My dear, I can’t stay.
You have a disease, I’m afraid –
Income less than 20K
Per year. After bills paid,
None at all!
A fatal flaw.
My dear, cover your mouth!
You shouldn’t shout
Where I can hear – I read about
A plan to route
Your problem –
My dear, take this mask –
It pains me to see
Kindly cover your need,
Lest you infect me
I’m deeply concerned over the urban society that will emerge once we “re-open.”
Social distancing – while a necessary response to an airborne contagion – has a socioeconomic component as well.
Anyone who can afford to move away from dense population centers, or otherwise stratify their existence, will do so. Anyone who can’t afford to move or avoid public transit or work from home will be – not to put too fine a point on it – screwed.
They’ll be stigmatized for a while, while society’s attention holds. Long-term, they’ll just be neglected and ignored, until the situation becomes so bad it’s declared a “blight” and a “public health crisis” and the whole thing is bulldozed. Literally and metaphorically.
Here, then, is our challenge: to maintain the physical rationale of non-contagion, while understanding that there is no meaningful separation between any of us when faced with mortality.
I would rather base a plea for caring on shared life – but life is easy to ignore. People do it all the time. Death is not so easy to ignore. So she carries the message.
Here is the antidote to apathy and apartness. Let Death, in one of her guises, tap you on the shoulder every now and then. Listen when she says: “The Life of one is the Life of many, the problems of one are the problems of all. My child, my loved one – as I seek you, seek compassion.”