Coemergent Pandemic Blues
Being in one place.
Grifter in the White House.
Leaders in the state houses.
Staring at the webcam.
Not making eye contact.
Checking in, it’s good to see your face.
Renewing vows over the Internet.
The President’s staff is infected.
The President doesn’t need to wear a mask.
It’s good to see tree cutters and roadwork crews still have a job.
It’s sunny out.
Spring is here.
The pollen is high.
Today we have a frost warning.
The birds are out and singing.
We know because there’s nothing to do but take endless walks through the neighborhood.
The pandemic is killing poor people.
Inequality is killing poor people.
Unemployment is skyrocketing.
The stock market is skyrocketing.
The pandemic is killing the elderly.
The governor wants the elderly to sacrifice themselves so people can get their hair cut.
Air pollution is plummeting.
Air travel is plummeting.
Driving is plummeting.
Cities are permanently closing streets to cars.
Robots are patrolling the sidewalks enforcing 6’ distancing.
People are suddenly friendly craving contact waving and smiling and saying good morning as they pass at arms length on the nature trails.
The decline and fall of western civilization?
The decline and fall of Taylorist workers-as-cogs management?
The decline and fall of children-as-cogs knowledge-as-something-to-pour-into-young-people’s-heads education?
The decline and fall of free food and dry cleaning for Silicon Valley tech workers?
The decline and fall of the office building?
The decline and fall of any semblance of freedom from government surveillance?
Doctors and nurses are heroes.
Doctors and nurses can’t get enough equipment to protect themselves from dying while they care for people who are dying.
Grocery clerks are heroes.
Grocery clerks can’t afford the insurance they’ll need when they get sick or shot from serving people who won’t wear a cloth mask in the store for fear of losing their precious worth-fighting-and-dying-for constitutional right to do whatever the fuck they want whenever the fuck they want to without the slightest regard for anyone else’s well being.
Meat processing plant workers are heroes.
Meat processing plant workers are grist for the we’ll-riot-if-we-can’t-eat-pork-for-a-month-or-two mill.
We are killing and disposing of thousands of pigs because we have no way to process them into neat plastic packages people can buy while navigating around each others’ shopping carts and standing on elegantly designed marks on the checkout line floor.
We are collecting thousands of pigs and making them available to food banks for the homeless.
We are painting lines on the ground in parking lots so the homeless can sleep without infecting each other.
We are housing the homeless in hotels made empty because no one is traveling.
We are figuring out how to resuscitate that most efficient of infection vectors known as the cruise line industry.
We are hating and blaming and dismissing and trying to get each other removed from office more and more each day.
We are loving and helping and caring and clapping and donating for each other more and more each day.
Athletes are donating their multi-million dollar salaries to pay stadium peanut hawkers’ wages.
Business leaders who don’t need salaries are watching their multi-billion dollar net worth increase faster than the death rate.
Small businesses are failing by the hour.
Customers are literally paying forward to keep closed businesses alive.
I really need to stop reading the news.
I really need to get some more sleep.
I really need to eat less carbs.
I really need to be thankful I’m not sick.
I really need to give myself a break.
I really need to have compassion for everyone.
Everyone is frightened.
Everyone is confused.
Everyone wants to be happy.
Everyone wants their family to be safe.
Everyone wants to be able to pay their rent.
Everyone wants to keep their family business alive.
Season after season the rhododendron outside my office window failed to bloom.
This spring I am working from home and it is exploding with Pantone 245.
This morning the finches were flashes of gold racing back and forth across the yard and pausing to peer through the windows.
Day in and day out the cardinals are flooding the neighborhood with calls to “cheer, cheer, cheer”.
People are sharing sourdough recipes on the Internet.
People are sharing sadness and tiredness on the Internet.
Michelle Obama is giving a commencement speech to all the world on the Internet.
James Governor is countering my pessimism on the Internet.