It looks like my attempt to get the phrase “In the Age of the Virus” to catch on isn’t working. It looks like the Internet prefers “In the Time of Corona” because it sounds more like the title of Gabriel García Márquez’s book In the Time of Cholera. It’s okay. I got over the term “Internaut” not catching on… I’ll get over this.
But there are three other phrases I often hear people say and or write when we refer to pre–COVID-19 life, life during COVID-19, and what we hope will some day come—life after COVID-19.
- Before All This Happened. Apparently, the Russians have a proverb that goes something like this: “Want to hear God laugh? Tell him your plans.” Did you have plans for stuff in April, in May, for 2021? God is laughing really hard now.
- Since All This Happened. Our now lives now that everything is impacted by this pandemic: from small inconveniences to catastrophic life events.
- When This is All Over. A hopeful phrase that someday things will go back to normal—or what they were like Before This All Happened. I think this is foolish because things will never be like they were. Either we’ll have sunshine and rainbows… or it will be hell on earth. We’ll either come to realize that global unity and democracy will solve our problems—or we’ll go tribal and start world wars against other countries as we embrace fascists and autocrats. Take a guess where I put my money.
I’m not a linguist or semiotician, but it looks like “THIS” is the metonym for life during COVID-19. It refers to a lot of different things:
- the social distancing and our missing personal contact
- mass unemployment
- the global economic collapse
- cancelling everything
- spending all your time at home
- sanitizing everything
- being scared to go outside
- feeling guilty about going outside
- the pandemic and the toll it’s taken on our health care system
- everyone’s lives being transformed— rapidly and in unexpected ways
Hopefully, you’re reading this in a future where my site still exists and when This ended. And there were sunshine and rainbows.