It’s almost like we’re all part of a huge experiment, perhaps orchestrated from outer space, to see how we react to being caged. The pandemic and its associated lockdowns have held us in place for nearly a year now. Long enough that I’ve started to dream about it. For the longest stretch of time my dreams remained in “normal mode.” That is to say, people talked about the pandemic very little and it was represented only by the occasional dream anxiety that I wasn’t wearing a mask. I have yet to recall a dream wherein people are wearing masks. Recently I dreamed that I had to start commuting again, and I climbed on the bus only to remember I’d forgotten my mask at home. It was like one of those showing up to school without your pants on dreams, only scarier.
Dreams are an antidote to the sameness of our days, I suppose. I’ve watched as stable folks I know start to show signs of isolation stress. I’m sure that I’m showing them too, but the thing is we often don’t see such things in ourselves. We’re social animals and we’ve been kept in separate cages for a long time now. I used to go to zoos and feel sorry for the obviously neurotic animals bored out of their skulls, isolated from their species. Even as we were being told that animals don’t think and don’t have emotions, it was clear that their having interactions with our species was like us having nothing but Zoom meetings to keep us in company. It’s artificial, but since the zookeepers have us in separate cages we try to act as if it’s normal.
Speaking of neurotic, at least around here since Trump’s been mostly out of the public eye people have begun wearing masks. Nothing demonstrates that we’re herd animals better than the fact that an obvious charlatan was able to convince millions of people that he doesn’t care only about himself. Funny how people can be used and not even know it. We’ve been enjoying national sanity for just over a month now and things seem like the meds may be kicking in. Vaccine production is booming and, apart from logistic issues, many people are receiving the necessary protection. It’s always made sense to me that other beings exist in the universe. I’m not so arrogant as to assume that we’re all that special. Looking over the past year, it seems as if we may all be guinea pigs after all.