We all know about stress. It is the body’s and the mind’s reaction to difficulty around us. Often, when I think I am stressed, I try to imagine what it must have been like during the Black Plague, or to be on a chopper about to hit the DZ in the Ia Drang Valley, or trying to take care of your family during the Turnip Winter. So what if my deductible hasn’t been met yet when I see the dentist; at least I wasn’t just loaded onto a cattle car headed for Poland.
I believe our population is under stress at the moment for a lot of reasons. Our head of state is a dangerous idiot. Our intellectual and spiritual health is unbalanced. Our planet is being poisoned.
In my own circle, many staff members at my newspaper are ill this winter, including me last week, and beginning again last night. I imagine part of that is that our business, which we value and cherish, is backed into a corner, and the future is uncertain. I feel our ownership is like Kodak’s ownership, unable to see the future and insistent until very recently that “people will always need newspapers.”
The Los Angeles Times was just sold to a billionaire, heralded initially as a move forward and out from under an unpleasant relationship to present owner Tronc.
Anyway, I am sick. I often go years without using a sick day, and suddenly I took two last week, and am home again today. I have an upper respiratory tract infection without fever, so I’m thinking rhinovirus. I probably could have worked in the office today, but everyone seems to be getting sick over and over, so staying home might break that cycle.
Another stressor for me last night was a poorly-forecast ice storm. The weather called for “icy in spots,” but by the time I was done shooting basketball at Latta, it was insanely slick, so much so that I even had some difficulty walking to my car. The scanner was loaded with “subject slid off the road” traffic, and on at least one occasion during my drive home, the wind blew my car sideways on the ice. Every brake check was met with anti-lock brake chatter.
My normally 10 minute drive took almost 40, and I never broke 30mph.