Notes From America: The Pandemic in My Head

A while ago, I dreamed that I was with many people in the large hallways of a strip mall. Too many people, of course – and they didn’t care about keeping their distance, or wearing nose and mouth coverings.

In my dream, I felt like I was suffocating because I didn’t dare to breathe. In my waking hours, the suffocation is of a more mental nature. What I mean with that are not the limitations on social interactions. I’m heavily introverted and either used to work from home anyway (with my photography tutoring and services) or worked with very little social interaction – in real estate photography, the point is to NOT have people in the photos. 😉 (my favorite jobs are “lock box appointments” where I have a code to unlock a property that is vacant and either empty or staged; there, I can work most efficiently, and… all by myself.)

About two hours of socializing is my personal limit before I feel overloaded and need time alone, to recharge. I pity the extroverts who are suffering from not being able to go out and be among people, but I myself don’t have even the slightest problem with that.

Dear extroverts: the longing for company that you feel right now, the feeling that you’re deprived of something, is how introverts feel when they’re reaching their point of social overload. When all this is over, some day, try to remember it. Thanks! 😉

Most recently, I saw a photo of a packed sports stadium in New Zealand. New Zealand has zero COVID-19 cases “in the wild” so it’s perfectly fine for people to go and watch a rugby game together, just like they used to.

New Zealand has a population of ~4.8 million people and a total (!) of ~1500 cases. Granted, it’s an island and thus, it’s much easier to control and test who’s coming in and immediately isolate them, but still: San Diego County has a population of ~3.3 million people, and currently we have ~400 new cases per day. In other words: in just 4 days, we have more cases that the entire country of New Zealand had, ever.

In the last seven days, 46 so-called “community outbreaks” have been recorded in San Diego County alone. FOURTY SIX. The state mandated limit for community outbreaks as one of the signals to ease restrictions is seven – so oh, we’re just having  4 1/2 times that, “because American Exceptionalism, freedom freedom freedom oy“, or something?!

People’s complete inability of proper response, to adapt their personal conduct and behavior, to accept personal responsibility for other people’s lives – that’s the mental suffocation of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a way, it is just another expression of “the great division”. The social glue has come apart. Too many people don’t feel like they have even the slightest responsibility to society as a whole. People’s  behavior during this pandemic triggers the feelings that I had after the November 2016 election, when my thoughts were essentially: how could they?!

The photo of that sports stadium in New Zealand should make the rounds. It shows the world, and Americans in particular, what they could have right now if they’d have had a competent leadership response to the pandemic, and if they’d have been able to behave themselves, for a little while.

Instead, it is as fellow photographer Earl Moore wrote in his most recent blog post: “We’ve witnessed a segment that put their own warped vision of individualism and rights above the safety of all.”

And I, I expect more weird dreams.

Fire Alarm, Woodbury Hall
Fire Alarm, Woodbury Hall