I don’t know about you, but lately watching tv and reading fiction feels bizarre. The characters are just always surrounded by people, all over the place, all the time. No one is wearing masks, there’s no hand sanitizers in everyone’s pockets. Nada. How could anyone ever tell stories that weren’t set in the present? Why didn’t we know? Ya know?
Okay, maybe I’ve been inside for a little too long, and probably so have y’all, hopefully. While I’m not huge on tv, and haven’t been for quite a few years, we do turn something on while cleaning up after dinner, or at lunch on the weekends. And every single time, the dichotomy of what my eyes are seeing on the screen and what I see out on the streets is so great that I can’t focus on what’s actually happening in the story.
It’s happening with books, too. Like why are people standing in line for the bar? Don’t they know that that’s a no-no? Why is that meet cute happening at a New Year’s party, in the middle of a crowd? Why are they able to see each other’s smiles, shouldn’t they be wearing masks?
I think it’s come to the point, at least in my messy brain, where the reality of societal conduct has been rewritten so greatly, (at the very least for the remainder of the year, but probably for like a few, let’s be real) that anything other than caution or annoyance at being out is now overriding our previous way of life. I’ve been watching and reading stuff for escapism for months, and it was fine, but now it’s as if that well is starting to run dry.
It’s not even that I want to read stories that are written with this situation in mind. No, I think many of us (me!) would probably (definitely) hate that. But letting that illusion of normalcy slip on, while the world around fades away is now a challenge.
Was this what people felt like in a century ago when the Spanish flu hit? I hope not, this sucks. But humans are resilient, we’ll have a lot of good stuff come out from this nightmare town. Maybe soon, it’ll get easy to escape again.