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The world is definitely coming to an end. I cleaned my apartment. Not quick swipes to get the dust bunnies to hop away, or lame wipes of counter tops, but an all out, full assault, top to bottom cleaning. I would say I'm not sure what came over me to undertake the one thing I don't like to do, but I know what is responible and its name is Covid-19. Some call it Coronavirus. Others, The Novel Coronavirus. I call it that bleepity-bleep.

Glory has been cleaning my home for over two decades. She cleans mom's apartment at her ALF too. Well, she used to. Since the bleepity-bleep has befallen us and mom is staying with me, I cannot allow anyone in my home. This includes Glory.

Wipe those crocodile tears. I know this is a first world problem but I work hard and I don't like to clean. Glory has been a mainstay in my life for over twenty years. I watched her raise her son. I helped her study for the U.S. citizens test. I've heard about her trips home to Colombia. I've watched her experience ups and downs in her love life. She's seen people come and go in my life as well. We've become family. So it was very difficult last week when I told her not to come for her usual every other Thursday cleaning. No visitors are allowed to mom's ALF so that's out too.

I feel terrible about this. One Thursday has come and gone and I sent her payment for my apartment and for mom's even though she didn't clean. When I told her I was going to send her a check, she asked, "how do I get paid for something I don't do?" The answers I wanted to give seemed simple but in truth were complicated. Because you didn't create this situation. Because it feels right. Because it's the human thing to do. But I offered no explanation. I just put the check in the mail. 

Now I am wondering, do I keep paying her?

There are many considerations to be had in this decision. The biggest being, I don't know what my future financial situation will look like. I am working at home and being paid by the state attorney's office, so that's good. But is there a chance that will change? Could state workers be furloughed? Bears have taken over the stock market. There is more downturn to come. With the bleepity-bleep affecting every aspect of the world--including commerce--what will happen to the cost of everyday necessities? 

The state of the world today is not the fault of those who have made our everyday lives richer and now find their businesses closed or in dire straits. I spoke to Alma the other day. She runs my favorite Greek restaurant across the street from the courthouse. It was their last day. As I wished her and her family good health and safety, I wondered if this mom-and-pop gem would ever reopen. Last week, I received a text from Porscha, the manager at my gym. "Sunshine," it said, "we're closing but we will be back." Red Effect is a national franchise so I imagine she is correct. They will be back. But I wonder how the trainers will make ends meet. One of the personal trainers is also in the chorus for the Slow Burn Theater at the Broward Center for Performing Arts. She is out of two jobs.

I think of all the people who face financial uncertainty and whose jobs and businesses depend upon a world that is open. Who knew a city, a state, a country could be closed? (How do you do this anyway? Is there a giant sign on the front door?) Most of us are doing the right thing and staying home. No more early morning drop offs and picks ups at the local dry cleaners. No more lunch time crowds to keep our favorite standing-room-only cafes open. The small businesses, the independent contractors, the people who have worked hard to achieve their dreams of independence, are out of luck and out of work. Some will rebound, many will not. What we do know is the corporations will thrive. Publix. CVS. Walmart. They have the ability to adapt. If they find themselves in financial trouble, I'm sure there will be a corporate economic bailout. But what of the Almas and Porschas and Glorys of the world? Who will bail them out?

I'm sure Glory is struggling. Having someone clean your house is, after all, one of the first things to cut during an economic downturn, and most certainly during an infectious pandemic. We also have to remember that once this is over the rebound will not happen quickly. It will take time for businesses to reopen and for people to trust going out into the world again without wearing masks, without opening doors with tissues, and without washing our hands each time we enter, each time we exit. I heard it takes at least two years after an economic slaughter to rebound. I have not heard any statistics on how long it takes after a pandemic. I imagine the economic rebound will occur more quickly than the emotional one. 

Will I keep paying Glory? Of course, I will. As long as I am being paid, Glory will be paid. If that should end, what will I do? I hope that's a decision I never have to make.  

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Joanne Lewis Blog