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Last Saturday I was in the Columbus airport, which, by the way, seems to have gotten a clue and ditched its old "One of Us" motto,
...which - thank goodness - no longer hangs from the rafters eliciting snickers from old movie buffs such as myself who got the reference (see post from 4/30/2018 https://www.ailantha.com/blog/one-of-us-one-of-us).
I'm not sure if the airport actually has a new motto, but the new banners at least don't make any inadvertent allusions to bizarre old horror flicks.
Anyway, last Saturday I was sitting at the gate waiting for a flight to Los Angeles when over the PA system came one of those public service announcements we've all gotten used to hearing since the onset two years ago of the COVID-19 pandemic. The voice on the PA reminded us about the Federal requirement of wearing a protective face mask while in the airport and on board aircraft and exhorted us to practice social distancing in public and to keep our hands clean and sanitized. The announcement ended by enjoinning us to all do our part to fight the virus.
After the words rallying us to fight the virus I looked around me,
...and was hit with the strange, surreal mental impression that overtakes me every now and then in which I'm in a science fiction movie about a future in which the planet has been hit by a virulent, hyper-contageous virus that has caused a world-wide pandemic.
The virus is airborne and can attack the lungs with a vengeance. It can rob people of their sense of taste and smell. It can affect brain function.
Then the discovery is made that the virus can also infect without causing any symptoms, which allows it to spread insidiously and exponentially.
Hospitals round the world are at their breaking point. There aren't enough beds for sick patients or medical staff to care for them. Intensive care units are crowded with people on ventilators.
Exhausted, burned-out doctors and nurses are getting sick and dying from the virus. Many of them are quitting their jobs. People are dying because medical care has to be rationed.
People have gotten into the practice of distancing from each other. Countries beseiged by the virus go in and out of lockdowns in which citizens are permitted to leave their homes only to buy necessities or for emergencies. There are supply shortages and bare shelves in the supermarkets.
Human interactions and the conducting of daily business are carried on more frequently on a computer screen. There are virtual corporate meetings, virtual doctor's visits, virtual family gatherings.
Children revert back and forth between going to school and learning what they can from home as the virus retreats then surges.
Masks become the norm and are required in most public places. Life takes on a new, cautious, fearful kind of normal under the pandemic.
But then one year into the pandemic potent vaccines against the virus become available to the public. It is believed that the world may be seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
However there arises a movement of people known as anti-vaxxers who are opposed to the vaccines for political or religious reasons, or who harbor a mistrust of the science.
A subset of the anti-vaxxers are the anti-maskers, who refuse to wear masks in public as they see the mask mandate as an affront to their personal freedom.
And so the virus spreads among the unvaccinated and it mutates in their bodies into new, even more powerfully contagious variants. Eventually new mutations develop the ability to break through the protection of the vaccines and even the vaccinated must fear becoming infected by the unvaccinated. Society takes sides: vaxxed vs. unvaxxed; masked vs. unmasked.
The third year into the pandemic some scientists believe that the virus may never be wiped out and that humans must accustom themselves to living – and dying – with it. Infection and death rates continue to soar.
But through the darkest days there are other scientists working against the virus’s deadly clock to find a cure.
Such is the movie in my mind about a future ruled by a terrible, seemingly indomitable virus fortified by human ignorance and folly. Until I snap back moments later and realize that the movie is no movie but actual reality and the future is not the future but the present.
And as I sat in the airport last week I wondered, what if three years ago I could have looked into a crystal ball and seen into the future what I see around me now?
How shocked would I have been?
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTPN7NYY
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.