|Huntington Beach, CA|
In fact, it comes to this: nobody is capable of really thinking about anyone, even in the worst calamity. For really to think about someone means thinking about that person every minute of the day, without letting one’s thoughts be diverted by anything- by meals, by a fly that settles on one’s cheek, by household duties, or by a sudden itch somewhere. But there are always flies and itches. That’s why life is difficult to live.”
Albert Camus, The Plague
It's a privilege to be able to stay inside, quarantined, with enough food and supplies for weeks, a virtual job, a pretty backyard and neighborhood in which to walk and a pile of masks that an industrious friend has given me. Not once have I thought my rights and freedom have been infringed upon, and this, too, is a privilege. My heart goes out toward those who are truly suffering from the virus, from economic hardship, from uncertainty and fear about the future. Most of all, though, it's a privilege to do something for others, to have the capacity to quell panic and anxiety in myself and in others, to know that what I am doing is actually something. It's a privilege to meditate, to laugh at silly cartoons, to bake a chocolate cake for a beloved friend's birthday and to bring it to her doorstep, to stand outside her house with other beloveds, at a "safe" distance from one another and to sing her birth. It's a privilege to coach my son through a new dinner recipe that he's trying by himself, thousands of miles away, to see his beautiful face. It's a privilege to follow the counsel of those wiser and more knowledgeable and experienced than myself, and it's a privilege to be openly derisive and contemptuous toward the leader of this country and the idiots that support him.
I had to write all those things to quell my anger and make sense of my contempt. I would like to be positive or not too angry or even optimistic, but I am not. I am angry and feel contempt toward the zeitgeist of this country and the insatiable greed of the powerful. The inadequacies and injustices that have always been present laid bare and yet, and yet. Still. Always the transactional. I am not optimistic and don't believe optimism is a virtue which means I am not a good American. I don't know what I am, actually, but it's not about me, and that, too, is a privilege. I wish for a sea change, or as the great Seamus Heaney said... On the far side of revenge. Believe that further shore. Is reachable from here. Believe in miracles. And cures and healing wells.
The evil in the world comes almost always from ignorance, and goodwill can cause as much damage as ill-will if it is not enlightened. People are more often good than bad, though in fact that is not the question. But they are more or less ignorant and this is what one calls vice or virtue, the most appalling vice being the ignorance that thinks it knows everything and which consequently authorizes itself to kill. The murderer's soul is blind, and there is no true goodness or fine love without the greatest possible degree of clear-sightedness.
Albert Camus, The Plague
I appreciate the sentiments expressed here, written by a New Yorker and posted on Facebook:
Y’all realize that people in NYC have been holed up in tiny ass apartments the size of your car garage for twice as long as you guys have? They don’t have any beaches and most of them don’t know what a “porch” is. Restaurants being shut down means most of them have to cook in kitchens that are built for instant ramen at best. Almost nobody has a car so they can’t hoard toilet paper like you fuckers or escape to a nearby town to take a walk in a park by a lake.
Yet they’re all making silly videos on FB, shouting thanks to healthcare workers at 7pm every day while you motherfuckers block the paths to hospitals, and they’re coming together like a community to defeat this thing despite going through hell. You know why?
Cuz you guys are a bunch of fucking pussies. You snowflake ass Motherfucking pieces of shit need to whine about your rights getting trampled on cuz the government is telling you what to do with your bodies?! Seriously. Fucking puke in my mouth. And all those guns and ammo vests n shit? Who the fuck are you gonna shoot? The virus?! Doctors?! Put the fucking guns away, you psychopathic, insecure, ass hats. Go the fuck inside and stay there and stop fucking protesting.
It's really, really not funny.