I’m thinking a lot during these long Covidian days of Joseph Conrad and what he might have thought of all this madness. All of our madness what with our running headlong through the election year and the pandemic, so many people so fucking desperate to get back to their brunches and their gyms and their lives from 2019. Or to jump forward to the dream that in 2021 it will all disappear like a bad dream and they can carry on like it never really happened.
I was walking down through the East Village and Soho last weekend, past throngs of young people packed in under awnings and canopies, no masks and no precautions at all. No precautions against COVID-19, nor against anything really. Because they know more and will tell you so. Or shrug and laugh because most of them don’t know anybody who has died yet, so how bad could it really be? The gatherings made me recoil, and my irritation made me think of this, from Heart of Darkness:
“I found myself back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams. They trespassed upon my thoughts. They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an irritating pretense, because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I knew. Their bearing, which was simply the bearing of commonplace individuals going about their business in the assurance of perfect safety, was offensive to me like the outrageous flauntings of folly in the face of a danger it is unable to comprehend. I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty in restraining myself from laughing in their faces, so full of stupid importance.”
Maybe I’m being too judgmental but since we’ve hit another toxic wave in this Corona-Trip, to sit and feign boredom with the entire ordeal seems… hollow. It’s not even like I have knowledge they don’t, except that I know enough to know when I’m being phony. I absolutely know enough to know when I’m being foolish, or vapid, or plain stupid.
Maybe I’ve just reached the point where I no longer feel alive unless I’m back in the jungle.
Insert grimace emoji here. Then another one laughing until it cries.
We are expected to have over 300,000 casualties by the new year. What does that work out to? Is that one in every thousand people in the US? That’s just crazy, or I’m horrible at math. Or both. It’s a fucking big number.