Quarantine Confessions: Nothing Is Going To Be The Same
If there is one thing that this long quarantine taught me is that nothing can replace the live experience. Actually, this is barely one of these quarantine confessions, I already knew that because I don’t belong to a generation born with the internet and I have always relied on experiencing things in reality. I have never plunged into virtual reality or I have never played video games. They bore me to death after a few minutes.
I went from a life with 2-3 concerts a week (and sometimes more) to live streams on the internet which are not even close to becoming a good substitute for the real thing. Filmed concerts were already a drag but watching these people adjusting their vertical iPhones while sitting in their living room is the worst piece of entertainment you can imagine. Some people may like it as a rare connection with a human being during these solitary times, but moments like these only remind me how different the world currently is, and how lonely we all are.
I actually don’t mind solitude, as an introvert and loner I endure this situation much better than your average super social extrovert, probably a million times better I guess. However, there is the constant reminder that difficult times are ahead of us, that a lot of people are gonna be sick, that some are gonna die, maybe me, maybe somebody I know, it’s a constant stressful thought working its way into my head, at every second.
To ease (or increase) the stress, there are social media and their endless feed of serious news, fake news and opinions coming from informed and uninformed people, the steady stream of worries, piece of advice and conspiracy theories. Speculations abound during these uncertain times, they are actually out of control and they all need a good slap in the face delivered by some good old experts. But I forgot that everyone has become an expert with a platform aimed at the entire world, and everyone has more certitudes than questions. Doubts are underrated, they are always the product of great minds, but the coronavirus crisis has created more certitudes than doubts on the internet. When I surf the internet, my mind ends up oscillating between the worst fear and the most casual reassurance, without escaping the omnipresent whirl of thoughts. We have never been this connected electronically, and this disconnected emotionally, we can share every one of our thoughts at every second, but I have to ponder whether this is a good thing or not. There’s certainly too much unnecessary noise, and the incessant posting of misread articles and misunderstood headlines creates more angst than before and ends up creating more fake tangent stories than humanity can handle. No, it’s not a hoax, no this was not planned ahead by the Illuminati, there are enough scientific articles documenting how this virus originated from another virus found in a bat or maybe from a combination of a virus found in a bat and another virus found in a pangolin… Shouldn’t everyone be able to read a scientific article correctly, shouldn’t everyone be able to estimate the reliability of an internet source? I am so tired.
I have learned to avoid human beings like the plague these past weeks, I only see masked ghosts in stores and run on the road to avoid people on sidewalks. Will we be able to unlearn this? And there is also a bigger question, is it reasonable to unlearn it in a world where the next viral epidemic could be even more deadly? You can hear experts saying this one was just a rehearsal.
I have been thinking about the future of concerts once we get out of this bad sci-fi movie, will it ever be the same? Imagine the pandemic over, will we be okay with the idea of getting close to each other, elbow to elbow, will we be okay with the idea of sharing the same confined air or receiving someone else’s sweat? In just a few months? Will a crowd surfer carried by hundreds of arms ever be safe again? I keep thinking that I still have a pit ticket for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in October, so far the event was not canceled, and things may be back to normal by then. But when I am thinking about someone like Nick Cave who is always touching a million hands during a performance, could he be doing this in just a few months? I don’t think so. Nothing is going to be the same, before a long time, if it ever goes back to normal. I have also been thinking about the small venues which have now been closed for a long time and are currently begging for money. Some of them may not survive the pandemic and the future of music could be very different.
We have just realized how vulnerable we are when facing such a microscopic danger, just 30 kb of RNA and the entire society is upside down. Covid-19 may have changed everything, some people say there may be an after-Covid-19 society as there was an after-9-11 society, it could become an event leaving a permanent print on society. The main question has to be about the healthcare system. Will this lead to a major reform? One can only hope as a crisis like this one reveals how broken it is and I cannot agree with Madonna declaring in her bathtub that the Coronavirus is ‘the great equalizer.’ It is simply not the case, people with medical insurance will evidently do much better than people without one.
Every day feels the same, it feels like a Groundhog day collective experience. It’s probably the same feeling for everybody, except for doctors and nurses, for them it’s hell every day. Alone at home, we are confronted with our most existential thoughts, but in the end, I am actually spending a lot of time in my small garden, listening to music or podcasts, in a very Voltaire’s we-must-cultivate-our-garden kind of way.