May 2, 2020: Day 54 wondering when this Twilight Zone episode is going to end.
Past Tense: A father, husband, son. Had a steady job (that he just lost). Not a lot of friends, but that was fine with him. Didn’t really like many people anyway. Felt like his country was going to hell, that he was slowly becoming a minority. It had to stop. Saw unfairness all around him, unfair to people like him. He nurtured grievances against unknown people who he thought were wrong, against people who thought they were better than him, against people who were different. He knew for certain that it was Us against Them, and he would do whatever is necessary to make sure They didn’t win.
Present Tense: At first, he doesn’t know what to think. What is this virus? Is it really that bad? Then people he trusts start telling it like it is. Something else is going on. Another, more sinister instance of Them fighting Us. He wants his job back, he wants to get back to the way things were before. People he knows are doing something about it. Going to the Capitol. Hundreds of them, many carrying guns, automatics, showing that they won’t take it anymore. He screams at the cops guarding the doors, yells at the legislators inside. Curses the Governor for keeping him out of work, from exercising his rights. He’s with the crowd. He feels the noise, the energy, the power. He feels good, better than he has in a long time. He knows whose fault it is. He has someone to blame.
Future Tense: He will begin to feel it in about five days. The dry cough, the headache, the fever. A few days later, his wife will take him to a hospital, to a tent outside, where a person in paper wrapping and a mask will ram a swab up his nose. They will take him inside but will not let the wife go with him. He will realize he is scared. He will stop breathing. The people wrapped in paper will rush him to a room with machines with wires and tubes. Many masks will be looking down at him. Things will go very dark. When he wakes it will be many days later. He will be alive. But he will discover that he brought the virus home with him from the Capitol. That it spread to the counters, the refrigerator, the door handles. To his brother, son, father. He will discover that his brother and father were not as lucky as him, that they did not make it. He will hear about the large number of people at the Capitol who ended up in this and other hospitals in the area, filling up every available bed, using every available machine, requiring the help of every available medical person. And that some of those people requiring all that help were the cops who were guarding the doors, one of whom did not make it either. As he slowly gets better, he will not know what to think about all of this. It will be confusing to him. He will wonder what to do.
No, Not Really: Hey, I don’t know this guy. He seems like a jerk in the picture and maybe I’m totally wrong here. But maybe I’m not. These are difficult times and people are deeply stressed. But it’s sad to think that when we should be pulling together, there are those who, by there actions, would rather pull us apart. And would do so without regard for the unintended consequences that may, predictably, come to pass.
So Anyway, Just Stay Safe.