Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Two

The dread is omnipresent; I no longer even notice it. But it is nothing like I imagined it would be. It doesn’t occupy my thoughts in any substantial way. Rather it is just there, mostly beneath the placid surface of our current hermitic existence, not even noticed except when I force myself to acknowledge it.

I now recall my dreams. Normally I can count on one hand those I remember in any given year. The last three mornings I have awoken with vivid images in my mind. I am in a frantic hurry to get somewhere – it is absolutely necessary – and yet I am stranded by circumstance and unable to get where I need to.

The coming of the grippe is an odd crisis, in that it doesn’t appear to be one at all. It is far away and yet we can see the dread lord coming. Day by day the numbers increase, the warnings continue and the countermeasures grow more severe. We are fighting a rearguard action. It is only a matter of time, we are told, and yet time has in so many ways ceased. The ways we used to measure it are gone. The rhythms of the everyday are now mostly absent. We have to create them anew.

We have to create everything anew. That is the lesson of the grippe. All the assumptions and rules and guidelines that we have followed and that seemed so necessary in business and commerce and so many other part of our lives are utter bullshit. An edifice built on what?  At the same time we realize there is no substance to these things – that we are, all of us, making it up as we go along – comes the terrible understanding that we need that bullshit, or some other, to give shape and form to our lives.

What will happen when all this has passed? I think of the parable of Flitcraft, which a friend of Herm’s once recounted to me. Will all of us be Flitcrafts and just pick up and return to matters as we did before, adjusting to falling steal beams and then adjusting again to the beams not falling? Or will we take another road, the long way home?

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