I showered today — Tuesday. Pretty sure it’s Tuesday. Shaved, too. No particular reason: I won’t be encountering any other humans today besides my daughter, who is currently sequestered in her room, where she now attends high school. I see her for a few short minutes when she leaves her room to make lunch, which so far she has preferred to eat at her desk. Just like me.
It’s the second day of school. It doesn’t feel like the second day of school; it kind of feels like it’s still April. But here we are.
Five months in, the coronavirus has done something to us as Americans — besides making millions of us sick and killing off 173,490 as of today. It’s changed the way we live, yes, except for the plague rats, which is what my kids call the people who refuse to wear masks, who deny social distance, who insist the whole thing will disappear as soon as the election goes their way. But even plague rats can’t go to the movies.
Coronavirus has changed the way we perceive time. If it weren’t for the Triad City Beat production schedule, my days and months would have no underpinning at all. Even now I have to remind myself that there’s an election coming up. Every Friday takes me by surprise.
Can this truly be autumn if we don’t see school buses jamming up the roads? If there’s no high school football on Friday nights? If Halloween is canceled?
And believe me, buddy: Halloween is canceled. Unless you’re a plague rat. And even then.
Once you get beneath the planet’s orbit, the passing of the seasons and the position of the sun in the sky, time becomes a completely human construct which even in the best of circumstances cannot be trusted. Anyone who’s ever stayed up all night partying can tell you that the hours between 3 and 5 a.m. pass a lot more quickly than their afternoon counterparts.
The coronavirus has deconstructed our notion of time, and so the Lost Summer passes into the Anxious Autumn almost seamlessly, except now our kids are attending school in their rooms instead of watching YouTube or playing video games.
Through it comes a growing realization that, soon, another shoe will drop.