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 Three Hundred Sixty Five

One year with the grippe reborn. I began this journal some days after the quarantine protocols were enacted in the Quarter, some weeks after it had become evident that the dread lord would reach these parts very soon. It seemed necessary at the time, a way to keep the shore in sight on a suddenly tempestuous sea where the axis of the world was shifting and my very sense of reality was being tossed about. There was nothing to hold onto in those early days and so I reached for the first piece of driftwood that seemed solid.

So much has happened in the last year and yet nothing has changed, at least not in my day to day existence. My love and I continue to observe the current protocols, living half an existence, every day feeling more or less the same. It is like we are now shadows of what we once were, the echoes of other lives. When this began I feared the kinds of disruptions to life and society that you see in books and movies about pandemics, plagues and pestilences. The disruption that we ended up facing was in many ways no less momentous than those, but instead of drama and terror, we got boredom, fatigue and endless dread.

It is in our animal nature that we fear the moment of crisis when we are called to action, but in many ways that is what our bodies and minds are actually prepared for, millennia of evolution doing its work. What we were not in any way equipped to deal with was the steady drip of stress and unease that never overwhelmed but also never left. It is exhausting, body and soul.

 Through it all I have written, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. Yet after a year the thought of looking over any of it again fills me with its own kind of revulsion. It is easy enough to understand why Shakespeare and all the rest who lived through plagues and quarantines wrote about them only incidentally. Who would want to relive this having gone through it? Who would want to read someone else’s impressions of it when it is finally over? There is a certain camaraderie now in sharing and reading such thoughts as we try to endure what is hopefully the last months of this terrible ordeal. But once it is over and we are well and truly past it, no one will want to revisit that boredom and dread. We will want to step back from the shadows and take up the remains of our past lives.

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