I keep writing about pandemic living, and how could I not?
It’s in my face everyday. From the first notification on my cell phone in the morning, to every news report and email I come across throughout my day.
It’s on the faces of all my friends and all the family I video chat with. It’s on my neighbors’ faces as we all walk around our community in an attempt at getting some fresh air and exercise. We all just want to get out of the house for a bit.
Other writers and content creators voice (and pen) concerns about not wanting to take advantage of this societal halt.
Perhaps they are inundated by the in-your-face-ness of it all.
If those concerns happen to arrive within me, I push them out of my mind as quickly as they come. The world is different now.
Why shouldn’t I document what I see? Why shouldn’t I reflect and relate? Why not allow the muse’s juices to flow as they will?
So I express my thoughts, responses, and emotional states.
Humanity has never encountered a shared experience quite like this COVID-19 outbreak.
Today we have interconnectivity unknown to our ancestors. Through it and the various forms of technology available to us we’ve been able to witness this slow-motion trainwreck.
China, Europe, New York, and now it’s spreading through other metropolitan and rural communities. Idris Elba, Tom Hanks, Kevin Durant, and so far, none that close to home.
My family and I self-quarantine and practice social distancing in the optimistic hope that this plague will pass over us like a plague during the Passover of biblical times.
So far I’ve been able to watch some of my favorite artists and musicians perform works from their living rooms and home studios. I’ve discovered new acts I would have otherwise missed as well.
These virtual concerts and shows allow me a front row seat that I wouldn’t have otherwise been allowed or able to afford. Previous paradigms of exclusivity have all been eliminated.
I no longer have to hear other concert goers yapping and yelling while I attempt to listen to a performance. I no longer have to resist the distractions of the herd recording the show on their phones instead of just enjoying it.
The fact remains that we are more physically separated than ever.
I went to the store yesterday wearing a mask that I might have previously only seen worn by a criminal or a vigilante…and I wasn’t the only one.
I can’t even smile at other people now, so I attempt to make up for it with manners and waves.
Despite all this—or maybe in light of all of it—I feel more connected to my family, friends, and world than I ever have felt before. I certainly miss the comfort of continuity, but I’m creating a new way of life that works.
When this whole thing blows over I hope I remember the lessons I’m learning from the experience of this pandemic.
I would like to remember all the kindness I’ve seen and felt, all the generosity, and all of the gratitude I’m witnessing in myself and others.
We always are, always have been, and always will be, in this together, even when it doesn’t always seem that way. I would very much like to take all of this shared experience with me into the future, even if everything goes back to normal.
By John Andreula
Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk