These aren’t essays, they’re dispatches. An essay has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. It is a piece to camera, the middle of a debate, or a persuasive paper. This is just a memorial, a time capsule, a record of where we were.
It’s been seven weeks, it could be more or less for you, seven weeks since the world got smaller. So small you could fit it in a thimble for a lot of people. For me, it is small enough you could fit it into the Aerium south of Berlin. You’ve already seen my ruminating about what it means to be “essential,” but the world is wider than that. As I type this over 76,000 people, in the US, have died from COVID-19. That is nearly the population of Bend, Oregon, or Napa, California (cities you have likely heard of) or 13% of the population of Wyoming (an entire state). There seems to be little slow-down in those numbers. The current estimate is a 9/11 death toll every day by the beginning of June, continuing until… sometime.
A lot of things haven’t changed. Officer-involved shootings are basically the same, despite many people sheltering in place. The current administration is enforcing its immigration policy on people who they don’t think belong here, even if they’re medical practitioners in the state with the most infections and deaths. Landlords are leeches. For some reason, we’re still trying to overthrow Venezuela (oil, it’s because of the oil). I want to remember all of this. This crisis might end one day, but I want it to all be cataloged somewhere.
I want to see my friends again. I want to hang out with the new friends I’ve made. I want to go to bars. Hell, I might even want to got to a venue and see a concert, a thing I stopped doing years ago. Let’s be alive together, again, simply to prove that we are alive. I want sports back. I want to ride the bus, normally. I want to stop fearing every cough, every bad morning, every slight increase in warmth. But I don’t want to do that at the cost of more suffering.
The headline for this post came from a conversation I had about a friend of mine, her car got broken into and the only thing they stole was her masks. She was able to get a new replacement mask, but I think it demonstrates how broken things are. Many people have to resort to crime to even feel safe. They did before this, too. That’s the thing I want you to remember, and to use as your stepping stone for the future. This country failed us years ago, but, maybe, we didn’t notice it until now.
I want to shout out some good things I’ve come across recently because we all need more good things in our lives:
Stay safe out there, ya’ll. And come get a drink with me when this is over.