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 Eighty Seven

The morning begins with sunshine, but as the day goes on smoke descends, growing heavier. I can smell it on the air, though only a hint here and there. The sun glimmers somewhere behind all that smog, an ember, distant and almost abstract, no longer a star. Driving down roads everything is in shadows that don’t change, though it feels that they must either deepen or dissolve. Yet they remain as the day goes on, never relinquishing their hold.

As with so many things this year the fires and their smoke have overstayed their welcome, casting a pall upon our lives. It is almost too easy a metaphor to apply to everything that is happening.

The grippe reborn has a way of increasing our tendency toward solipsism. It is not just that following the quarantine protocols forces us inward, drawing us away from the normal day to day interactions with strangers we might otherwise have, though that is certainly a piece of it. The dread lord’s powers are universal, touching everyone, everywhere, but the effects are very much local and personal. What is strange is that every piece of news from elsewhere is taken as proof of the success of our approach or as a clear demonstration of our utter failure to act properly.

We are intimately aware of our contexts, but oblivious of others and how they may or may not apply. Yet we have no qualms with extrapolating from any story or study or rumour and applying it to what is happening here without any sense of what is comparable between the two situations. It is a fundamental demonstration that we do not care about these other people and places, except insofar as they support our argument, whatever it may be. Let the grippe touch them, let it stay far from our own doors.

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