You can threaten us physically, but you cannot quell our bustle. We have fled our physical realm and perched in our respective social media abodes, tweeting, chatting, posting, gaming, Zooming. We know about you; it’s old news. We post updates: ten thousand, fifteen thousand, one hundred-and-twenty thousand. We encourage each other to stay home, wash hands, appreciate those working on the front lines who sacrifice their health to preserve others’. We have even made a joke out of you. You can wrack us with violent cough attacks or clog our lungs with opaque yellow phlegm, but you cannot stop us from calling you Rona and Spiny Boi. And yes, while this is a small victory to wield even as you fell our brethren by the thousands every day, humor and hope are more contagious than any pathogen. We will keep ourselves alive by sharing puerile jests in the virtual world.
I must admit, you have given us privileged, couch potato types the opportunity to feel rather heroic. We can criticize anyone for straying outside, blaming your proliferation on them, while we revel in our lazy superiority. We can criticize the powers that be for not acting soon enough when just a month ago, we were sobbing at the notion that parties, dinners, even school would be canceled. I was to attend an awards ceremony, you know. I was going to wear a gorgeous green dress with a subtle leaf pattern and smile vaingloriously as I accepted whatever flimsy certificate I earned. I would have taken pictures that I could have included in my college application, boosting my image.
Speaking of which, you have screwed over the high school class of 2021. You have driven us into a frenzy. We’re scrabbling for extracurriculars because many of them have been vaporized. The Internet must be abuzz with our searches for virtual opportunities and pages to raise money for charities. A spike of fear shoots through me when colleges reassure that they will be more understanding due to this situation; I know very well I need more, this mantra ringing in my head for ages.
The outside world has become hushed as people talk to each other less and huddle inside their homes, but the voices in my head have grown louder. Responsibilities, emotions, assignments, and random thoughts continually play squash with the walls of my brain. The landscape in my mind is becoming a nuclear wasteland interspersed with Zoom meetings, quizzes, news, and beautiful people with monstrous alter egos from all the young adult novels I poison myself with.
The front door may have permanently swung shut, barring me from strolling out into my neighborhood, yet my life has maintained the same freneticism as before you settled your deadly blanket over the world.
I do hope they find a vaccine soon, so you can be eliminated and I — we — can return to reality.
The “First World”