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An interval of unease



I sleep a lot. Most of the day I am asleep. I wake up very late in the afternoon. I need the little black cat to be with me, and she usually does not make an appearance until sunrise. So, I toss around waiting for her – not having gone to bed myself until close to dawn.

I dream a lot. Long dreams like stories almost. In them everyone is still alive. My mother, my father, my aunts, my uncle, my grandmother. And we do things together. Go on trips. I find myself in a lot of unknown cities. There has always been a lot of architecture in my dreams but now there is even more. These cities I find myself in are always small, happy bustling places. Small towns really, not cities. But then also a lot of countryside things. Seasides. Lakes. Excursions that we make to these places. Laughter. Jokes. Everything and everyone is happy in my dreams. Which is why I probably cannot tear myself away from them.

Once awake the vigil begins. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. The dreaded other shoe.

I spend a lot of time looking out of the window, staring at my street which looks just like it always did. Cats, dogs, tradesmen, delivery guys, neighbors chatting around, the 2 little cafes, the church. Passersby. Except that now almost all of those who pass by are wearing masks. And quite a few of the delivery guys and tradesmen too. I am very scared of the masks. And their wearers. Terrified of them, in fact. Because it is terrifying to see such trustfulness, such innocence, such acceptance. How on earth can this be? What is it that they believe? What is this thing to which they have forsaken their reason? Why do they not ask questions? Who is doing this to us? Why are they doing this to us? And why now? Especially that – why now? Why not 4 months ago? 

Why are they constricting the very core of our aliveness – our breath? Why now? Silence. 

Hafize tells me that most of them only wear the masks so as not to get ticketed. Frankly, I don’t buy that. There are no cops on this quiet side street. Hell, there aren’t even any cops down in the marketplace. And yet, there go the lemmings, quietly over the cliff…

Everything I knew has been turned upside down. I don’t think that there is a single thing left where what I thought was real 6 months ago is still real today. Where what I thought was good and ethical and right still bears scrutiny. On the other hand, things that I never gave much thought to, things that I scoffed at, ideas that were alien to me have become things that occupy my thoughts more and more. All the “good” that I upheld only 6 months ago is now revealing itself as the enemy. My very teaching career that used to mean so much to me. Graphic Design and Computer Visualization. I was the enemy. 

So I stare out of the window and ask and ask and ask – how could I have been so blind?

Evil. I now think about it almost constantly. In a new way. My definition of evil has changed now. And it has also become very real. No longer an abstraction. No longer something to sit around and have intellectual discussions over. It is here. Now.

It isn’t over, this march of evil. I know this somewhere very deep in my being. In fact, it probably hasn’t even really started yet. The shoe to drop is only the next one that belongs to a huge centipede with thousands of feet and thousands of shoes, one more dreadful than the other. I wait. 

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Where the blazes are the percentages? aka. yes, of course it is a new religion...

Because what else would you call something that ignores data and instead goes solely by superstition and dogma? The big superstition around here, preached by the Health Minister who is actually a doctor (i.e., someone who presumably received some sort of scientifically based education, right?) and followed by all the ardent believers is a magic number: 1000! If we can get the daily cases under 1000 we will have won a big victory against the unseen enemy that is lurking everywhere to deprive us of our inherent right to indefinitely prolonged life.
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Yes - it is absolutely a new religion...


Complete with its priests, its acolytes, its zealots, evangelists and pious worshipers. And its symbols and attire. Namely, the mask. Its rituals, namely social distancing. The clapping at one point of course, although that one seems to no longer have quite the urgency that it had a few months ago. The incessant hand washing.