Life After COVID

It’s almost surreal

Sunset over the city full of traffic. Photo by Nazly

Life is getting a bit weird because everything is so normal. I saw TENET in the theatre. We’ve been to four birthday parties. There’s traffic. It’s eerie.

Just four months ago we couldn’t leave the house. Not for groceries, not for medicine, not anything. We’d wait for the government truck to come by, until deliveries got going. You could hear birds.

Now it’s like we can’t stay in. We’ve travelled at least 2000 km around the island since curfew ended. The industry is decimated, but honestly, it feels nice seeing brown bodies on the beach. Tourism is still colonialism with tips, as this Eric Fischl painting illustrates:

Eric Fischl, A Visit To / A Visit From / The Island, 1983

Driving around the east coast I could see that the Australian government has placed billboards advertising that YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT if we try to come there, with scary dark faces and waves. But they still want to be tourists here. What assholes.

Life in Colombo is almost completely back as well. I’ve been to four birthday parties this month. People are double-kissing again. At least four kids blew on one birthday cake (which we didn’t eat). Universal masking has Universal Studios, all for show. Technically there’s no COVID on the island to transmit, but I still worry. But life goes on.

What’s strangest of all is that I suspect much of the world is doing the same. No one is in lockdown (Israel is going back) and I don’t think we’re alone in going to restaurants and parties. But I guess most people are doing it with the background hum of death. We’re doing it with nothing in the background, but I still worry.

We’re living a life after COVID, but COVID is still here. Other places like Taiwan or Vietnam or China have shown that you can eliminate and almost completely open up, but it just takes one case for everything to go haywire again. But it is what it is. And it is nice.

I like seeing friends. I like seeing family. It’s nice having birthday parties, even if children ruin the cake. And it is possible. Well over a billion people (including China) are living a life after COVID, or at least a life with COVID outside the door. It’s a good life, but quite surreal. We’re always just waiting for the knock, to welcome us back to the chaos we read about on the news.