Michael here. I have requested that the editor of this website consider my piece for publication, and she has happily accepted it.
7. 7:35. A time parents crave in days like this. Bedtime. My son, Jeffrey, wearing a Spider-Man mask and a batman cape, protested that he was a superhero. Lizzie responded with a profound truth. “Even superheroes have bedtimes.”
6. Earlier that day, I went out to contribute to the local economy. The sign on my establishment of choice, a burger restaurant named Cubby’s, informed me that there was no dine-in option under the circumstances, and I’d have to drive thru or get curbside service. It also informed me that they now closed at 8, meaning the workers go home earlier. At Cubby’s in this time, “even superheroes have bedtimes.”
5. A week ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order. All Californians were “order[ed] … to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed”– an order without an expiration date. For many superheroes who worked long hours and now face an uncertain economic future, they probably took at least some comfort in a normal bedtime.
4. In the midst of the pandemic, a rush to the stores was inevitable, and they were quickly overwhelmed. Eventually Walmart and other grocery stores had to meet demand in wisdom and order and chose to limit their hours to better serve their customers. Greeters, like all superheroes, have bedtimes.
3. Two Fridays back, my family went to my sister-in-law’s. We were there to see our shared babysitter, who would be shortly leaving us to wait out the pandemic with her in-laws. We had to try to explain to two three-year-olds what was happening. Every bedtime is a departure, and, with the babysitter’s departure, it was another example of what Lizzie later told Jeffrey: “even superheroes have bedtimes.”
2. March 12. COVID-19 was the talk of my state, but I wasn’t fundamentally changing my behavior just yet. Then my faith directed that almost all church gatherings be “temporarily suspended worldwide until further notice.” Recognizing that if my church wasn’t safe from coronavirus, the public transit I took home wouldn’t be either, my wife drove to my work to pick me up that afternoon– 50 minutes each way. I haven’t been into the office since, and have teleworked instead. I have, however, helped my wife get enough sleep while we juggle two boys and a full-time job. She needs the sleep. After all, even superheroes have bedtimes.
1. I became interested in the coronavirus that apparently originated from a bat interacting with a meat market in Wuhan, China earlier than most Americans. As of now, Wuhan has been the biggest source of infection caused by COVID-19, and it likely would have been even more spread had the Chinese government not directed millions to stay at home. One of these millions is a superhero, another one of my sisters-in-law. Her love of adventure has led her to teach English and study at a University a few hours from Wuhan. For approximately two months now, she has engaged in what we all now call “social distancing” and she remains healthy. I’m sure the absence of a nightlife has led this college student to be one of now billions who recognize that even superheroes have bedtimes.