Nick's Journal
2020-09-26 08:32:05 (UTC)

The Coronavirus

I'd be remiss if I didn't take at least one entry to veer off the sad and depressing arc of addiction and rehab into the sad and depressing world of the coronavirus. I started this journal a few days before 9/11 and the coronavirus is by far the most influential event to have happened since then. it has affected just about everybody and is the subject of idle to irate gossip the world over.

I'm surrounded by people who all have an opinion on the coronavirus. most people take personal offence to it which would remind me of the drunken rednecks in college that would fight inanimate objects when they were fucked up. I guess for most people it seems inconveivable that the world (and the coronavirus in particular) does not seem to care about them and that is deeply and personally unfair.

at least most people I've heard opinions from don't believe it is a hoax but a myriad of people believe it is completely overblown with some sprinkling in some conspiracy theories for extra panache. the thought that there is a highly contagious virus out there that is fucking everything up for everybody is just too much to bear.

I myself fall on the spectrum of people who believe that it is a very serious health crisis. not even looking at death rates for a second, it is ravaging our way of life. we wear masks, there is always this "new normal" that everyone talks about and most importantly it has just changed the way we can conduct ourselves in everyday life.

I am extremely angry with the gutless and spineless politicians that seems offer no direction whatsoever. they, like most elected officials, want to have their cake and eat it too. and I am not just talking about America here, I am seeing the exact same lack of leadership here in Europe where the politicians are trying this tightrope walk that will likely just end up with them (and everyone they drag down with them) landing flat on their faces.

and yet, I understand, there are no easy answers. in my humble opinion I believe that what should happen (starting October 1st) is a complete lockdown for at least the Spring. but I realise that this is next to impossible. people cannot just give up their livelihoods; either way, people suffer; small businesses are going under left and right. not only that, but the mental toll this is taking on people. more and more are turning to the bottle in times like this, depression is sky-rocketing; people are losing their life's work. but I firmly believe that, if we ever want things to come back to a sense of normality we have to really hunker down and lock it all down, especially as the winter months approach.

but instead what we are going to do is allow for half-measures because that is the "practical" thing to do. here in Austria we are going to have skiing but no "apres ski". we are going to allow restaurants to be open but everyone has to put down their contact information for contact tracing (only in a left-leaning country where people still have a naive and benign view of their government could such a thing like this be even remotely possible). and people are to wear masks and social distance.

but we are human and we are fatigued. just the sheer volume of information and disinformation that we consume daily about this virus leads to our fatigue. everybody has got a motherfucking opinion about this thing. well that just leads to coronavirus fatigue and more than that it has people tuning out. NOT ONLY THAT, but most people are already so weary and fatigued from this whole ordeal that another lockdown will almost surely be met with vague indifference to outright defiance.

I cannot tell you how annoyed I am by the number of people that wear a mask but wear it incorrectly. WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT! wear that shit over your mouth AND NOSE for god's sake. I get an uncontrollable rage every time I see some moron wearing a mask that isn't covering his or her nose. moreover I am absolutely astounded by the number of people still going out to restaurants where we know that these places are one of the primary areas where the virus is spread. but humans will human and we don't like being told what to do (one of the primary reasons why people freak out on airplanes is that they hand over their autonomy to the crew and are constantly told what to do and when).

so what will happen? well in the US I can guarantee there will not be another lockdown. it would be political suicide in an election year. instead we are going to take half-measures and hope for the best. time will tell if the virus will take over our lives or if we will somehow be able to live in this "new normal". but who wants to live in this new normal? don't we want to do everything in our power to get this virus under control? to not overflow hospital beds. to not argue about fucking masks and social contact? don't we want to collectively band together and, realising that this is a distasteful pill to swallow, defeat this virus as best we are able to?

but it won't happen, and I know deep down it can't happen. people need to work, because what good is "defeating a virus" (whatever that may actually mean) if you can't feed your family? so we will do what we always do in the face of impending disaster (climate change) we will soldier on with that aire of exceptionalism and optimism. that we are different, we are individuals, and for us, the outcome will be will all be okay.

meanwhile we will become more depressed, turn to more drugs and bemoan the lost innocence of the normality of life. we will eventually wear ourselves thin, will wear our masks half-heartedly, rub elbows at restaurants and have this virus dictate our lives for years to come. in the. best case scenario only some of us will die, we will be able to contain the true sickness to a degree that our hospitals are not overwhelmed and we will carry on in that dogged spirit that is already pervading every aspect of our lives. we are the great rationalisers and moreover, no one person has the answer. we can't do my suggestion of another total lockdown because people will lose their minds and livelihoods. we can't just not do ANYTHING (like Sweden) because then we would be "giving up" and most likely sending incalculable amounts to their early demise.

so all we can do is bitch about it. have our opinions on it. roll our eyes at it and strap on our masks. hope for the best, go on about our days, and pray to god that our beliefs in exceptionalism and optimism will indeed come true. only time will tell if our ability to rationalise and adapt will be our downfall or our pragmatic saviour.