I feel my heart rate going up. I’m blaming the coffee and unspent energy throughout the day. My smartwatch tells me I’ve only burned 1245 calories today. Only 500 steps and yet I feel exhausted. Outside the window there’s a constant flickering light coming from somewhere undetermined. It looks like an ambulance light, with its amber waves of danger spreading across the neighbourhood. I can’t see the ambulance, just its emanating light, like a bodiless threat, all encompassing. What has happened? Who needs the ambulance and why? The light keeps hitting against the window, as if to awake me from apathy. I’m awake. Are you? What shall we do, now that we’re awake? There is no siren yet, just the sound of traffic. People go about their business, as normal. Is it normal? Will there be a new normal soon or shall we go back to the old normal we’ve known for so long, the normal that led us to this situation?
What situation, do you ask? The one where a divine or maybe not so divine intervention released a new virus into this world. One that can and will mutate. One that’s already wreaked havoc with so many lives. One that was not considered a big deal until quite recently. And yet, panic has now set in throughout the land. Suddenly the siren outside reminds everyone we’re not living in normal times. The heart races even faster. The siren sounds the same as always, yet the wail feels heightened somewhat. Is the army out on the street already? The quiet streets aren’t calm. The siren has stopped, but pulsating light at the window has burst in through the curtains. Here it is dancing on the ceiling and the walls. It reminds me of the apocalyptic fresco one always finds outside orthodox churches.
Is there a silver lining in all this? Maybe, just maybe this imposed or self-imposed quarantine might lead to an assessment to our condition as humans. We’ve been living like gods, superstars. We are all the protagonists of our little daily narratives that unfolds on social media. We live our lives in the limelight now more than ever and we’ve built egos “the size of cathedrals” (to quote the devil in one of my favourite films). The rush of doing things has taken the place of in-depth thinking and self-reflection and, in spite of what some might say, there can never be too much thinking. We are guilty of too much bad thinking, which infringes on our time and simply leaves no room for any positive thinking or self-reflection. Maybe we could find time to do that today. Maybe we could exercise some patience, wisdom and kindness instead of anxiety, anger and fear.