What already seems as though it were some distant, mythical past when human beings gathered en masse in carelessly-shared social places and no one had to hold their breath or jealously secure their body-borders for fear of some invisible viral death. How soon we forget the frenzied rush and crush of crowds, the night-lit noisy places and thrill of adrenaline or confusion in those mingling, chaotic, madly-buzzing hives of purposeless experience and undirected, free-living. Retreating to our homes, our rooms, our beds – for those of us who have them – we will invent new inner crowds and inconstant ghouls from all this memory, this isolation and longing.
We will all return again, eventually, like tentative snails slipping out of broken shells to stalk-eyes caress and explore once more the shared identity of all that human being is, was, or might again be. Our inner spaces: these dark and anxious places of pandemic trauma will inevitably accompany us and I doubt, like shadows, that they will (or could) ever and peacefully or gracefully leave us. Future social spaces of close proximity and distance or difference will be overpopulated by the cold and empty ghosts of now as much as the warm bodies and troubled smiles of then.
2 replies on “The Ghosts of Pandemic Isolation”
At least the battles and crimes that are up close or require physical proximity are on the wane.
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The adversarial complexity is still there, it has just been displaced. We are yet to see how this all plays out. Uncertainty is king.