strange world

It's a strange world when ice rinks are made into ad hoc morgues, when conference centers become makeshift hospitals. Strange to see movies depicting throngs of bodies packed together. Already, that seems so ancient and alien. Strange to feel alone in a place where so many good friends live within minutes. Strange to lie in bed and wonder if the virus will spare my kid.

These past few days I wonder if Calvin may be feeling the strangeness, the heavy-chested, desperate anxiety of it all. He's not going to school. His nurses aren't coming to work. Life is off-kilter. Maybe his craziness is "just" that a seizure is coming. But Jeezus, he's been off his rocker the past few days. 

A friend from my years in San Francisco wrote to me:

I just wanted to touch base with you, as I am growing a bit concerned. It may be my imagination, but my sense from your posts is that you are feeling increasingly desperate, depressed and isolated.

I wish I could be there to give you a hug—and a much deserved break.

I’m here if you want to talk :)

I wrote back telling her that she'd been sweet and not wrong, that I'd had a bad day yesterday but that today is better what with the sidewalks clear and the snow mostly melted. I said that it does feel more isolating to have lost the ability to do the few precious things we were able to do with Calvin. I added that our lives have not changed much compared with most people's, and that maybe our experiences are more similar now.

It's a strange world to know all your favorite cities and people are on lockdown. Strange to speak on the phone with a loved one in hospice while looking at him through his kitchen window. To avoid people on the sidewalk. To no longer gather with friends over dinner. To not want others to pet Smellie, to put her on the leash when someone is coming. To wonder who in our circle of friends might succumb to the virus.

It's a strange world when one mother's child or sibling or parent is worth more than another. Strange that the wallets of oligarchs seem to take precedence over the ability for some to put food on the table. Strange and lamentable that, in a pandemic, so-called leaders don't hold themselves accountable for past mistakes, for present missteps and neglect. Strange when others don't see through the charade. Strange when wars are fought in the name of gods. Strange when pious people worship the shockingly ungodly.

The hospital set up at a pavilion in Ifema, Spain convention and exhibition centre in Madrid. Photo: AFP

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