CoVID-19 Day 45
I heard someone on YouTube use the word ‘dystopian’ the other day and it just didn’t sound right. I got what he meant and he obviously knew what it meant, but it came across as something borrowed and didn’t fit. We’ve heard about flattening the curve innumerable times but key people would talk about ‘exponential’ as being a thing rather than being descriptive.
It’s funny when kids throw into conversations words they’ve learned, proudly presenting their discovery but clearly not understanding what it is they’ve discovered. Other times they obsessively use a word that pleases them and makes them feel grown up, unaware that the attention it draws has more to do with being amused than impressed.
CoVID-19 is bringing up words and phrases we are newly familiar with. I had never heard of PPE before this pandemic but it just slips off the tongue now and so many people use it as if they’d used it for years. But dystopia and exponential curves don’t drop into conversations, the former because it’s in danger of being overused and not carrying the force that it’s definition requires, the latter because it just isn’t useful at the this stage.
I remember years ago when industrial relations became prominent in the news, though ‘industrial’ was an odd word because only occasionally would it have anything to do with industry as such. Union officials used the word ‘intransigent’ so often you’d think they’d just purchased a job lot. I don’t know if it was a stock phrase but I’d never hear it before in any context. When I first heard it, it sounded pretentious but it I finally came round to it being appropriate.
Processing words and ideas is getting harder. Maybe that’s because the questions to answers pipeline is blocked. We are getting to the point of societal constipation, trying to process the tragedy, heartbreak and frustration but with no satisfactory outlet. It’s a little like the fancy dress party where you spend hours dressing up, get to the party and admire the work of others then find yourself having a normal conversation with Frankenstein’s monster and the whole thing becomes out of focus.
It feels like Groundhog Day but it isn’t. It seems many of us are going through this weird introspection without the navel gazing. Nothing fits. Everything is weird yet normal looking. The Zoom meetings connect us yet they don’t. Maybe this is what dystopia looks like. Maybe we are on the exponential curve and and it’s just getting too weird to process.
The teacher in Ecclesiastes says all is vanity and chasing after wind but concludes by saying it is our lot to eat and drink and enjoy the work of our hands. We are trying to close too big a circle.