A situation like this really shows you what a lot of people are made of, for better and for worse.
Ignorance is Not Bliss:
Viruses are not Tinkerbell. They will not go away if you don’t believe in them. What’s happening in the US right now is the inevitable outcome of people pretending that science is just an opinion. That was never going to end well.
Americans have truly embraced the idea that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, totally consequence-free. It’s been chilling to watch.
There are people who have no concept that staying home isn’t just about their own safety—it’s about not endangering others. And even after they’re told, they don’t care. They’re gonna go on Spring Break or eat in a crowded Red Robin, because freedom.
Another kind of selfishness: There’s a stark difference between the people who go shopping and take only what they’ll realistically need vs. people who will grab every last package of something, either to hoard or to resell. If someone else who needs meat or toilet paper misses out? Too bad, so sad.
Today I read about a CVS in Washington, DC that brought police officers in before they unloaded a shipment of toilet paper just to maintain order. Good grief, people.
If you are the type to grab up the entire shipment of a high-demand store item, and someone nearby thinks to catch you on video, you might end up Internet famous for being a selfish shitbag.
If you’re dumb enough to brag on TV or Twitter about how cool you are to go hang out in crowds of people when we’re all supposed to be sheltering in place, those of us in our homes who have a whole lot of free-floating anger about this situation just might train it on you.
That’s been an interesting wrinkle in all this, something I might not have thought about if I were conjuring up an apocalyptic situation on my own steam.
I haven’t personally joined in any Twitter shaming mobs; it’s just not my thing and there’s already enough bad feeling in the world right now. But the rage has been quite a sight to behold.
You Will Miss the Damnedest Things:
So a few days ago while I was meditating (something I’ve done every day to try to keep myself from dissolving into a puddle of anxiety), I had a vision: I was back in my office at last, greeting all my coworkers with variations on “Hey, stranger! Boy, was that crazy or what?” And it choked me up.
And I thought: What’s wrong with me? Why am I getting emotional about the office, and not my mom? My family?
But I wasn’t a terrible person: I was craving normalcy, the everyday. Being allowed back in the office, something terribly risky right now, would be a baseline that things were finally getting back to normal.
The punchline, of course, is that my job ends at the end of March, so I’m going to be denied that happy reunion scene no matter when the virus is contained.
Besides, before COVID-19 hit, I’d been miserable at the office. Knowing we were all about to be cut loose was depressing. It wasn’t a happy place at all.
But right now, I’d give a lot to have a normal workday—to get up too damn early, to ride the bus and the subway, and sit at my desk for a while before that happy time when I could head home.
Home, where I’ve been for over two weeks straight now. Even for an introvert like me, that’s extreme.