X Marks the Distance

Time feels funny. Slow burn perpetual crisis. Asymmetric anguish: internet, grocer, family, self. Back up the chain. All plans waylaid. The sudden cancelation of the future. How far forward should we clear our calendars?

Are we just getting started or are we just starting to get it?

A sigil of hope appeared yesterday. In the checkout line at the grocery store I saw a magazine. Printed on the cover (I certainly didn’t touch it) was saccharine copy about the impacts of the virus on families the world over. “At least,” I thought, “this means it didn’t end before print caught up to it all.”

We’re out of the first few harrowing weeks. I can release the nightmarish visions of sudden systemic collapse. It is now Act 2 here in the states. China seems to have made it to Act 3. Their cases appear to have flattened. Lockdowns are relaxing.

Each time I venture into the world beyond our apartment, the two-week asymptomatic counter resets. I was most worried about contracting it at the airports, but those vectors are now safely relegated to three weeks in my past. At the grocery stores the eeriest of thoughts haunts: someone in here has it. The absolute paranoia of The Thing layered with the mundanity of selecting carrots.