Light rain in NYC
April 26, 2020

Glum

A rainy Sunday that underscores these days of suspension. New York is reporting fewer dead each day, and there’s a sense of exhalation at last, although nobody knows what the future holds. Will there be a second wave? Will there be a depression?

My projects and plans for the year have been scrapped, and I feel as though I should invent a new life. Maybe I should work on my resume. Instead, I press on with reading The Plague, dropping the book every few pages to marvel at its resonance: “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.”

When Camus describes the town’s refusal to recognize the reality of the disease, it feels like an indictment of those late February days when I still rode the subway, still made plans, and believed a complimentary bottle of hand sanitizer would protect us all. “They went on doing business, arranged for journeys, and formed views,” Camus writes. “How should they have a thought to anything like plague, which rules out any future, cancels journeys, silences the exchange of views.”

The future is not ruled out, but it’s more difficult to imagine.


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