Sunday, March 26, 2023

Ephemeral reminder of what we've been through

I spotted this on a sidewalk in Chandler, Arizona, yesterday and snapped its picture for posterity. We obviously will have no lack of somber reminders in the coming decades of what the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now more than three years old, has wrought. It's had one of the most devastating impacts in American history. (And, to be clear, the pandemic is not "over" until its end is declared by the World Health Organization, something that is tentatively expected to happen later this year.)

One of the small things we'll remember are these "keep your distance" circles that were ubiquitous in grocery stores, public spaces, checkout lines, etc. The circles themselves will fade, peel away and vanish over time. Photographs and memories will remind us of them. 

Twitter, if Elon Musk doesn't complete its destruction, offers a fascinating repository of the psychogeography of COVID-19, especially on the hashtag #covidstreetarchive. It is filled with vernacular photos of signs, graffiti, displays in front of homes and businesses, empty streets and buildings, discarded masks and gloves, and more. (I'm sure there are other similar hashtags.)

Papergreat pandemic posts, from oldest to newest

In curating these, I was fairly stunned to discover that, before today, my last post to mention COVID-19 was on August 21, 2021, and my last post to use the word "pandemic" was on September 13, 2021. Of course, I took a long break from blogging and have only had about 120 posts since autumn 2021. But I think it's still curious and notable that I've not used those words in posts.

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