On March 22, 2020 COVID-19, Wuhan Flu, Corona Virus, whatever you want to call it, went from invisible to having a face to me. A young, beautiful, vibrant, full-of-life, life face. No matter your religious persuasion, it is not possible this young, beautiful, vibrant, full-of-life, life is not looking down over us all taking on an epic proportion battle against a menace invisible to the naked eye.
The empty store shelves are not invisible. The freeways and streets with a fraction of normal traffic are not invisible. The calm quiet of a late morning tea that is overwhelmed with eerie silence is not invisible. It is palpable.
If you are a tenant you wonder, "How am I going to pay my rent?" If you are a landlord, you wonder, "How will I pay my property taxes, or mortgage, or maintenance crew?" If you are an entrepreneur you wonder, "Do I need to find a job and doing what for who?" If you are a bag boy at a grocery market, you never appreciated the significance of being an integral part of an essential business. If you are part of a non-profit you wonder, "How can I make a fund raising request when toilet paper has acquired near unicorn rarity?" If you lack any spec of soul or decency you are looter/scammer wondering, "How can I profit at the detriment of innocent bystanders?" If you are a dictator you wonder, "How can I remain in power at the helm if the people know I am scared to death?" Politics might make strange bedfellows; apparently, global pandemics do too.
That awkward first business elbow instead of handshake, that anxious need for a Silkwood style detoxifying shower after a modestly fruitful trip to the market, that subtle frustration it is hard for people to know you are smiling when your are wearing a mask, that cacophony of unknowns that can't settle on what is the primary fear -- all are tangible.
However, while impacted family and friend circles desperately await news, updates, and word on their friend and loved ones' condition in hospital, it is not personal when it is happening in a different hemisphere, in a non-contiguous continent, in a foreign land, in a different state. When it happens on your smart phone, in a compilation of group texts with a special group of sorority sister friends including some who predate college, and even predate high school days -- that's when this invisible but palpable, tangible menace becomes personal. Even if that young, beautiful, vibrant, full-of-life, life is the closest friend of your close friend's daughter. Even if you never met the recently departed. Those pictures of joy of happiness, of a young woman whose work was essential, in a specialized field of medicine that bridged the gap between life and death, and as so, she continues in this spirit. I met her a couple days ago, virtually, through pictures shared by those who love her. Someone special to me lost someone special to them. The love is palpable and tangible. The love is not invisible. Love is what will carry us through fighting invisible menace.
Dedicated to an Angel.
Contributing Editor: Amy Zidell
Amy is a free-lance writer, web consultant, and entrepreneur. She used to enjoy sushi and dark chocolate but not so much anymore. She gave up waiting for that new perfect pair of sunglasses to update her picture; so she dug up the old pair of sunglasses and snapped away for Then and Now.
Amy tweets social and political commentary at @almostcoherent.