I am at a point in the quarantine where it has started to feel safe outside. I wonder if this is the most dangerous part: the assuming that the looming threat is gone because everyone has made it a point to stay home- when they have in fact not done so. It is crazy now our minds start to play tricks on us: the thought of a hug or a handshake can churn my stomach. I don't watch TV like I used to, always worried about where they have walked.
The thing about viruses is that they are in the air. They enter through eyes, noses, mouths. They float suspended waiting for a host. They are the vindictive lover at the bar. They are thirsty and they are patient. How do you keep yourself safe from an enemy that you cannot see, hear, touch, smell. How do you keep your skin to yourself, how do you deprive it of sunshine, air? How do you mitigate the risk that other people are constantly putting you in?
I have said that Covid-19 is the new venereal disease. A new Facebook friend comes forward with a diagnosis and my first thought is: how reckless were you? Who have you touched? A new type of transmission that you are responsible for. Have you told everyone you have been in contact with? Who's air did you breathe in? What lines did you stand in? How do you let the whole world know to retrace your steps because you were wafting poison. How do you recover from the trauma of being a threat?
I have always been a threat. Those who love me say I am magic but I have caused more destruction in my wake than creation, even in my own offspring.
You never recover from knowing you are toxic.
You are never done with the trauma of existing. It is my very humble opinion that we will struggle to heal a world of people who feel responsible for the tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of deaths.
We have people saying that everyone should get sick. China has reopened public locations. I am terrified. It has been clear for a long time that corporate interests have taken a front seat to global politics but this really shows it. Maybe if the virus was in the streets, with black vomit, with blistered skin, we would take notice. Maybe if we had translucent skin and displayed infected lungs, alveoli immobilized by inflammation, we would heed warning. We fall like flies but layers look pretty. I need the cigarette-carton picture. I need us to stop dying in vain. I need to hear people recognize that we simply do not know if we are going to be okay. We don't know the weaknesses that lie within us. We are bridges made of planks and rope that were build millions of years ago, trust me that board is not safe to jump on. You do not know how weak you are.
We talk all the time of a culture where people are victims. Victim mentality. Nothing is your fault. But really we are the complete opposite. We can't even go through a pandemic without someone telling you to get off the couch and do a homework out. Or start a new business. What do you mean you can't make money without working. It's 2020. It's impossible to think that you could actually be able to take care of yourself and your soul without being able to provide for yourself. Everything we have ever done has been ripped out from under us, there is not time to regroup or mourn the lives we had built. We have to get back up, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and trust a government that's asking us to sacrifice a portion of us so that the rest can keep breaking backs in work we fell into in the first place, only this time there is no bacon on a store shelf to bring home.
I, for one, am tired of bacon. I'm tired of expecting the pig to die for me.
You never owed me your life.
And I don't owe you mine.