Our pal Evelyn says she brought the following manifesto to the meeting I skipped. Did she intend to hand it to me and declare herself? Bombard me with paper planes while I was dozing?
Evelyn wrote two distinct messages—a preface to me and an appeal to the world:
Dear ____, I wasn’t very aware of bird flu before the pandemic hit. I thought it was a hyped up monster story. I’ve learned a lot, thanks to you and your blog.
You said you didn’t personally know anyone who died in your Round One. I did. This isn’t a survival game for me. I’m not trying to profit or prove anything.
I believe in what I’m doing. It keeps me alive. More people need to do more while there’s still a chance. It’s not just about breathing. It’s about the world we want to live in. I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet, but that shouldn’t keep you from posting this. I bet you can think of a selfish reason to do what your heart wants to do anyway.
We are little people who have lost someone or who fear that we can and will lose someone. We are the immune system of this society, standing up and banding together to fight something we don’t recognize or understand, but which threatens all of us.
We are little people united by the fact that we breathe together and we hope to breathe together next year, no matter what we think of each other.
We are not alone. We are tens, hundreds of millions of Americans, billions of world citizens, and we must stand up together to fight for our survival.
Meet with your neighbors. Learn from them. Teach them. If they’re sick, help them. If they’re hungry, feed them. Meet with others who feel as you do, no matter what they think they think. Band together to do more than you can accomplish on your own. Save others. You may just save yourself, too.
Create your own DIY. Call it anything, in any language. Do it for yourself and for others and for the future we all want and need to have. It only needs teamwork and a sense of humor. If you don’t have one, team up with someone who does.
Evelyn ends with a private note: “Guess which one I’m missing?” Hard to tell. Personally, I’m missing both. Guess I missed her as well. Too bad: She sounds interesting again.