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 One Hundred Seventy Six

I take my love to an appointment in the north suburbia of the city. We are sitting upon a hilltop from which you can see the city’s edge and then beyond, the vast distance of the prairies. Somewhere beyond that horizon the Lost Quarter begins, though its borders are ill-defined, if they exist at all.

As I sit banished in the parking lot of a strip mall awaiting for my love to finish, I watch construction workers gather around a pickup truck, standing across from each other, arms draped over the box. They talk and laugh and drink coffee and smoke, clearly in no hurry to begin their work. As they finish their coffees and cigarettes and still don’t begin working it becomes clear they are waiting for someone to arrive with the necessary supplies or equipment. I envy them this morning of paid idleness.

The sun is glaringly bright in the sky, not a cloud to be seen. A day for wandering not sitting in a car in a strip mall parking lot. The suburbs have always seemed a strange place to me. Unquestionably part of the city, yet having none of its best parts, why trying to craft the illusion that you are actually inhabiting a small and cozy community. Having grown up in the country, it feels false. Trying to be a little of both it ends up being nothing, a strange interstitial space, not unlike the Lost Quarter.

I have read that in our new pandemic era that the suburbs are becoming more popular, which is odd to me. The entire point of the suburbs was to live in proximity to a city core without the cost and with some of the feeling of a small town. But if your future work no longer requires you to venture downtown, why stay in this land of in-between and nowhere?

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