Togetherness is a state of mind. Apartness is mostly an expression of physical distance.
While we are now encouraged to avoid touching, conversing and even breathing each others’ air, we seem somehow to be drawing closer together. We applaud, encourage, offer aid and make sacrifices for each other. Apart from a small and entitled minority, we refrain from whinging and moaning. Of course, there are the infamous TP battles, the thieves, the massive stockpilers, the would-be profiteers, but then even the most enlightened society has its dregs. Adversity is making most of us nicer. Could it be that CV19 is actually… good for us as people, in some bizarre fashion?
The world is suddenly a little quieter, a little cleaner. Carbon dioxide and pollution levels are falling as people stay home. There is less noise of traffic and industry (although perhaps this is counterbalanced by the whine of lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and power tools, as stay-at-homes take advantage of the unexpected bonanza of time to catch up with yard work and DIY). We show solidarity by decorating the outsides of our houses. We applaud the frontline soldiers enthusiastically. We shield each other from this horrible illness as well as we can. We adapt to the constantly-changing messages as well as we can.
Here in Australia, our bilateral political system has abandoned its endless adversarial bickering and entered into rational cooperation to get bills passed. Our government is showing unnerving signs of acting sensibly and in the interests of the country and the people instead of Big Business.
There is little to no posturing, credit-grabbing or mudslinging except that our fearless reporters have managed to find an investigative bone to worry, and it appears some behind-the-scenes skulduggery in the business of infected passengers being waved off the Ruby Princess cruise ship before test results came back* may emerge. I await developments with interest; there is sure to be a lot of wriggling, denying, passing of hot potatoes and potentially, falling on swords. We have many things to pride ourselves on in our management of the virus, but I suspect this is not one of them.
I hope the togetherness continues, long after we cease to be apart.
*It appears these passengers may represent at least 576 confirmed cases of CV19 out of a total of 5,529 in Australia, and 5 of the country’s 30 deaths. Not enough is known about passengers who passed on to other points to determine how they affected the figures at their final destinations..