by Kaye George
(The difference between the 60s and 70s and now)
I’m trying to imagine that some of what’s going on is familiar, just to keep from floating off, so adrift from reality that there’s no understanding of these times.
This one is familiar, the Mayan Calendar prediction of the end of the world. This was predicted several times already, maybe 2003 and 2012, according to this article. The new, improved, current End Date is TODAY. If you’re reading this, it hasn’t happened yet, anyway.
Civil unrest is familiar. First the marches for civil rights. I didn’t go, but knew people who went to Selma. In fact, my roommate’s boyfriend not only marched across the bridge, but did a little sightseeing and brought back a Mason jar of moonshine. We’d never been near moonshine in Chicago Illinois, at Northwestern. We all eagerly had a sip. He even had some chem majors analyze it. I forget what percentage was “unknown,” but it was less than 10%. It wasn’t very good.
I also remember when Detroit burned. We drove TO Detroit that Long Hot Summer, listening to the radio reports. My girlfriend lived there, and I was newly married. It was a planned trip to visit her parents’ house in the suburbs and swim in their pool. We didn’t really know the enormity and extent of what happened in those days until quite a bit later. I remember that “Come on BabyLight My Fire” by the Doors, which had been released that spring, got a lot of play right around then, including on the car radio all the way there and back.
The next difficulty was Viet Nam. My husband signed up for the Air Force so he wouldn’t be drafted into the Army. He was a very recent college grad, so he was made an officer. While he was in SE Asia, I had a civilian job working for the Army at the Rock Island Arsenal. A bunch of us joined protest marches across the bridge during lunch time. This was done with my husband’s blessing. (His favorite song over there was “We Gotta Get Outta This Place” by The Animals.) We all figured our names were in a file somewhere from that day on. Our little marches weren’t big enough to make this list.
Difficulty obtaining some wanted and needed items had happened before, too. In fact, within the last year, two of my meds have been withdrawn from the shelves for contamination. A few years ago it was Tylenol.
So, all of them have happened before.
But, what has left my dinghy unmoored, and everyone else’s too, is this pandemic.
Yes, it’s happened before, but not within the lifetime of anyone I know. And it wasn’t well chronicled—it’s not something we studied in history class. Even if it was brushed on, no one left any notes on how to deal with it.
What are we to do? I’m convinced that no one yet knows the complete nature of this deadly beast. We’re all floundering, doing the best we can. Wearing masks and distancing. Wearing gloves when we have to handle something. What else can we do?
Just wait and see what happens. That’s all we can do. Do a LOT of writing and reading—if we can. It turns out that too much of the world population is very short on patience!
Photos: Mayan Calendar from kconner, TP sign from daffers234, both at morguefile.com. Others from Pixabay.com