Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Virus and the People

Last Retreat at Walburga

The hum of air conditioners almost lull you to sleep. You remember the oceans. The dirty, technicolor-skied Atlantic. The ferocious Pacific, the lukewarm Gulf of Mexico, and the Arabian Sea that you would never enter. You are here with your memories taking a different shape during quarantine. You are a hermit. At first it did not matter much, although you longed for the library in all its facets. The panic at grocery stores wafted past your recognition. Strange what was important then. Bunker down. Paper up. Disinfectants still out of supply. Food and drinks swept away as if a multitude of bombs were approaching. The sky floated about nearly green trees. It was residents that extinguished normalcy.

Upstate New York is favored by a smaller population and country roads. Students fled and it was an early summer calm. The medieval procession of the dead in refrigerator trucks dispersed in Manhattan to keep truths at bay. Death tolls must remain abstract and not seen. After Memorial Day, all bets are off. Sloppiness returns. Summer fun overrides pandemic caution. The cars on main thoroughfares speed up as confidence returns. Ithaca Center opens. Bathrooms and a seat. Seating comes out in grocery stores allowing the carless respite. Garbage comes back to the streets and hallways. The dead and dying are out of reach.

Unlike cholera, the stricken do not drop in the street; the stench and appalling visuals are not visible. You must look for those turned on their stomach on respirators or read about the afflicted who survived. There are support groups for the newly recovered. Unless family or friends developed the coronavirus, you often feel unaffected. The masks come off. People gather in unhealthy crowds. In New York, the governor is persistent in keeping his state safe. Masks go back on at the end of summer when threats of hefty fines are enacted. Such is the faulty human race, swirling like dervishes, either slow or fast. The meditative state cannot last.

Your view of South Hill, the dancing sunlight on and between tree tops keep the spirit up. Some friends prove themselves unavailable, others are vigilant, caring. New friends take their place. All can be revealed in such situations. A clearer idea of human relationships; the uses and downfall of the Internet; the heartless scammers growing like bacteria. Such low persons quadruple. Spam callers, sms phishing, hackers and other creatures grow in number having nothing better to give the world. You check your own conscience. Being a rambler, being caught in the net of immobility, you must address yourself in ways that did not happen when all distractions were available. You hope NYC rights itself. Rents could drop. Subway ridership lowered could prove beneficial. In the end, these are conjectures. Who knows what all this will result in? The world as we knew it has changed and is mostly irreversible. Better to err on the side of munificence. Dystopia is so unappealing.