Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Microstory 1338: Social Distance Learning

Data Gatherer: We tried to ask a bunch of random people on the street whether they were more concerned with the virus, or how the elections were going to be handled this term, and the responses...were hard to find. The few people we found walking the mostly empty streets were wearing masks and/or trying to keep their distances from us, and the few responses we did receive were too depressing for our show. At least, that’s what I believed. I instead decided to go back home and video chat with everyone I knew, to ask them some lighthearted questions about their experiences with social distancing. In particular, I was looking for funny stories. Not everything I heard was as lighthearted as I had hoped. My boss has allowed me to upload this last video, but I have been let go. The first person I called was my college roommate. We’ve not spoken in seven years. I think he forgot who I was.
College Friend: Nah, man. I didn’t forget you. I just wasn’t expecting your call. So yeah, social distancing has been fine. I was kind of built for this. I’m a web developer, so I never saw the point in going into the office anyway. They eventually gave my desk to an intern to use while I wasn’t around, so this was just kind of an obvious next step. I don’t really have any funny stories to tell. I have let myself go, so I look more ape than man, but my life hasn’t changed too terribly much. I don’t have kids, or any other responsibilities.
Ex-Girlfriend: I have a ton of responsibilities. This has turned my life into chaos. I get my hair done on Mondays, my nails done on Tuesdays. Wednesdays are for massages. Thursdays are all about me, staying at home, reflecting, so Thursdays are fine. Fridays, I always used to go out to bars or clubs, but nothing’s open anymore. I don’t really see the point in all of this. I’m young, I’ve never been sick a day in my life. I should be able to go out and have fun.
Former Co-worker: Oh, it’s been a lot of fun. Not only am I stuck at home all day, but so are my kids. My. Six. Kids. Well, two of them are my nieces, because my sister and her wife are both doctors. And one of them is an adult who’s been helping out, but it’s still been really stressful for us. They are a joy, make no mistake, but we’re running out of fresh entertainment. Our youngest wants to watch the same episode of a kid’s show over and over again, so if you’re looking for something funny, that’s your story. It’s not funny haha, though. It’s more funny oh God, get me out of here, I’m going crazy.
Brother: The crazy thing is that I’ve been preparing for this my whole adult life. You all called me insane for hoarding those cans of food, and keeping hand sanitizer with me at all times, but who’s laughing now? Who has all the toilet paper, and masks? Me, I do. Well, I don’t have the masks anymore, because my reusable pack finally arrived, so I was able to donate my disposables to a hospital. Yeah, that’s right; not all preppers are selfish jerks. The shows you watch are all about the ones buying guns and bunkers, but most of us were never excited about the end of the world. We still want to stop it, and I’m doing what I can from my end.
Neighbor: The world is not going to end. Everyone is blowing this whole thing out of proportion. Tens of thousands of people die from the flu each year. Now, I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it is normal. It’s nature’s way of keeping the population down—I really believe that. Old people are supposed to die. Nobody tried to stop it before, so why are we all freaking out now? As the saying goes, this too shall pass.
Social Media Acquaintance: My father passed from this yesterday. No, it’s okay, I want to say this. He was old, and he was on his way out. I don’t know if what he went through with the virus was better or worse than what he was dealing with before. I don’t know whether he would have preferred to stay alive for longer, or end it faster. He stopped being able to talk, so I’ll never know what he was thinking about in the end. Everyone at the hospital was really great. I felt very comfortable leaving him there, and not being able to see him, because I knew he was getting the best care possible. Things are getting bad, though. They’re starting to make triage decisions. Triage, Data Gatherer. That’s not the kind of thing you normally have to do in a hospital setting. Anyone who doesn’t believe this virus is a big deal should be placed in formal quarantine, and left there, even when this is over, because people like that are a danger to society under all circumstances. Though, I guess my anger at them goes against the spirit of what we’re trying to get back here.
Data Gatherer: These were some of the less dispiriting stories, if you can believe it. People need streamed entertainment right now, so maybe it’s a good thing I’ve lost my job. It will give me time to focus on my personal channel. I don’t have a funny story either. Stay safe; stay inside.

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