Works in Progress

COVID Characters: Part IV

“History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created.” – William Morris

In a little over a week,  according to the ArcGIS map here, the COVID cases around the world have reached an astonishing 3,386,519. At this point, the numbers are becoming numbing, and citizens have settled into their new norms, as the US scrambles to care for a staggering 1,115,848 [known] cases.

There are many perspectives at play among the citizens of our world right now, with regard to whether businesses should remain closed or find ways to transition into a partially-open state, or reopen altogether, even in light of many areas continuing to rise in cases. There have been riots, legally-armed protests, and arguing at every level. But one things remains true, no matter what the opinions are around them: we are living in a time where some of the most well known, highly visited, densely-populated areas are either mostly empty or being re-imagined for use in ways that benefit a socially-distanced public. And in this time, air pollution is going down, pedestrians are slowing down and taking to the streets instead of vehicles. Subways in NewYork are closing at night for cleanings, and their passengers are now doing a quick bit of mental calculus as they size up the logistics for transit usage with the least personal risks. Etc, etc, etc. I could go on forever about the things we’re seeing develop as new norm life hacks. 

But people adapt – it’s what we do, and we do it well.

I think it’s absolutely fascinating that amid destruction and plague, fear and in some cases, desperation, we’re also seeing pollution clearing very quickly from above our cities, and we’re seeing people rise up together to care for one another. People offer to pick up necessities for neighbors; they dress up to go to Zoom weddings, proms, and other virtual events to cheer each other on in life’s milestone moments. Artists have sung from their living rooms to cheer up a nation and raise funds to feed the hungry; famous DJ’s are hosting online parties; personal trainers and musicians have led group classes for their neighbors who are on lock-down; playwrights like Lin Manuel Miranda have cheered students by reformatting their knowledge to fit the virtual education space, as you can see here in Lin’s AP History class, hosted this week

If you grew up watching Mr. Rogers, you’ll remember that he always says to look for the helpers in a crisis. “Because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.” I am finding that this is true as I observe and absorb this crazy world around me.

COVID Characters: Harry Hedgie
COVID Characters: Bored-walk Piper

“COVID Characters: Harry Hedgie”

Harry Hedgie is a nervous fellow. He’s not one you’d consider to be low-maintenance, and so, as one would expect, during a situation where all shops are closed except for essentials, he’s finding that his desire to get those overgrown bangs out of his eyes and take care of his dark roots is getting the best of him. He’s left alone to take matters into his own hands, even to the dismay of his family and friends, so he throws caution to the wind – along with the hastily snipped remnants of his bangs. This character references a common experience we’re all having now – to box-dye or not to dye, that is the question of the month.

“COVID Characters: Bored-walk Piper”

With beaches and shops closed, and tourism taking a huge hit, one does have to wonder what sort of utopia the creatures of those places must have set up by now. Are they waiting for abandoned donuts or churro crumbs or popcorn droppings from their careless seasonal visitors? Or are they resuming their rightful places as owners of those natural landmarks? Perhaps humans will find that once the bans are lifted and we transition slowly back into normal activities, the seagulls, sandpipers, crabs and more will be waiting for us with a whole new economy set up and waiting for us. 🙂

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