How blogs can give us insight into people’s minds during this difficult time
When we were all ordered to stay at home, my Auntie Sophia happened to be visiting. So for the last few days we’ve been “sheltering in place” and rationing our toilet paper. Thankfully I had the foresight to stock up on toilet paper just before all those idiots out there cleared the shelves of the stuff, so we have 2,880 rolls to see us through the next couple of weeks. Even so, you can’t be too careful so I’ve also embarked on a project to strip all the wallpaper. We can use it when the toilet paper runs out.
Auntie Sophia is a funny old bird. She keeps asking why the entire world has shut down when the obvious thing to do was simply take steps to protect the people the virus actually kills: the very old and the very sick. She doesn’t understand, if everyone else is either asymptomatic or gets very mild symptoms, why everyone’s lives are being treated as though they were high-risk. Just goes to show how batty you get when you’re an Auntie, I suppose. I’ve told her the government knows what it’s doing. I have to bite my tongue to stop myself from telling her that this is no time to be asking questions!
Unfortunately she’s old and she used to be an epidemiologist for thirty years. After that, she worked for one of those charities that tries to help people in poor countries by finding ways to enable them to be economically self-sufficient so they can feed themselves and their families and not die of starvation every time there’s some kind of crisis. So she’s very set in her ways and frankly I don’t think she understands patriotism at all. I mean, imagine worrying about dark-skinned people in far-off places when things aren’t absolutely perfect for everyone all the time right here at home!
She also can’t understand why, if we’re all willing to shut down the entire world in order to (temporarily) save lives, why we tolerate over a million automobile deaths each year. Apparently she doesn’t understand why, if it’s essential to save people from coronavirus, it’s not equally essential to save them from road traffic fatalities and, on a much larger scale, deaths resulting from eating junk food and taking no exercise.
I’ve tried to explain to her that saving people from a virus is totally different from saving them from other kinds of death, but she keeps asking “why?” and that’s really annoying! I mean, that just stands to reason, doesn’t it? And, as I told her, if we got rid of all vehicles then how would things get done? She asked me, “now that we’ve shut everything down, how will anything get done? What will happen when raw materials run out because we’ve broken all the supply chains? What will happen when supermarkets can no longer get food because the warehouses are empty?”
I didn’t think this was worth answering so I gave her a very hard stare indeed. I mean, it’s just not patriotic to ask such stupid questions!
Auntie Sophia thinks that we’ve been stampeded into mass hysteria by the media and have become a mindless crowd, all terrified out of our wits by the presentation of endless sensationalism totally devoid of any context, but I just laugh. I mean, if it wasn’t so serious then government wouldn’t be introducing all these measures, right? I mean, when was the last time government totally screwed things up because politicians are just vote-seeking incompetents pandering to the mob? If that was the case we’d see really stupid things like the UK leaving the European Union, a brain-dead TV presenter in the White House, and all sorts of other idiocies.
I told her that yesterday and she just stared at me, open-mouthed. I have to say, I felt rather satisfied to have shut her up with irreproachable logic.
Last night Auntie Sophia said she was very worried about this crisis. I was delighted to hear it. At last, I thought, she’s finally understood how serious things are!
But then she went on to say that she’s worried this whole business of “social distancing” is making us look at each other as if everyone’s a threat. She thinks that civilization is a very fragile thing and that mob mentality is all too easy to initiate. Apparently she was in India when Hindu extremists started slaughtering their Muslim neighbors and I think this rather damaged the way she looks at human nature. Anyhow, she kept on talking about how when governments tell us to fear our neighbors it’s just a matter of time before violence breaks out. I tried to tell her what a stupid idea this is. I mean, can you think of a single time in history when that’s ever happened?
She said something about history being full of pogroms and mob violence but I’ve never heard about anything of the sort, and I watch a lot of great TV shows so I should know!
Speaking of TV shows I’m really glad I spent so much time watching The Waddling Dead and Zombie Apocalypse and all those other movies and shows that are so totally helpful in situations like this! It’s a bit puzzling why they never mention toilet paper in those shows, but maybe there wasn’t time to put it into the script. Aside from that, though, they’re super realistic and that’s why I’ve nailed the front door shut. Auntie Sophia gave me a very odd look while I was hammering in the nails but I think she understood I was doing it to protect us.
It took a surprisingly long time to get the nails out when I realized I needed to go to the supermarket to buy more bread.
I have to say, being cooped up all day with Auntie Sophia has started to get on my nerves. Just this morning I was telling her about me swapping virus memes with Cousin George on social media about the virus and about how everyone really needs to be responsible and stay indoors at all times. She said, “as George is obese and because of that has Type II diabetes, and smokes eighty cigarettes a day, I think he’s got far more important things to be worried about than the latest virus scare.”
I mean, how stupid can you be?? Nobody on Earth has more important things to be worried about than the coronavirus! When Auntie Sophia pointed out that after three months the virus has killed fewer people than die from regular flu in a single week, I told her quite firmly that this is a meaningless comparison. All you have to do is extrapolate from the current rate of increase in deaths and it’s obvious that by this time next year covid-19 will have killed fifteen billion people! That’s twice as many people as are actually on Earth! So that means hospitals will be overwhelmed with bringing people back from the dead so the virus can kill them all over again.
That’s how serious this is! That’s what the numbers are telling us!
Auntie Sophia thinks we need to bear in mind that the only experts we hear on the TV and radio are those who tell us it’s all much more terrible than we realize. Apparently she has several senior epidemiologist and virologist friends who take a much less sensationalist view of the data but for some odd reason the TV and radio programs never want to get them onto their shows. Anyway, she thinks this skews our views and increases our panic but I just told her that we always have to listen to the experts because they know what they’re talking about!
Then she asked me why I’m wearing a face-mask when all the experts say that face masks don’t protect against infection from the virus. So I told her that experts are just ordinary people like you and me and they don’t know everything so you can’t always do what they tell you to do.
That shut her up for a while.
But then she asked me how I know I’m doing the right thing. Maybe I’m only panicking like this because everyone else is panicking too? Maybe we’re all feeding into each other’s fears and making everything worse?
That was such a stupid idea it was really easy for me to shut her down. I told her I’m doing what I’m told because everyone else is doing the same thing, which proves it’s the right thing to do! Sometimes I think Auntie Sophia is thick-headed on purpose.
And then she said, “Well, dear, we all have to die sometime.”
Which is really the most stupid thing she’s said so far. Of course we don’t! That’s the whole point of us all shutting ourselves away!
I’ve been telling Cousin George and some of our friends about Auntie Sophia and her totally unpatriotic and unsafe ideas about the pandemic. George thinks she’s probably a witch and frankly I think he’s probably right. I mean, what ordinary sensible normal person would not panic hysterically along with the rest of us? Our mutual friend Sammy says that he read on social media somewhere that if we burn witches and then eat their flesh it will make us immune to the virus.
Makes sense to me.
So we’ve agreed to meet at my place tonight, just before midnight. I’m going out into the back garden later today to gather together sticks and twigs. I’ve enough petrol in the garage to make a nice blaze. I mean, you can’t be too careful when lives are at stake, can you?
Of course we’ll all be wearing our face masks.
A few minutes ago Auntie Sophia came to talk to me. She said that she’s lived a good long life and has few regrets. She says that after I’ve done what I’m going to do, I have to remember that she still loved me despite everything. I told her I had no idea what she’s talking about.
Then she gave me a sad little smile and went back to her room.
It was almost as if she knew what’s coming next.