I went to the hospital today for a regular visit. I hadn’t set foot in the Jewish since last January, long before the madness caused by the pandemic. I found there a well-disciplined, quasi-military organization. I took advantage of a pass because I was visiting hematology, and I didn’t have to wait in line. So I left the place half an hour after entering.
Since I don’t go out often, I’m starting to lose my bearings. It’s the human being who adapts here. The buildings, the seasons, the subway, all that hasn’t changed, but you can now see masked people everywhere, ghosts who avoid each other as much as possible. It is even difficult to catch glances, to dream about them.
I went to downtown to buy a coat in a new shop. At the Eaton Centre, as elsewhere, arrows on the floor, corridors, signs remind you to stay two meters away. The place under renovation was deserted at this time of the morning; it was almost sordid. The Christmas decorations on the front shone for themselves as if the holiday spirit should also keep its distance.
At the shop’s front door, they would take your temperature with a thermometer gun and invite you to clean your hands with alcohol gel. Whether in the metro, in the hospital, or at Uniqlo, the same hygiene was practiced. It’s hard to believe that COVID-19 can be transmitted with all that.
I didn’t stay long in the shop, the time to buy what I had decided on the net. I wasn’t in the mood to walk down the aisles, especially since I quickly suffocate with a mask. I’ve tried a few, but I couldn’t get used to them. I am dreaming of a diving suit…
Speaking of looks, I did catch the eyes of a frail Asian who seemed interested in knowing more about what’s under my eyebrows. Still, it was a very brief flashback to where normality now hides.
I returned home, taking my time in the subway, reading a few short chapters of The Mind, amazed with the wonders and mysteries surrounding the brain, thought, and consciousness.
I wonder what this pandemic will leave as a trace in our fears, our behaviors. We are too young to remember the Spanish flu. We are perhaps too modern or in a hurry to invent wisdom or draw some precautions and conclusions from it.
Am I just getting older and finding that the universe is becoming unreal?
This afternoon I interviewed a 24-year-old candidate. He didn’t seem to be offended by what was going on, possessed by the sunny vitality of his youth.
Some poets note everything in their path, get caught in the nets of their shadows and lights, some scholars observe everything and stagger in their hypotheses, some madmen think only of plots. There is everything else, people, life, Christmas decorations glittering on deserted pavements.
Maybe the world hasn’t changed. As usual, I am still inventing a layer of reality, a kind of honey that I taste playfully and avidly. It keeps my mind fat and, fortunately, cholesterol-free.