My tour of local lockups showed me that America has a new social division. There are two kinds of people—those who have endured the flu and the ones who haven’t caught it yet.
It was easy to spot flu virgins in prison. They were scared witless. They preferred not to breathe, avoided contact, barely looked around. Some were quietly preparing to die, praying in corners, trembling.
I empathized with their vulnerability because I fear the resistant strain of TB. But I was already a flu survivor. Unless someone pounded them out of me, I wasn’t going to spit bloody bits of lung on the floor.
A burgeoning population no longer feels so endangered, at least from bird flu. You can sense this in the street. I saw a man collapse on the sidewalk today and people barely reacted, as if he were an old-time sloppy drunk. Sure I called 911—which answered from somewhere far away, but quickly. They should make phone contractors sing East Side, West Side till they know the difference.
The president appealed to the nation again. In cautious words I’d once have welcomed—but I now suspect may be exaggerated to justify ever-expansive powers—the voice of the state gave no sign that the flu has effectively wound down. Top gun says no effort will be spared to protect us (from me?), and that vaccine cometh to those who wait. Our vigorous young attorney general made a meatier statement, vowing war on criminals, illegal immigrants, anyone who spreads filth and lies to undermine our resolve.
I see more stories about terrorism than influenza. As long as we continue to dread one another and follow orders, it’s all the same. See me, hear me, fear me.
I have no opinion on the current conspiracy theory that the vaccine release has been delayed to maintain the crisis at a boil. Nothing about that process makes sense to me.
Did I mention that my Irish pal has been detained and is presumably being deported? I’m told they ransacked his (and Lisa’s) apartment for digital photographic storage media. His stash of protective gear has, of course, vanished. He had a Green Card. I’m sorry to have infected him with my special sociopolitical disease. I meant well.
There went the reserve of masks and gloves and goggles I had given him and Lisa.
This Cell Is Your Cell
Don’t bother sending me quotes, links, and pastes from the Feds’ study showing that 81% of the people they acknowledge having incarcerated in Houston will face criminal charges. I face plenty of charges myself. None have to do with public safety.
I suggest you all look in the mirror and ask which possessions and papers could get you busted. Long before the bug struck, this country boasted 5% of the world’s population and more than 23% of its prisoners. More than one in every 100 adult Americans was in jail. Those figures must be really arresting now.
How many nations responded to the pandemic by locking up so many potential victims?
Not that they don’t want to send this accused felon on vital missions to RAISE whatever they want. I’m being conscripted!
When did they take and test my blood sample to confirm I’d had the flu, you ask? Good question. They had certain opportunities. My work call starts next week.
Anna is feeling poorly. It’s been raining a lot and she is exposed every day to myriad children’s ailments. Without a mask. They give the conscripts color-coded caps and t-shirts, with armbands for the trusties—I mean supervisors.
My turn to take care of her. Teatime, my sweet!