A Different Time
To think that just over two weeks ago we were still at school chit-chatting nonchalantly about Coronavirus. Who would have thought that by the time school was to reopen, on 31 March 2020, we would have had to become more considered on an ‘outbreak narrative’ and the inner workings of a pandemic; and why this is more than just medical and health crises? Who would have thought about the consequences of supply chains disruptions and global economic anxiety? I’ve considered how ageism is making the pandemic worse. And about the 21 days - or more – of trauma for those now stuck in abusive familial settings and the dire impact on children. I have seen policeman with sjamboks, drunk on power, whipping shoppers in townships just to make people stand a metre apart and I am violently catapulted back to a late 80s vility.
Who would have thought we would have to think about the future and what changes may come? And, that a virus is demonstrating the value of globalisation and conversely giving a painful introduction to anti-globalism and its consequences.
I’ve thought about why Covid-19 is behaving in such an extreme way and, in turn have contemplated that viruses don’t endure in the world; they need bodies to survive. If the virus kills a person, the virus too, dies. Consider that for a moment. And, with it, the harsh lesson that the only things that matter in life and specifically in genetics is not ‘’the self’’ but rather how useful one’s body is at replicating and passing on genetic material. Our bodies are vessels intended to survive. That is our genetic code. This single thought is, for me, the most humbling of all.
Who would have thought that a pandemic would imprint itself on a global psyche? That sewer journalism is ripe and thriving. And, that so many hypotheticals would become a reality. ‘’What if?’’ has quickly become ‘’Now what?’’. And, it seems the ‘’Now what?’’ is driving a lot of the fear and anxiety.
For children, life has changed, perhaps, even more drastically than for adults. Routines have been upended. Panicked parents are driving the anxiety. Upended schedules are driving anxiety. Time itself has become unsettling and unfamiliar; an amorphous blur that is fragmented in new, staccato ways. When my own children ask me whether I am okay, I am not sure how to answer them.
From social media, I am mostly heartened by stories like those of a 101 year old Italian man who made a full recovery to walk out of an Italian hospital, and a 103 year old Chinese woman who too made a full recovery - allowing me some further indulgent existential ponderings amidst the endless doom and gloom of it all.
Of course though, once all the arm-chair philosophy is said and done, I am foremost an educator and realistically need to stay on top of this now ever-changing landscape so that our society’s young, brilliant minds can run out into the world and know they survived a global pandemic!
They became history.
Stay safe and healthy!