Day 34 of self-isolation.
While a lot of Americans are trying to help one another out, there is a small minority who seem to have lost their sense of altruism and common sense (and, in some cases, decency).
I recall, early in this pandemic, witnessing all those kids in Florida celebrating Spring Break and going to the beaches en masse, completely ignoring any semblance of social distancing. I remember watching videos of young people saying, “I’m not afraid of the virus; it’s not going to affect me.” This was long before we’ve reached the staggering number of infected and even bleaker death toll, and I can’t help but wonder what they think now. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but after what happened in China, Korea, and Italy, I had a feeling America was going to suffer immensely. To think that we’re invincible as a country is such hubris.
Even my own brother seemed to care more about furthering his career, going out and risking getting infected, and coming home to our elderly parents. He dismissed the severity of the virus, and I remember having debates with him every night to stop going out or at least taking better precautions. Thankfully, we’re currently on a national lockdown, and quite frankly I have not heard from him in days (my parents are doing great, though).
I’m watching the news now and seeing protestors at mayor offices and state capitols, wishing to reopen the economy and — remarkably — not practicing social distancing. As someone who’s been furloughed, most probably can’t get even partial unemployment benefits, and does not have enough money to pay rent and bills next month, I want to reopen the economy, too — but I’m more concerned about people getting sick or dying before I’m concerned about my own financial survival. Needless to say, it made me happy to see two Denver medical workers block a bunch of right-wing protestors from driving to their rally.
It brings me to this point: as much suffering as COVID-19 is affecting the world (physically, mentally, and financially), and despite many shining acts of heroism and community, it’s brought out our true colors. Sadly, some of these colors feign selfishness and ignorance.
There are those who will only think of themselves, disregarding the neighbor or the stranger who’s experiencing the same effects of self-isolation, or the friend or the family member who’s so fucking at risk at dying. I mean, even if you think you’re better or more deserving than your fellow person (which no one is), think about who you can infect and potentially kill.
The best advice I heard on the onset of this pandemic is “don’t think you’ll get the virus, think that you already have it and don’t want to spread it to anyone else.”
I was at the bodega the other week, fully decked in a mask and gloves, spacing myself 6 feet apart from other people. There definitely was a line to checkout, and as I patiently waited for my turn, 3 motherfuckers decided to ignore everything and checkout in front of me. I’m not a confrontational person, but I gave each of them dirty looks and muttered, “Seriously?” Of course, none of these three assholes were wearing masks despite a state order of wearing some kind a face shield. It made me realize there are some people solely caring about their own conveniences, and the fact that they’re not taking any precautions whatsoever made me even more disappointed. People who don’t respect the unspoken rules suck, but people who ignore the health risks suck so much more.
What I know about this pandemic is we’re in this shit together, and we as a society should be more mindful and more careful about our behavior. Place more value on other people’s feelings, time, and boundaries. Everyone should have a little more respect, a little more caution, and just a little more empathy.