You Make Me Sick- A Rant About Selfishness in the Age of COVID-19
I have been one angry camper today. I made the rather collosal mistake of scrolling through the #ProtestLockdown hashtag on Twitter in the very early hours of this morning, and I became increasingly incensed, to the point of almost wanting to pick a fight with the people protesting, or vociferously supporting the protesters. It doesn’t help, of course, that the vast majority (if not all) of these people are Trump-ist MAGAts, and thus already a red rag to my raging bull!
I get that the economic hardship caused by lockdown measures across the globe are crippling for huge swathes of people. I am facing it myself, and my dwindling finances and decreasing work opportunities are a huge source of anxiety for me. But, for me, I know that my anxiety would be compounded a hundred-fold if I were to put another person at risk of serious illness and, potentially, death.
I’ll freely admit to being prone to self-loathing and self-sabotage (for an incredibly astute discussion of self-sabotage, I encourage you to read this post on the subject from Deviant Succubus). As such, I don’t really give much of a shit about myself, and in many respects I don’t necessarily care if I were to catch COVID-19, even if it ultimately meant the end of my existence here in this life. I apologise for such negativity, but it is the reality for me.
But that’s just the thing, isn’t it? It’s the reality for me. It is not the same for other people, and I have no right to endanger or cause harm to someone else who doesn’t share my self-negating attitude. I’m not trying to paint myself as some saintly Mother Theresa here, always putting others ahead of myself. But when the outcome for those others is an horrendous ordeal, the effects of which may and likely will affect them for the rest of their lives- if indeed they survive it- then, yes, I’m going to do everything I can to take the high road and make no apology for feeling that it makes me a good person.
I suffer from Social Anxiety, and social distancing has been a way of life for me long before this virus arrived to wreak its terrible havoc. I hate having to go to the grocery store, and have routinely used online shopping as a means of dealing with that. But with all the online delivery slots gone, quite rightly reserved for the elderly and those at very high risk, I have been having to brave the outside world. I do so with trepidation, not about the virus so much as my usual paranoia. When I do go out, I wear a facemask. I know that there are differing viewpoints among scientists and medical professionals as to the effectiveness of masks in protecting the wearer from contracting the virus. But that’s not my reason for wearing it. My own reasons for donning the mask are twofold:
1. To avoid expelling any spittle or other airborne nasties that could potentially contain the pathogen; and,
2. To put others who may pass me in the street, or be queued up with me waiting to get inside the store, at at least some sense of ease that I am not going to be breathing COVID germs into their airspace.
I don’t bear any ill-will to those who choose not to mask-up. As I’ve noted, the jury is still out on masks and, unless the science finds that their use should be made mandatory, I figure it’s the choice of the individual. However, what does piss me off no end are the people who stroll down the street with no protective covering, their noses in their mobile phones and with no awareness of their surroundings. Several times, I have had to hurriedly dance out of their way as they steamroll towards me, oblivious.
Now, okay, I’m wearing a mask, which may or may not protect me from inhaling their potentially harmful air. And, as we’ve established, I am not overly attached to my existence and take an “if it happens, it happens” viewpoint. But how many other people are these phone-besotted individuals running into — quite literally!- on a regular basis? Folks who choose not to wear a facemask, but who very much DO care if they get ill or pass it on to members of their household. (I should probably say at this point that I am shielding on my little lonesome here in my flat.) It angers me that these individuals bear so little regard for how their actions could affect those around them.
Which brings me to America, and the Lockdown Protests. While some of the protesters wear masks and other protective equipment (a strange conundrum when some of them conversely carry signs and shout slogans that COVID-19 is a hoax and a Democrat conspiracy), none of them are practising social distancing. They are creating a perfect petri dish in which to spread the virus.
To a large extent (okay, to a complete and utter extent), I don’t care if these people get sick and die. And I know that I’m a nasty, vindictive person for thinking this (I told you I wasn’t Mother Theresa!) However, I most heartily believe that such folks should have to sign a waiver forfeiting their right to treatment if, or as is more likely, when they fall ill. I know that this thinking leads to a slippery slope of deeming myself a worthy arbiter of who “deserves” the right to medical care. And I guess, deep down, I probably believe that people are people, and just because I disagree with them and their politics, I don’t have any right or authority to “play God” (says the atheist) with other people’s lives. But by the same token, what gives the protesters the right to put other people’s lives at risk? What of the doctors and nurses who will be called upon to treat these people? What of all the frontline workers who have no choice but to come into contact with others? I cannot imagine how frightening that must be for them, and to do anything to put them at an even more increased risk seems to me like slapping them in the face. Or, to use a more fitting and literal analogy, spitting a diseased ball of sputum in their faces.
A further factor that really sticks in my craw is that some of these protesters are using the slogan “my body, my choice” — well known to be the argument of the Pro-Choice Movement. Funny that they should (incorrectly) appropriate this slogan for their anti-Lockdown protest, given that when it a uterus-owner arguing for bodily autonomy, these same protesters are the first to attack her. And when I say “funny”, naturally I mean really fucking teeth-clenchingly, fist-curlingly infuriating!!
Rant, rant, rant, Jupiter. I apologise for the length of my diatribe. I realise that as much as anger serves an important function for us, in the current climate, there is a need for us to separate ourselves from feelings of anger and frustration as much as possible. So, if you have read through, I thank you for allowing me to vent my steam (eww, sounds a bit gross), and now I think we all need a cup of tea, a biscuit, and some nice, chilled ambient tunes…. 😉
Stay safe and well, lovely people xx
Originally published at http://jupiterslair.com on April 23, 2020.