I’m willfully breaking one of my own Wrules of Wrighting Wisdom, which is to not start typing ( and especially not publishing !) something before I’ve thunk it all the way through. But hey, I’ve got an excuse. Several excuses as a matter of fact, and good ones, too.
First and best is the one we all fall back on in times of stress and duress, which is to say, What the Hell !! I’ve got nothing to lose, and nobody else gives a damn anyhow! It’s just a bunch of words on a screen. No one is going to read them while I’m still alive , and would not pay much heed if they did.
The second great excuse is one that a couple of billion fellow humans should be able to personally relate to at the moment. I am alone, “locked down” so-to-speak, in more or less self imposed protective quarantine. Like literally billions of other Earthlings, cowering within my home awaiting my fate, praying for the Plague Horseman to pass my gate not enter . Under such circumstances the good old screen and keyboard must serve as a substitute for company, as a sort of quasi-conversant, or make believe listener upon whom I can test the ideas and language of this emerging thought. It’s a very polite and patient conversationalist, I must admit. Never complains or argues, but I must also say that at times it’s baleful stare and critical silences can feel quite judgmental.
So, getting back to that tsunami analogy. What do I mean by it?
A favorite literary trope about tidal ways and tsunamis is to begin the tale with a curious kid or dumb gaggle of beach goers being all puzzled and befuddled by the sea receding from the shore to some unusual distance. “Whatever could this mean?” They reportedly ask of each other. “Ain’t never seen that before !” invariably declares the old geezer who always manages to find his way into these stories.
Really ? I mean to ask, “Are you trying to tell me that of the literally thousands of times this stupid fib has been repeated in every communication medium known to humankind that none of you fictitious folks has ever heard about it? The inability to adequately express the depths of my doubt exceeds my ability to scoff out loud. All I can say is “Ah, well”, and “Let’s just get back to the analogy.”
Okay, so the water recedes and recedes and recedes some more. We are supposed (I suppose) to imagine that the distance it pulls away is going to be comparable to the destructive force with which it all comes roaring back in the form of a tidal wave.
That’s the worn out old picture, right? Ocean pulls back, and back and back and then returns in a giant and irresistible wave of unimaginable destruction.
Only what if that’s not what happens this time? What if the destructive consequences of covid-19 is not the roaring tsunami of fatal illness , but is instead something else? Something we have never seen before?
What if it is simply the continued withdrawal of all of the things that we laughably call a civilization. Just less and less and less? Sticking with the analogy of oceans and tsunamis, what if the sea just recedes and recedes and then recedes some more, until everyone ( truly dumbfounded this time) is just standing there like dopes, stupefied ? Waiting forever, on dry sand, for that which will never return?
Not exactly a dramatic conclusion to a exciting tale, but give that a little time.
There will be plenty of drama, both before (and even more after) people understand that the life-blessing “waters” of advanced technological civilization ain’t never coming back. Not in their lifetimes, at least, and maybe not ever at all.
Have I any preparatory advices to offer prior to this grim foreseen reality? Why , yes I have.
First and foremost, don’t catch the virus in the first place. Self quarantine if that is at all possible for you to do (as in 100% isolation). 100% isolation for you and your loved ones is 100% effective. Less than that (even a little less) means the pandemic continues. Simple as that. Like that old guy said in the song, “Stay the fuck at home!”
Secondly, and this is extremely important because (humans being what we are : humans !) the pandemic is very nearly 100% certain to roar on through to it’s all-too-natural conclusion. The absurdly delicate and imperfect balances of our Global Economy were never a Swiss Watch. At best they were a Rube Goldberg contraption that rattled and lunged and crept only when a fed a steadily increasing diet of debt, deceit and despicable deeds. That’s over for good. Covid-19 killed it deader than Rube himself, now long since dead as a door nail. ‘Globalism’ is broke and it is broken. It’s going-away-present was covid 19, please allow me to say thanks very much. So then, hard times to come. A whole new type of tsunami , like you ain’t never seen before.
The next few months of lockdown are an opportunity to study up on things like how to garden, cook, fix small tools, attend First Aid to your own owies, and purify drinking water. What the hell, right? Why not do it? The worst that could result from doing your back-to-basics homework is that you entertain yourself for few months and learn stuff that makes you a better camper. Best case is that it saves both your own life and the lives of those you would’t want to live without.
Now git. We all have work to do.