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A cholesterol-free mind

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.

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