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Chronicles from #contagion – Day X

March 27, 2020. One day you wake up and the world will never be the same again. It happened to many but you never thought it could happen to you, just today. You look around amazed and you don’t want to believe it, you close your eyes and think “it’s not real, soon I’ll wake up and everything will be like before”. But you don’t wake up and weeks go by, and you’re always there, attune, looking around, waiting…waiting.

Originally published by The Plague and the Fire. Translated by Enough 14.

Meanwhile, the world goes on, in its own way. You can no longer leave home except to go to work, everything else happens online: shopping, leisure, relationships. Your phone manages your life: it knows when your vital parameters are altered and connects you with your doctor or contacts your pharmacist to get a prescription, when you are sad it puts on cheerful music and recommends a pill, when you need affection it sets a skype meeting with a friend, when you are tired it sets the alarm clock an hour later. You no longer need to worry about anything, every detail has already been decided for you, you just have to work to pay off your debt to the companies that manage your life, for the state that guarantees your safety. You have no more aspirations because there is nothing better to achieve, no regrets because there is nothing else you could have done. THATS IT. Everything else is irregular and therefore must be promptly eliminated or normalized.

The people you loved are just distant memories, Whatsupp contacts who occasionally appear in chats and send you photos of distant places you can no longer reach. Sometimes they become voices in long phone calls that talk about nothing: about how the bread made with the thermomix is today the same as always, about the latest best seller bed, about the forms of entertainment that are needed to pass the time that otherwise does not pass.

You don’t even remember well anymore but there are things that have disappeared from your world and now they seem like pencil scribbles erased badly in your head, there are remnants of landscapes, parks, paths, wild places, emotions that no longer have any form. There are photos that portray them but no longer tell the same story, like fetishes of another soulless time.

While waiting you also forgot who you were, where you came from, maybe you wanted to do it to better to cope with the situation, to be able to believe that this was the only way to go. You still don’t believe, “everything will return to the way it was before”, but then you realize that you don’t even remember how it was before. You realize that the only world you have now is this one, and that you are just a number. You realize that all around you is full of concrete boxes with millions of You all the same and different at the same time, that outside the concrete boxes there are iron boxes that transport You to other concrete boxes. Nothing else. Back and forth between the concrete boxes. 2 times a day, 5 days a week, 12 months a year. Cement boxes that swallow time, the rest is just time that somehow has to pass, that’s why there are pastimes.

One night you have a strange dream: you dream you wake up one morning and instead of taking the iron box that leads you to the concrete box you start walking, someone sees you and decides to follow you. In a few minutes you are already about sixty and you keep on growing. Nobody talks but you all know where you are going. You get to the first concrete box and destroy everything. Take what you need and destroy the rest. The others inside the box help you. Then you go to the second, and then to the third, and so on.

You wake up in the morning, it’s early in the morning and outside the sky is grey, like every day. The alarm sounds and it’s time to start a new day, your reassuring routine awaits you. You eat your tasteless breakfast then put on your mask and gloves and head for the elevator. You press the button to call it but nothing happens. There’s no electricity. You walk down the stairs to the entrance. The button to open the door doesn’t work either. You pick up the phone but there’s no signal. You ring the doorbell in the apartment on the hallway but no one answers. You go upstairs, more doorbell. No one. Not even on the third floor, not on the fourth. Everything is silent. You go back to the door, take the umbrella rack and break through the glass. There are dozens of people in the street, looking around in circles, no one says a word, nobody comes near the others. In the crowd you see a friendly look behind the mask, you reach him and with a hiss you ask “what the hell is going on?”. The other takes you by the hand and whispers in your ear “nothing, it was just a bad dream. Let’s get going, if we go fast we could be back in the mountains again in a few days…”.

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