Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Life Comes At You Fast

March 11th was a fairly unremarkable day. According to my records it was a Wednesday, slightly overcast, and I had the day off.

It was a mere 13 days ago, which seems somewhat impossible to believe. It was a day in which I opened up this blog for the first time since summarising the last decade back in November. I started to write a post.

The working title was, melodramatically, 'On Growth', and was set to be a piece in which I spoke my greatest wishes for the future into existence. I was bristling with excitement, with a corker of a start of the year under my belt and plans for a whole new journey ahead. I found love, dear reader. I found hope. And I found a drive to take on the world akin to that gusto that had seen me start this blog 8 years ago.

I opened with the sentence; 'Right now, the year is 2020, and I am 27 years old.' And that was it. The year itself felt an unremarkable statement, the now-inane seeming content of the post, not inane at all.

But back in November last year, right when I was lost deep in the turmoil that saw me desperately recount the last ten years, little could I, or any of us have known that the seed of something dark and deeply sinister had begun to root in this world.

Something that would begin as just a snippet of an article on Twitter, a passing anecdotal remark shared over coffee, a joke between friends that allowed us to reminisce over our favourite apocalypse movies. I can't even pinpoint the exact moment that it became incredibly, terrifyingly real, but due to our inherent western-lensed privilege, it really doesn't feel like that long ago. Never in a million years could we have expected then what was coming, and just how quickly and dramatically it would upend the entire planet.

So I guess I'll start that original post again.

Right now, the year is 2020 and I am 27 years old.

And right now I, alongside millions of other people in nearly every country on earth, am locked in a nationwide quarantine inside my own home in an attempt to protect humanity from a deadly virus which has taken over the planet and infected hundreds of thousands of people.

It's staggering to think it was less than two weeks ago that this was so far from my thoughts that I could even begin to imagine my future. Just this morning, on my single government-sanctioned walk into town, I breathed 'oh my god' audibly spotting a man carrying a luxurious bounty of two 4-packs of toilet roll. Later, I was genuinely ecstatic to find a lone packet of bagels squirrelled away on the back shelf of newsagents I'd had to wait 10 minutes outside of, in a box marked on the pavement in hazard tape. So when I finished my last post with 'Here's to ten more years of trying to do the right thing and causing a whole hot mess of a life along the way!' I really had no fucking clue what was just around the corner.

So this is my life now.

I've been out of work for nearly two weeks and the official lockdown of this country started last night.  And while it's expected to last three weeks, we all know it'll last a lot longer and the situation is about to get a lot, lot worse. So as I wile away endless hours watching modern society descend into chaos, knowing if I leave my house I could get fined or potentially kill a whole bunch of people, and I don't know whether any of my friends or family will survive this - I guess I'm just gonna write. I'm well aware there's far more important stories to tell and read during this pandemic, but I can't really tell any other story than my own.

And I suppose there's never been a greater prompt than the end of the fucking world, right?