual virus is actually the least of my concerns. It’s the reaction to it that is stressing me out. The shutdowns of large chunks of the economy and government bother me. Hearing talk of individual states potentially closing their borders is worry-making. How much of that is reasonable caution and how much of it is governments taking the excuse of the pandemic to reach for powers they wouldn’t get away with in “peacetime.”

We heard this song after 9/11, too.

I also get leery around large groups of angry or upset people. They don’t act rationally. They can be turned into a mob through unexpected means. And there are jerks out there who would like nothing better than to take advantage of angry mobs with nothing but time on their hands.

No, I don’t have any control over those situations, either. About all I can do is stay away from places where large groups of people are gathering. I will, however, have to buy groceries again eventually. And American grocery stores have not been bastions of rationality, either. (The country is being swept by an upper respiratory illness and the toilet paper shelves are being cleared?)

So, no: I’m not happy with the present situation at all. I’m off alcohol, my primary stress-related anesthetic/coping mechanism. I’m insulated to the extent that I work from home anyway and I just bought a piano keyboard, so I can use my free time to learn a new skill. I’m going to have to take my daily walks somewhere besides Disney property.

Things will sort themselves out, eventually (one hopes), but right now the best thing I can do is take a permanent break from the talking heads…and maybe, eventually, their text-based companions on the internet. Life is too short to be eaten alive by stress.

That’s the report from this side of the Disney property fence. As one of my friends says, be well, and may your gods go with you.

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