Friday, April 03, 2020

The Future Caught Up To the Present Thanks to Covid-19 or We Zoom Now

Melinda Palacio

Life feels as if we have boarded a space ship at warp speed and time traveled into an apocalyptic future where humans no longer interact face to face, let alone touch each other. There’s a shortage of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues (any kind of soft paper that can be used to wipe the nether parts). Hand sanitizer and all kitchen, toilet, and bath cleaning products are also scarce, not because these items are difficult to make, but because some humans have panicked and decided to hoard these products either for their own shelters or for a potential profit, pandemic price gauging. There’s also a virus infecting every human, rich or poor, young or old and there is a shortage of kits to test whether or not someone has the virus. To make matters worse, a person can feel fine but be a silent carrier of the virus, possibly infecting their friends, coworkers, and family. Shutting down society and social distancing is the only cure. All non-essential work and schooling has ceased and the people must stay home to save the world and end the pandemic. 

If someone were to describe the current situation to me six months ago, I would have thought it a horror or apocalyptic story of the worst kind, B-movie material at best. Yet, this is where we’re at with all social activities including work and worship canceled, entire communities on lockdown. Some people seem to be going stir crazy with boredom. Through apps such as Zoom, some have found solutions to keep working, studying, and overall keep a loose grasp on ties to friends and loved ones. As someone who has more musical hobbies than I can keep up with, guitar, ukulele, and singing, I welcomed the time when little demand was placed on me and social distancing meant keeping to yourself. As Covid19 continues to peak and more people realize what a long haul this pandemic is forcing upon us, I find I have to pull back from all the virtual social activities tugging for my attention, whether it’s a zoom hangout or a live stream concert on facebook. Part of me wants to interact virtually with all of my virtual friends, but part of me knows I need to guard my time and energy for my creativity and writing. Anytime I can do an activity that doesn’t involve mindlessly staring at my phone is a win for me, a win for humanity. 

After all, everyone from Toddlers to Elders are connecting through zoom. I’ll always push for less screen time, but it seems as if we have lost that war. To combat this, I suggest everyone participate in National Poetry Month, place a poem in your pocket, memorize it, recite it to a friend or colleague next time you have a zoom meeting. Enjoy your solitude, read more. Don't panic. To the person hoarding toilet paper and wheat flour, please stop. 

Stay home, stay safe, and wash your hands.    

Don't have a poem to memorize? Try this one. 

Mango Juice
by Pat Mora

Eating mangoes 
on a stick
is laughing
as gold juice 
slides down 
your chin
melting manners,
as mangoes slip
through your lips sweet but biting

is hitting pints
blindfolded and spinning
away from the blues
and grays

is tossing 
fragile cascarones
on your love’s hair,

confetti teasing him
to remove his tie
cant and shoes
his mouth open
and laughing
as you glide 
more mango in,
cool rich flesh 
of Mejico

music teasing
you to strew 
streamers on trees 
and cactus
teasing the wind 
to stream through 
your hair blooming
with confetti and butterflies

your toes warm 
in the sand.

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