Yesterday, the Bay Area went into lockdown in an attempt to slow down the coronavirus pandemic. For someone who grew up in a place with actual, real curfews – the kind that would leave you with a bullet in the head if you were found meandering the streets after hours – what’s happening right now is not anywhere near as severe as people here think it is. It’s actually a beautiful thing, a call for solidarity and community.
It’s quite simple, really. This virus is super freaking contagious and while most of us won’t get actually sick, as in suffering symptoms, those who do will overtax the health care system. We need to slow down the rate of spread so that all the people that are gonna need medical care, with or without coronavirus, can get it.
I’m not exactly sure how well these measures will work, I’m not an epidemiologist, but I guess limiting crowds to the grocery store is better than also having them in the pubs, restaurants, cinemas, schools, museums, offices, etc. The ask is straightforward: do not hang out in groups without an excellent reason for the next three weeks. An excellent reason is, if you’re a doctor, a firefighter, work at a grocery store, that kind of thing. Things that people really do need to keep life going. If you just wanna fuck around, don’t. Just stay home.
The thing is, for most folks this is a huge change in lifestyle. I have actually been in lockdown since January 10, when I got sick and didn’t really get well for a while. Then my co-working space got evicted and I was too busy to look for a new one, and now I can’t, even if I wanted to. I live alone, and my clients are all over so I was already mostly writing by myself and spending hours on Zoom video conferences. I’ve been in this mode for over two and a half months.
It can be crazy making, this is true, but it’s also not that big of a deal: we’re not out of food and water, we’re not all super sick at the same time, we’re not all broke. At least not yet. I do believe we might be, and that this may be an unavoidable part of the process of the collapse of a system that is toxic, unworkable for most, and doomed to end. I have no idea what exactly the end of patriarchal neo-liberal capitalism will look like, but I have a feeling that it won’t be smooth or pleasant. I am certain it will be absolutely worth it.
Until then, at least in San Francisco we have the next 21 days to stay home and think through what the beginning of the new world order might entail. I did walk past a neighborhood bulletin board and I saw offers for assistance to neighbors and restaurants selling to go meals at cost. It did inspire me and warmed my heart. I am, as always, feeling super optimistic about the future of humanity and the Earth, in the loooooooooooooooooooong run. I’m pretty sure we’ll all go through some profoundly difficult times first, but practicing a way of being that is grounded in love, solidarity, generosity, and community is what will get us through, and allow us to transition successfully – eventually. Until then, remember that what we practice regularly is what we become, and how we behave is a huge part of who we really are. Who do you really wanna be?