Well, guys and gals, shit. There’s no other way of putting it. Or, at least, that’s how I feel like putting it, while I watch the rest of the world and how they’re coping (or not) with this whole COVID-19 stuff. I hear stories from people in the UK, in the US or even from […]
Well, guys and gals, shit.
There’s no other way of putting it.
Or, at least, that’s how I feel like putting it, while I watch the rest of the world and how they’re coping (or not) with this whole COVID-19 stuff.
I hear stories from people in the UK, in the US or even from other countries in Europe and I think to myself “Damn, it’s good to be Italian“. Yes. It is good. Even right now, into the center of the storm. We were the first to isolate the virus, we are the first outside of China to use artificial intelligence to diagnose COVID-19 pneumonia through MRI, we have social security and our Government might be there more by chance than by skill but at least they’re trying to put up some sort of economical umbrella for us all. We keep complaining but look at other Countries. We are trying.
Our major, here in Milan, has been releasing a daily video, every day around noon. A sort of “War dispatch” in which he updates us on how things are going and what is the municipality doing. Right now, in his own words, the virus hasn’t breached the city: with a population of 3,26 million people in June 2019, we have less than 1000 confirmed cases. This is frankly awesome for everybody because our hospitals are flooded with people all over the Region. I especially recommend this one: he’s talking about a new Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, which you might know as a progressive rock band but in fact is an old establishment, here in Milan, to which the more wealthy citizen can donate to provide food and shelter to those weaker and more exposed. Social security, in Milan’s vernacular slang, is still sometimes called “mutua” because of those establishments. And if you’re thinking that the State should provide, I would say that
a) you’re not from the US;
b) as I was saying, we are trying.
When it comes to everyday life, things are pretty much as I narrated them last week. Except I feel like they’re slowly slipping downhill. Not the apocalypse we thought about (that had zombies and shotguns) but a much more silent and an exceedingly more sad one.
Groceries and butcher shops are still open, thank God, because there’s no way you can approach any supermarket. The queue goes on forever.
A few days ago I directed my hunt downwards, as two of them are bravely resisting over there, and I found myself thinking what I would do if they rightful decided to close too. I would figure out something.
Because there’s no fucking way in hell I will queue for two hours outside the supermarket. No fucking way.
I have too many things to do.
Things like trying to save my world from burning.
And I am tired.
By God, I’m fucking tired.
Every day I wake up and I have things planned to do. Instead, or maybe I should say “meanwhile”, I spend my day patching up leaks in the hull, putting out fires, putting up with people going hysterical, trying to keep my friends from going crazy. Whoever said that multitasking doesn’t exist, can kiss my ass. Wearing a rubber mask, maybe.
As for now, after weeks of struggles, I seem to be succeeding. Some people still want to learn and share. Some people still want to invest in better ways of doing things, clearly seeing that the older one is falling apart. Others are afraid, oh so very much afraid, and I can’t blame them. It’s a demon that feeds on itself. Because how can you not hoard up stuff, after you’ve queued for hours outside the supermarket. How can you not be grabbed by anxiety when you’ve been trying to order food on amazon for days now and you always get the warning “no delivery window could be found: the world will reset at Midnight and let the Hunger Games begin”?
And you should.
You have to stay focused, call upon every inch of mental clarity and self-confidence you have.
We will survive. And things will probably never be the same as before. People will have died. People will have lost their jobs. We will have to cope with the memory of the first, and a lot more with the latter. We will have lost important people, people we rely upon to carry on with our lives. It’s not food for the body that we will have problems with, because we frankly have to dig a lot more before we reach anything that slightly resembles starvation. Right now we need to provide immediate support to all who we can’t go on without. Our loved ones. And then people in healthcare, of course, but also people in logistics because – and I will reiterate it again for the benefit of everyone – this modern plague is targeting logistics and, in our age, the collapse of systems is as lethal as the black plague of 1666.
We need to provide support to children and youngsters because if we’re restless one can only imagine what all of this is doing to them.
We need to provide support to shopkeepers and shop owners who are fighting to stay open and they are doing it for us. Please, if you can, try and figure out which small and local enterprises need your support. Because otherwise, I won’t be able to buy groceries, next week. There’s a ton of them, at least around here, delivering goods straight from the Countryside.
We need to be loyal to each other and summon all the solidarity we can concoct.
Except for the assholes.
The assholes can still go fuck themselves.
More than anything, we need to remember to support artists because they have it rough. Lots of people I follow, people who make their living through conferences, publications, and live performances, are moving on Patreon. It feels like witnessing the boarding of Noah’s ark. And to them, it’s pretty much like that. I know it’s scary. I know you don’t think you can spare a dime. But the truth is you can. So, if you can recognize the role of art in your life, toss a coin to your witcher.
Darran Anderson is on Patreon, for instance. A guy I heartfeltly adore. He started with a series called Quarantine Travels and the first stop will take you to Lisbon. His twitter handle is @oniropolis and if you work in the built environment you need him to narrate you your own world, I promise.
Owen D. Pomery has an on-line shop, here. I already talked about the guy, more specifically one of his works. He is a brilliant illustrator. I love his work.
And if you’re in need of a laugh, become a patron of Bug Martini. He draws a daily comic strip, you can find it on Instagram, but he will gift you with a special strip each Sunday.
Or, if you speak Italian, you can follow Leo Ortolani on Instagram. He’s making daily strips about the quarantine and they’re amazing.
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Mentre cerchiamo a tutti i costi di uscire. Perchè se restiamo a casa, ci pare di morire. Poi succede che uno di quei numeri assume un nome. E un volto. Che ti ricordi bene. La striscia di oggi è dedicata ad Armando Maestri. #restateacasa #solocosì #andratuttobene
So, that’s pretty much it. That’s the world we live in. It won’t be over any time soon.
And a friend has fallen sick, taken away by the ambulance.
As per yesterday evening, we have 1 degree of separation from the damn thing.
As, I was saying…
I have one last loving thought, and it’s for all of those who are taking it as a vacation, going to the park and walking the dog, because they can’t stand isolation and they don’t have anything to do.
What the fuck.
You sad bunch of lost souls.
Why can’t you understand?
What is it that you don’t understand?
You need to work twice as fast, three times as efficient, a hundred times more flexible.
You need to study and work your asses off, because when this thing will be over – if ever – the real fun will begin.
You cannot stop.
You will be dead in a month.
And not because of the virus.