Paranoia Strikes Deep

Into Your Life It Will Creep…

It’s one of the great lines from the classic song For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield.

And until yesterday, that’s all it was, a line from a song.

But I guess subconsciously all this talk about the coronavirus finally got to me.

We were sitting around our apartment watching the last episode of Collateral, and I thought I felt a little warm. I stood up to turn on the air conditioner, which is quite unusual for me. My wife even made a remark to that effect.

Of course, a thousand thoughts were running through my mind.

Did I have a temperature?

Did that mean I had the coronavirus?

Did that mean I would be quarantined?

Did it mean my wife and son would get it too?

How would I be able to finish my semester of teaching?

When would I be able to go home?

The questions were coming at me nonstop.

So I thought – I need to put an end to this.

I announced to my wife and son that I was going to walk over to the building where I teach because there were thermal scanners at the entrance that everyone had to walk through. They agreed to come with me, but I’m sure there were now a thousand questions and thoughts running through their minds.

We walked over to the building, but not too quickly. I didn’t want an above-average temperature just because I walked too fast in 90-degree weather.

We arrived at the building and I left my wife and son outside as I began heading towards the thermal scanners.

I walked as slowly as I could, just to make sure the security guards were paying attention as I walked through.

My thoughts now were – what happens if my temperature is elevated? Do they immediately escort me somewhere for further testing? Would they also take my wife and son? Would they start asking me about where I’ve been, who I’ve been in contact with? Again, a million thoughts swirling through my mind, in just the space of 20 feet; five seconds at most.

As I passed through the scanners, one of the security guards waved me through, and that was it.

I went over to say hello to the woman at the front desk whom I have gotten to know over the past month. I didn’t want anyone to notice that I just walked into the building and immediately turned around. What kind of weirdo does that?

So after a couple of minutes, I texted my wife and son and told them that I was being detained for further observation.

I waited a couple of seconds and then I walked outside grinning.

It was over.

And we all breathed a sigh of relief.

I’ve really got to cut back on how much news I read.

I’ve got to stop thinking that anyone who sneezes has the virus. that holding onto an escalator railing is going to spread the virus, or that a crowded elevator is a breeding ground for the virus.

Thankfully, we all feel great. And we’ve been pretty diligent about taking proper measures to avoid catching or spreading the virus. And Singapore has been the gold standard in terms of how to manage the virus.

So I just need to take a few deep breaths and stop my imagination from running wild…

But Stephen Stills, who wrote For What It’s Worth, was right on target.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep…

Here’s the song; the referenced lyric is at 1:53.

*image from Royal Queen Seeds

28 thoughts on “Paranoia Strikes Deep

  1. You seemed much less worried than I was for you, so it helps to know that at some point you had those thoughts too. I was surprised you kept them at bay so well. It is doubly hard to not be concerned when you have the family in tow. Just continue best practices, don’t let the paranoia get you, and have fun! You’ll be missing Singapore before you know it, so make the most of it!

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  2. I tend to get very paranoid when I’m sick and Google my symptoms till I’m even more scared and paranoid so this was very relatable. Hope you’re feeling better!

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  3. Suspenseful. Well written. Definitely a must read!

    Hahaha… sounds like a blurb for a novel. In any case, you had me at the edge of my seat here. For a moment there I thought you have been posting this from a quarantine zone. It’s good to hear that your fear was false, and it was good of you to resolve it quickly, instead of letting it sit and stew.

    I have been sneezing quite a lot, but mostly due to dust. Fortunately, people don’t usually flee and scatter away from me because of it. Hahaha…

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  4. Phew, but I could feel your thoughts, Jim. I sent my Mum a picture of a new Virgin cruise ship in port at the moment and her reply ‘I hope it doesn’t get quarantined’. Fear spreads so fast…. hugs for you all. x

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  5. wow, and i can understand how that could happen. we have a large group of high school boarding students at my school. a large group of them are from china and they can not travel there, nor can their families visit them here. with spring break weeks coming up, when this usually happens all teachers and families have been asked to offer to take them in, so they won’t be alone in the dorms. it must be such a hard time for them.

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  6. Gosh Jim, I think we’re all feeling a little paranoid for sure. The first thing I do when entering to lecture is spray my keyboard and area. Not sure how you are feeling being in the east, but you are right, Singapore is the gold standard on how to manage and contain this virus. I too have been reading far too much, and there is so much conflicting information to sift through. A good lesson on sources. Glad you’re well. Good post!

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    1. thanks, Shelly (I hope that is your name! πŸ™‚ ) I didn’t think about cleaning the area around where I teach – my wife just got me in the habit of cleaning my cell phone. Baby steps…
      As to being in Singapore, in some ways I feel safer here than perhaps back in the U.S. because of how obsessed they seem to be with controlling the virus. The government seems quite transparent with regards to the virus. I’m sure your students, like mine, have been reading a lot about it as well.

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      1. Baby steps for sure Jim. Your phone is a great start. That’s a common carrier, and we have it with us all the time. I think you’re right about Singapore and appreciate their level of transparency as well. All the best! Shelley (with an e) πŸ™‚

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