What do you think would be the main topic every news channel talked about if it wasn’t for Coronavirus? Have you stopped to think about that lately? I haven’t. I have no idea what is going on outside besides the pandemic. Personally, I am a bit tired of waking up, opening my local newspaper's website as I do everyday, and not finding anything to read about that's not related to the spread of the virus.
Then again, I am locked inside my house (have been for the past 30 days or so) as my country has declared a state of total quarantine until the end of April (at least), and all I want to know is when it will be safe for me to go back out there. Hence, I probably won't read any newspaper article that is not about Coronavirus, because I want to know about it. I want to know the last minute developments, as they will tell me when it is all finally over.
I had a trip planned. To New York. My flight was supposed to leave three Mondays ago. I spent the best of two days, a couple of weeks ago, constantly refreshing several newspaper websites, local and from the USA to see if I would have to cancel my trip in advance. Those two days stressed me out like nothing had for a very long time. I went to bed exhausted the first day only to wake up at 7 am before my alarm on the second day to keep checking my phone obsessively. I bet many of you were in similar situations, and you should know you were not alone in them.
Throughout the whole of the second day I had to endure watching how the City of New York, one of the most touristic places on Earth, slowly but surely started closing up all its locations. How Madison Square Garden cancelled all its sporting events, how Broadway was banned from setting up performances, and how finally the city declared a state of emergency. I was watching the news unravel minute by minute the day that everything in the place I was planning to visit closed up. Subjecting myself to this brought me far more anguish than I had expected to feel should my trip had to be cancelled. It was unnecessary. Especially because a couple of hours later, Argentina closed all its international borders. I could have saved myself from the stress it caused me to constantly check my phone, starved for pandemic updates, because my flight would be cancelled eventually either way.
This situation led me to loathe seeing anymore updates for the next couple of days, as all that had mattered to me had been my trip. However, after my frustration had diminished, I found myself morbidly still checking in on numbers, deaths, tendency graphs and speculations over and over again throughout the day. I didn't quite know how to explain my need of knowing everything. I don't think I can explain it even now, weeks later. I can try to, though, and I can maybe offer you an insight into why we seem starved for news lately; why we share every article we find with our friends, so we can stare together at the extent of the pandemic, or at the measures governments are taking against it, or at the scary predictions professionals (and non-professionals) are making.
I think humans, because we are selfish before anything else, marvel at the thought of anything that seems to bring us all together. I think our brains find it hard to understand the concept that someone on the opposite side of the world is living the same situation as we are. Even though we are all part of a community, we fight tirelessly to set ourselves apart from each other, to prove our uniqueness and that we occupy an irreplaceable part in society. Nevertheless, right now, our selfishness seems pointless.
Even if your country is not in total lock-down, you are probably not living your normal life right now. This unbalance of our everyday lives has forced us to look outside ourselves, sacrificing our work, studies, and social gatherings for a greater purpose: stop spreading the virus. It seems we are, for once, all following the same mentality.
This is big.
This is, in my opinion, awesome.
I have always found mass movements fascinating. People of different backgrounds getting together to fight for one single purpose. I had never before stopped to think about the reasons behind this amazement. It amazes me that there is something way bigger than myself and the moment that it becomes obvious, as it is happening now, I am in a constant state of unbelief that makes me need to keep reading about what's happening out there to make it all seem less fictitious.
I am also waiting for the day they tell us that a cure has been found, that the spread of the virus can be stopped with a single, cheap vaccine available to everyone around the world. I keep waiting for balance to be restored and to start, again, living my life of unapologetic selfishness.
This is why I keep absorbing every piece of information about the virus I can get my hands on. Because I can't believe what I see and hear, and also because, once I get around to believing it, I want it all to be over as soon as possible.
Maybe my words resonate in you, maybe they don't. But even if they resonate a bit I would like to ask you to reflect on them, as I am doing while writing them. I hope we realize that we are all in this together, and that there are things bigger than ourselves. I hope this situation urges people to try and live a bit less selfishly after it is all over. We can start by caring a bit more about people we don't know personally in baby steps: sharing our quarantine experiences in social networks, or in blogs (much like this one) and helping those in despair to know that they are not alone in this. You can sing out your window, and watch your neighbours join you. You can clap at night for all the medical staff out there risking their lives for us. You can also take bigger steps and donate to charity, volunteer at a community center, and even just recycle at home. If you think about it, caring about people you don't know is one of the cornerstones of the SABF, and we hope to see you here sharing with us when the world finally settles down.
I hope you have a nice quarantine! Cheers!