I have heard it more than once, “China set the example for how to stop this pandemic.” What that means? The people who horded food and other provisions will be the ones more likely to survive. Extreme measures were taken in China. People had their doors nailed shut from the outside so they could not leave their apartments. The number of cases hidden. Doctors were silenced because their openness about the illness making the country look bad. Countries continue to follow a path and the United States is no different. I have a friend that says he is leaving town if martial law is declared. The problem with that thinking is that when it is announced, it’s too late. There are rumors of interstate travel bans and the country going into lockdown. The CDC recommended an 8-week shutdown of all nonessential businesses and services.
John Oliver, TV host and comedian from the UK, recorded a show with no audience or background. They filmed in a white room, like the one Neo woke up in while training in the Matrix. No laugh track was used. The jokes lost much of their punch. Without someone there to validate his humor the show was flat and empty. He made valid points but without an audience what was the purpose? That appears to be our lives these days, living for the sake of living with few people to share the experience with. Should this be so difficult? Wasn’t this what our ancestors did before a hundred years ago, before cellphones and internet, a time when the newspaper and radio were the only sources of outside information. Man has lost its ability to function without electronic tools like the laptop I am writing this post on. I prefer a typewriter, a machine with one purpose and function. The laptop is designed to distract making any task take longer than it needs, taking us away from what really matters.
Yesterday I went for a hike in the woods with my family. My daughter crying that she wanted to go home and my wife losing her mind unable to enjoy the hour we had walking along the stream. I remember when this wasn’t difficult, when a child could find something to play with and enjoy. There is a hope that this will bring us back closer to what is really important. The stock market dropped another 3000 points today and while the talking heads on the television were discussing a depression or market volatility most people I know didn’t care. Already poor or accepting that their retirement was gone last week there is little apathy for a system that repeatedly screwed them over time and time again.
I have a feeling that my three-week mandatory leave will be extended and that we have not seen the end of things to come. The National Guard is already an hour north from me in Grand Rapids handing out food to those who could not afford to run to the store. Humvees should spray paint “free candy” on the sides while building the trust of those who may be locked away later for curfew violations or congregating in groups of ten or more. We are living in a dystopian novel and while China acted out 1984 America is heading towards It Can’t Happen Here.
The disease is real, I have no doubt about that. The opportunity to use it for some other end is there. The odd thing is that no matter who we vote for, the end will turn out the same. The gears are turning and the person who ends up in that oval office will do the same thing regardless of promises made on the podium. I don’t know the exact path we are on but Iran is digging mass graves, Italy can not keep up with the number of cases in their fully modern healthcare system, the UK is finishing their breakup with the EU by closing their borders completely, and even Mexico is not letting Americans in as an odd twisted revenge handed down by fate. America will put its own twist on it as we do with all things. We might have crematoriums instead of mass graves to create jobs. Interstate travel might be banned while counties do the same thing per state. At this point the government can do what it wants since they declared a national emergency, at such a time all civil rights are suspended. Throw in the NDAA and Patriot Act and well, you sir, are shit out of luck. What is surprising is the number of conspiracy theorists that have not used this virus to argue their agenda. I remember a time when Agenda 21 was a common topic. Somehow everyone became so fixated on this virus that these theories about a New World Order and martial law had been forgotten while the plot of a poorly written dystopian novel acts out in our own lives.
Target was silent today. Long lines extended out from the three aisles the store had open. A girl walked around cleaning the debit card reader between every interaction using window cleaner. I shook my head and ignored her when she asked if I would like the machine cleaned before use. Two aisles of cleaning material that kill 99.9 percent of germs and she uses glass polish with a brown paper towel. Just infect me now why don’t you? Get it over with? Everyone from the federal government to the supermarket do not appear to be taking this pandemic seriously and I am mentally exhausted. Is that the point, to ware us down so that we will just go alone with anything in the end?
After this the world will try to come together. One currency will be suggested along with wiping away the debt. Surveillance will be the new normal, although it already is. Medical records will be public knowledge for the safety of all. Thought police will make social justice warriors look like the internet trolls they are.
I think about these things. I could be a task to try to make sense of all of this, hoping that there is some plan, no matter how evil it would be, that was set in motion for some purpose. We have a desire for fate. Answers for those things that randomly happen. The longer this goes on the less random it is and the more people become responsible. People are dying and this will continue. When it is over there will be a push to move on and try to forget what happened without forgetting the lesson learned of washing your hands. The government will pat themselves on the back talking about how great their response was and how many lives they saved. Bills will be passed to make sure nothing like that will happen again, even though it will, and you will lose more rights for the sake of some deranged utopia.
Then I wake up. Its all a dream. I’m still here in my bedroom with a crying child on the other side of the wall and bills coming in the mail. Regardless of the fantasy world we create for ourselves to make sense of the mess our lives are there is a reality that pulls us back in. The coronavirus is not here yet in my county at least but the rest of the people around me act like it is and maybe that will be our saving grace. I hope that this virus is just a simple bug that we can figure out and forget about in the end. It’s appearing to be something more, a life changing phenomenon that will be with us the rest of our lives. The past two weeks have felt like 9-11 every single day. I didn’t realize what was happening that day and weeks later I was still processing it. It wasn’t until months later that my 21-year-old mind comprehended what had happened. People I knew where going to war and a president I didn’t vote for was turning the country into a fully divided two party system. Every morning I wake up and have to remind myself that this is the apocalypse and that my daughter needs her diaper changed, the baby needs to be fed, and unless I feel like being a total psycho for the rest of the day, I need to make some coffee. At least in the end we still get to have coffee, so I have that going for me.