“The need to recreate the myth of coherence may be one of the reasons why history exists in the first place.”
Stephen King: The Dark Tower.
“The world moved on.”
Listen, I’ve been waiting for years to use that line.
It comes from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. About people who are abruptly thrown into a chaotic world that they neither understand or are prepared to cope with.
I’m beginning to understand, Roland.
In the last few days I’ve been in half a dozen counties and one hospital (twice). I’ve stopped for gasoline, for fast food, used some public restrooms and visited frail and/or sick relatives.
Normally this would be just a typical week in the life of a 72-year old retiree with an elderly mother and an ailing sister who happen to live halfway down the state. But these are not normal times. And now we are being obliged to evaluate every one of our actions and movements with an eye toward possibly dire ramifications.
I’ve been shuttling back and forth, avoiding the interstates when I can, taking backroads where possible (just because I prefer that kind of driving) and logging more than the usual hours away from home.
While the world moved on.
Before I left home this last time my wife insisted I take a big pump-bottle of hand sanitizer with me and use it liberally after….well, after virtually every time I get out of the car. Gas pump, hand pump (just don’t) door knob turn. Whatever.
And when I went to the medical center in Sebastian to, at first visit and then pick up, my sister, who had just had a knee operation, I was wary indeed. I shared an elevator ride with a woman who coughed. I tried not to flinch. I tried not to lean on anything. I told my sister she looked fine. From at least six feet away. Because.
And I stayed with my mom and her husband. Who has an upper respiratory thing going on. Which his doctor is fairly sure isn’t….
…Well, you know, “it.”
Long story short, I got home to discover that my Santa Fe College accounting professor wife will henceforth be teaching all of her classes on-line rather than face-to-face.
And that the University of Florida will go entirely on-line. And that it is advising students to leave town and go back to wherever they came from.
This is a college town. Once the students are gone I suppose we townies will all be safer for it – fewer bodies, fewer potential sources of contagions.
But it’s going to play hell with the local economy. Some businesses will go under.
Oh, and no more Gator basketball, baseball, nothing.
And what if it hasn’t blown over by football season? Talk about culture shock!
But the world moved on.
The good news: I already more or less work (as a freelance journalist) at home, although Starbucks is gonna miss me. And our dog will be ecstatic, since his humans will be hanging around much more than they used to.
So there’s that.
Our President says…..well, we really don’t know what the hell he’s saying. Our governor has declared a State Of Emergency, whatever that means.
We’re being told to keep our distances from each other. To self-quarantine if we think we need it. To wash, wash, wash, wash, wash our hands. And that we don’t really need to stockpile toilet paper or face masks.
And that some of us may get “it.”
And that if we do, some of us may suffer more from “it” than will others.
And that for those of us who do suffer more from “it,” there may or may not be enough hospital beds and ventilators available to pull us back from the brink.
Which, I suppose, is the bad news.
Because the world moved on.
I don’t have a p.s. for all of this.
Maybe in a week or two or three this will have all blown over. And we will all feel sort of silly.
Maybe the Prez is right (isn’t he always?). That this is just a liberal conspiracy to get rid of him.
Maybe we will learn that the military has been secretly stockpiling ventilators and hospital beds and secret vaccines and miracle cures with the obscene amounts of money we’ve been shoving at them to pay for super weapons.
Or, maybe the world isn’t nearly done moving on yet.
Maybe a month from now, six months from now, a year from now, the way we lead our daily lives will bear very little resemblance to the way we’ve all been getting by up until…
….oh, I dunno…
….let’s say, two weeks ago.
“This is ridiculous,” Eddie shouted.
“Life is ridiculous.”
Stephen King: The Dark Tower
The world moved on.