As I sit here writing this, my mind is filled with memories of 2020, or as I have chosen to call it, “apocalypse lite.” I remember the last social occasion I participated in, it was the birthday of a close friend whose birthday happens to be Valentine’s Day. The topic of this “new flu” came up briefly, then someone told a joke, and it quickly fell by the wayside as we went from topic to topic. Then I started reading articles about deaths associated with the virus, which had a name now, Coronavirus 19. Two of the things I am is a bit of a germaphobe and a huge news junkie, I have been watching shows like PBS News Hour, Meet the Press, CBS Evening News, etc. ,since I was a child in the single digits. So it’s early March now, and then March 16th, 2020, the day my world, and those of, really everyone in the United States, if not the entire world at this point, were adversely affected by what we now know as the as the pandemic. FSCJ shut down, along with most of the businesses here in Florida, and the United States. This was completely unprecedented in modern times.
I was able to bring my work computer home, and we began to work from home. I kept seeing news reports of how people all over the world were dying, elderly frail people, young healthy teens—all fell to Charon’s scythe. I saw the dead being packed into refrigerated trailers and stacked like cordwood. I saw quarantine zones being discussed; areas being guarded by armed men and women from behind barricades. More deaths. Some nonsense about it going away in the summer heat, like a melting fragment of a bad dream. More Americans dying. People coughing on others as a form of social protest. Sadly, some of those people succumbed to the virus, and only realized on their death beds that it was not, as they had been told, “A Hoax.” Hordes of unmasked people screaming in the streets about how their rights are being infringed upon. Mass spreader events leading to dozens of deaths two weeks later. More dead humans. Whispers of vaccine research. People drinking bleach. Businesses being boarded up. People assaulting each other in stores. People who look like me being strangled by law enforcement officers. Other Americans crying because they can’t provide for their families anymore.
Children going hungry. People dying in hospital rooms, unable to be with their loved ones in their last moments—looking at a cold screen, instead of the eyes of their wives, sons, mothers, and other loved ones. Hundreds of deaths each day. Rioting in the streets. Me struggling to get out of bed in the morning, groaning and wondering why should I bother? Watching the movie 12 Monkeys and sobbing.
Hearing of the death of a former coworker, a victim of the virus. Then, later on, another colleague was taken away too soon.