One of the reasons I decided to start blogging again is because of COVID-19. I’m supposed to be a professional writer, but most of my clients have shut down their businesses for the foreseeable future, so if I’m going to write anything it’s going to be for myself. It’s a shame I don’t pay very well, but the freedom is nice.
The other reason I brought back my blog is that I realized my writing is important, at least to me, as something of a historical record. I’m slowly adding old work back to the archive. Right now, the oldest posts date back to 2001, which, if you’re terrible with math, is nineteen goddamn years ago. This is my meager record of one way to live on the planet Earth.
It occurred to me that the audience for posts about COVID-19 might be people from the future. Maybe they want to know what it was like to be human, way back when everybody was locked inside, alone, to stop themselves from killing each other. Or maybe they want to know what life on Earth was like before that kind of thing became normal.
There’s a Plague Going ‘Round
If you want to understand life in the crosshairs of COVID-19, honestly, it’s not that bad. Unless you’re short on toilet paper.
You don’t see your neighbors as often, but when you do catch a person’s eyes for a second, it feels good. Better than normal. People are kinder, now; more considerate; their smiles are more genuine. As always, times of strife bring out the best in the humans, and for the most part they’re doing okay.
Of course, none of that is worth the pain and loss that a growing few of us are having to endure. At the time of this writing, over 100,000 people have died to this disease, which is way too many, way too quickly. Maybe in your world of the future that’s a small number, but we have a population of about 7.8 billion and 100,000 feels like a whole lot.
Alternatively, maybe you guys have cured death, and the idea of even one person suffering brings a tear to your eye. We feel that way, too, here in 2020. There are sobering moments when we remember what’s going on in overfull hospitals and bedsides around the world. It sucks.
As for me, personally, my lifestyle is very quarantine-compatible, I’m healthy enough, and I’m playing more videogames than normal. The government is paying my rent, so I get to take on projects like resurrecting my old blog. It’s hard to complain, but I worry about my parents. It’s my mom’s birthday today, but I can’t see her for fear I might infect her. She’s in her mid 70s and has serious lung problems as it is. Every day I think about the idea that one irresponsible asshole has the power to kill her by forgetting to wash their hands. I try not to think about it too much, though.
Life After Death
Maybe you’re here because you live in a future where people over sixty don’t exist, and grocery stores are exclusively on your phones because humans couldn’t be trusted not to wipe their noses all over cartons of eggs (assuming you guys still eat eggs, which, if not, it’s too complicated to get into right now). If you live in a future where April 2020 seems normal, or even nice, you might want to know what life was like for the last generation of free-range human beings. I’m not an expert, but I’ll tell you what I know.
I went on a camping trip, once, where full-grown men put together a hopscotch tournament and, after a few beers, gave it everything they had. Some time later, I sat on a balcony with a girl and her mother, belting the hits of the 80s and 90s into the open air for an audience of disgruntled neighbors. There was beer involved in that one, too. I spent a night wandering the streets with a homeless guy who stole my iPod. I had sex in tall grass, under the stars. Not with the homeless guy. I walked several dogs that weren’t mine. I helped countless little old ladies reach stuff on the high shelves at the supermarket.
I miss all of that shit. I’m probably going to miss the whole summer this year, outright, but for the record, I think skipping one summer is well worth it right now. If your future reality is bleak, I’m really sorry, but I tried my best. Most of us did.