Day 17 of quarantine and we wake to abrasive screaming over a broadcast system through our closed windows. A voice tells us not to go outside, the virus is not finished. Dr. Zhong posts a message: our first quarantine failed because too many stubborn people socialized, and we will need a better one to stop the spread. More cities go into total lockdown today. The drastic measures scare some, but most see them as necessary to combat this virus on a grand scale. Today is the first day back to work for many people in China.
One of my favorite stoics and one of the last great Roman Emperors, Marcus Aurelius, wrote a helpful exercise. You should view your life from above, like a bird’s eye view on your home, your community, your city, your country, and the whole planet as a blip in the endless vastness of space. Your base emotions, such as anxiety, panic, fear, anger, frustration, and boredom, are not so important. We are but small players in the larger story. When seen from above, our feelings disappear. Together, we fight to extinguish the chains of transmission of this virulent virus.
More Canadians try to leave China, and Thailand is one of the few places still offering (cheap!) flights. I’m reminded of a biblical quote that says, “if I come to a land with the plague I do not enter, but if I’m in a land with a plague, I do not leave.” This is good advice. We are safer to stay put.
In a comforting reversal from yesterday’s reporting, experts are saying there is no evidence for aerosol transmission. Cities continue to spray public areas with powerful chemical disinfectants. If my day feels like it’s full of paradoxes, it might be. We can only wait.
High school starts today, online. My first English class is an audio call with glitches, echo, and delay, giggling voices. They’re busy with homework, some hardly noticed what’s going on outside. Others are angry. Angry at what, I ask? “Those people who ate bats and caused this.” I let them know we’re not sure bat soup is the cause, but they’ve heard what they heard, and they’re mad. My next class is IELTS writing. We use a chat format, and it goes much more smoothly. I assign homework, and they do it.
The delicious bouquet of fragrances of my lentil soup masks the spicy hotness. We eat well today.
I’m practicing my ukulele, and Xiaolin turns the camera on me. Next thing I know, we’ve got a good dozen family members watching our rock show for babies. Xiaolin is an ethereal singer, and I strum through a half dozen children’s classics, the best of the Beatles, Jammin’, and Somewhere Over The Rainbow x It’s a Wonderful World before my fingers swell up.