For a moment.
I’ve taken to scrolling through Twitter at 3am when I can’t sleep. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be looking at my phone screen when trying to sleep. I know all those things, yet I still reach for my phone when it seems sleep will not come.
Most of the time I read a lot about writing, what are writers doing (instead of writing), little writer themed games (which, let’s be honest, are very loosely related to writing), and swapping unintelligent insults about the current administration (they come from both sides).
At best, I feel good about all the supportive comments I see for someone who posted about a hardship of some sort. The person might be having a bad day and Twitter comes to their aid! It is pretty cool to have so much support from people you don’t know in real life.
I have never personally felt this support, mind you, but I have witnessed it enough to know it exists. Everything I put out there gets sucked into a hollow void.
At worst, I have seen terrible comments posted to people, which I can only attribute to the anonymous nature of online interactions. I have to believe that these people would not say such hurtful things to others in person and it really saddens me that people feel it is OK to do so online. The screen prevents us from remembering a person is behind that Twitter username.
Because of cancelled events, attractions being closed, and schools being cancelled, I have been increasingly worried about the people who do not have enough money to make it for the length of time it will take for us to be in close proximity again. I understand the logic behind social distancing and fully support any measure that will allow our healthcare personnel to treat everyone who does get infected, but it does have some very real consequences.
While most people are posting about the lack of toilet paper and soap in grocery stores, there are people who cannot pay their electric bill, medical bills, rent, or car payments. They work hourly with no insurance, sick time, or paid time off and live paycheck to paycheck. They did not ask to not be at work, but they are not working just the same. While some awesome people (athletes and CEOs) have stepped up to help people in their direct community who might need a bit of assistance to get through this time, there are still many – too many – who will not be able to recover quickly, if at all, from this financial blow.
Parents whose work has not closed are scrambling trying to figure out what to do about their child(ren) who is no longer in school. Or trying to figure out how to feed their child(ren) because they are reliant on school meals.
It is not a simple situation to call for social distancing. But, during my 3am Twitter scroll, I found the most beautiful thread because of it.
A post from Shea Serrano offered to pay a bill of anyone who posted in his thread and is affected by the shutdowns caused by COVID-19 concerns. While it began as just a way to make “things feel less shitty for an hour or so,”according to the article I found from Now This, it sparked a wave of giving from seemingly average people who tried to help where they could. They gave $20 or $200+, but the reason it was so beautiful wasn’t the amount they gave, it was that they were so willing to help someone who they have never met.
People were Venmoing what they could to people who had bills they couldn’t pay. Nobody asked them if they were legit and nobody scoffed the people who gave. It was a beautiful thread of people asking for help and others responding with “I’ve got you.”
I know there is someone out there who thinks the people who gave money are naïve, bleeding hearts who just gave away their money to a stranger who probably didn’t even need it. That person would be missing the point.
The point – the reason why I felt like this was perhaps the most beautiful Twitter thread I have ever come across personally (I’m sure there are more – I hope), was exactly because nobody questioned the motives of anyone in the thread, people just stepped up and helped if they could.
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