I always thought I’d be a scientist. As a kid in the mid-60s, I was thrilled by the space program and the first walks on the moon. In junior high, the local newspaper featured the light rail-type transportation system I and my team invented in a school competition. Biology held my wandering focus like no other high school subject. And when I started college, I was accepted into MSU’s Lyman Briggs Residential College for sciences. I wanted to be a biological engineer and develop “replacement parts” for failed limbs and organs. Despite following a very different career path than my young self imagined, 40 years later and I’m still looking at things under a microscope. These days, though, I’m intently observing my every cough, throat itch and fever fluctuation. I analyze the chemical content of my remaining stash of household cleaners. I consider making my own sanitizer using what little whiskey is left in the cupboard (nope, not going to waste it on my hands). Especially, I examine my rollicking roller coaster of emotions, aiming to maintain some remnants of a measured, scientific outlook as COVID-19 tears apart our lives. The science-lover in me is admittedly fascinated by the evolution and power of this virus. I read articles, question sources, cross-check data and try to develop an educated, balanced view. Yet when fear spears my bubble, I splash onto the ground in a puddle of scared shock and sadness. So many deaths, so much loss, such sacrifice and sorrow. I want to hug my mom but we only get window visits as she’s restricted to her assisted living room (though she sometimes gets to play hallway bingo). When my fear is spurred by the actions of others, I turn my microscope in their direction, it’s my weapon against their guns, trying to dissect their hearts and minds to understand behaviors and beliefs so different from mine. Some people seem perfectly willing to risk other’s lives as well as their own. We share this planet? Wow. My fear turns to anger, and everything blurs out of focus in a rush of frustration. Sometimes I just want to burrow beneath the blankets. But I feel I must try to find common ground. So…I do believe we all want comfort. So, back to the microscope.
Under a Microscope
Reading Time: 2 minutes