The Apocalypse Is Here
Haha no but really though.
When I started blogging (April 24, 2001), I never thought I’d blog the apocalypse. I was so young. So innocent.
Of course people talk about the Flu of 1918. I never took them seriously. It was ancient history. We have better medicine now, better health care in general.
I was so fucking stupid.
Dear future me, future generations reading this, it’s the Coronavirus.
The quarantine happened so slowly and quickly at once, like living through an avalanche. At the beginning of the week we were still living our regular lives, mostly. By Wednesday, places were closing down and schools were holding massive board meetings to discuss this. Thursday evening San Diego Unified stated that they would remain open until local health care leaders told them otherwise since they knew most about the virus. Local leaders said they’d leave it up to the districts because they knew what was best for their children. This is pretty much how everything is going in general right now, nobody knows what’s happening and everyone else is responsible. Later that night the teacher’s union was like “Uh nope” and by Friday all schools were announcing closures.
It just felt like the ground was sliding away from us and we were grappling to hold on.
And now the United States government is quite literally stating that they will just let people die rather than risk the stock market. And this isn’t just Trump. Turns out the US government was briefed on all of this back in January and instead of acting in the name of public health, they sold their stocks in things like airlines and bought stock in things like online meeting platforms. And this isn’t just republicans. Here in San Diego, Scott Peters and Susan Davis were caught doing this insider trading.
So things are a mess, obviously. But I want to talk about what this feels like.
It feels fucking scary is what it feels like.
For one thing, this is entirely new. Never before in all of human history has the entire world shut down for a quarantine. We don’t have precedent for this, but we know it’s fucking huge.
The information about this virus itself is confusing and scary. At first we were told it’s not as severe a the flu, now we are seeing young people taken down with it in huge numbers. But there are also invisible carriers who don’t get any symptoms. We were told to avoid ibuprofen and other NSAIDs because they worsen this virus and then we were told they didn’t know why they told us that but they never actually said it’s FINE to take ibuprofen. We were told this is a respiratory thing, not a digestive thing, but now it’s also digestive. The new symptom this week is a loss of smell not associated with congestion. Like. What? This flurry of facts alone is frightening.
We are alone, not allowed to touch. We are afraid of an invisible enemy, floating unseen, coating surfaces for literal days. The government had to close beaches and parks because people would not stop congregating there; photos taken at the beach last weekend look like a regular summer in San Diego – it was packed.
I don’t know. There aren’t answers for this because nobody has ever been through this. It’s scary. We don’t know what’s happening, how we will get through this – many of us wonder if we will get through this – or what happens when this is over.
In terms of apocalypses, this is probably one of the better ones. Nuclear holocaust is something I hope I never have to see, for instance.
This is what it feels like. Way back on 9/11, we saw our nation attacked. That morning, as planes were falling from the sky all over the place, and we didn’t know where the next attack might occur, we felt the trauma of the privileged – war had finally come home and we didn’t know what would happen next. Not much, it turned out. Not here, that is. Too many of us, settled back into our comfortable American existence, still living the lies of the former midcentury: the the US is a powerful and benevolent nation which will ultimately keep us safe and thriving.
I would pay cash money to go back to that protected, privileged life.
But it was always a lie anyway.
I hope that we learn from this. I hope we make the world better after this. I am afraid, though. I’m afraid we won’t. And also? I’m simply afraid.