So far, the best quote I’ve read about the coronavirus crisis is by science journalist Ed Yong, in an article he wrote for The Atlantic. He says, “There are now only two groups of Americans. Group A includes everyone involved in the medical response, whether that’s treating patients, running tests, or manufacturing supplies. Group B includes everyone else, and their job is to buy Group A more time.”

Buy them more time. Buy more time for doctors, nurses, hospitals, ventilators.

And how do we buy them this valuable time? “Group B must now ‘flatten the curve’ by physically isolating themselves from other people to cut off chains of transmission.” That means social distancing. Parking our butts inside our homes unless it is absolutely necessary to go outside. Staying 6 feet away from people who aren’t in our little quarantine family units. (Tip: The average dog leash length is 6 feet, so stay a dog-leash length away.)

It’s hard, I know that. I’m a natural homebody and even I am starting to crawl up the walls a bit. (Now I know what the dog feels like when she’s crated.) The statewide stay-at-home order will help, sure. But we don’t have soldiers outside our houses enforcing this. It’s all voluntary. It’s all on us. And it’s hard. There are things I want to pop into the store to grab. I miss my friends. I could be going on dates with some real charming cuties right now, but instead I’m staying in my house.

I’ve been thinking about my grandmother. I’ve written about her before. She passed away almost two years ago. She had a sudden, massive stroke in Newark Airport on her way home from visiting family. She was unconscious by the time they got her to the hospital. I saw her die. I was there in the hospital room, in New Jersey, when they took her off the ventilator. (I’ve been thinking about that ventilator. The noise it made. The nonstop use it will be getting over the next few months.) As deaths go, it was what most of us hope for – quick, painless, surrounded by family.

Unlike coronavirus, nobody saw her stroke coming. Unlike coronavirus, there wasn’t anything I could do to prevent it. I will stay inside and read a zillion books and watch documentaries until I’m in my 30s if it means preventing even one grammy from dying before her time.

I’ve also been thinking about “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” (To be fair, I’m pretty much always thinking about “Lord of the Rings.”) There’s a part, near the end of the movie, where our main characters realize that the only hope of saving the world lies with two exhausted hobbits, named Frodo and Sam, sneaking up to a volcano-fortress (called, very subtly, Mount Doom) and destroying the cursed ring. A thousand miles away, with no communication, Aragorn (heir to the throne of Gondor and another main character) realizes that will work only if the dark lord Sauron is distracted. So Aragorn and his ragtag, worn-out army charge the forces of darkness, which outnumber the good guys by at least 10-to-1, having a slim chance of victory, not knowing if their sacrifice will be worth it in the end, putting themselves on the line for the sole purpose of buying their friends more time to accomplish their mission.

They succeed, of course. And so will we. We are the army of Gondor and Rohan.

When I started this column yesterday, I was fine. This morning, I woke up with a fever and aches. I don’t have any of the tell-tale respiratory symptoms of coronavirus, and after taking some acetaminophen, I feel a bit better (although still sort of blah.) It might be coronavirus, it might just be a random bug. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I can feel proud that I’ve taken myself out of society and removed myself as a potential vector.

Don’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you can get by without doing it, don’t do it. Order some books online from a local independent bookstore (we have plenty). Donate to the Good Shepherd Food Bank. Indulge in many naps.

To all the Maine businesses stepping up to add their efforts to fight the pandemic because the government has dropped the ball: Thank you. And to all the doctors, nurses, CNAs, hospital staff, grocery store workers and truckers who are keeping our society going right now: You are heroes. We won’t forget that.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainemillennial

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