Dane Anderson ’20
University of Phoenix, Class of 2020
“We are sending you home for your own safety.” I nod when I read this message from Holy Cross. It is still the third day before Plague Era (BPE). Life is sad but safe. The Lot is largely unoccupied. The Lobby Shop workers do not know what trials await them in the next few days. Hardos are still in Dinand. Adrenaline, desperation, and alcohol all combine to descend like a haze upon campus. Spring weekend has come early.
Day one PE. My parents drive our packed car past New Rochelle. “Wow, it must be awful to bring in there right now. Good thing I don’t live there.” I look to my packed school supplies from the Worcester Walmart and feel safe.
Day five PE. New York City says New Rochelle has rookie numbers. Coronavirus cases spread faster than pictures of Chris Christie sitting on the beaches of New Jersey after he closed them. Someone’s two brain cells super collide to squeeze out the sentence, “I don’t think the virus is real.” Forty percent of New Yorkers buy into this idea. I sit in my apartment and decide to silently observe from here on out.
Day twelve PE. A hospital ship sails to NYC and says, “Mmmm, we don’t want anyone with COVID.” Someone threatens to blow it up anyways. The Naked Cowboy of Times Square continues to solicit money while making a mask. Without tourists to form a protective spectator ring around him, the hissing of NYC residents threatens the Cowboy. It is unclear if he will be able to survive in his natural habitat.
Day sixteen PE. New York Governor Cuomo continues to give daily press conferences. No one has seen Mayor DeBlasio for weeks. The latter situation isn’t caused by the pandemic. That’s standard behavior.
Day twenty-seven PE. The toilet paper shortages of the first week PE feel like a distant memory. Now people jostle to secure the remaining liquor in the city. Restaurants convert into takeaway bars. A man wearing a welding mask and crocs runs down Fifth Avenue holding a handle of Louis XIII, signed by four generations of cellar masters, looted from Chelsea Market. Reports vary, but at least seven adults pursued on all fours.
Day thirty-three PE. Stimulus checks are in. Informal fighting rings appear across the city. It is common to see two fighters surrounded by people waving pieces of shredded checks. They do not understand how checks work, or perhaps they do not care. Children are seen as safe, unbiased parties to work as bookies at these events.
Day thirty-four PE. Rumors of a DeBlasio sighting in Peru. A grassroots movement gains popularity on Facebook, using Biblical citations to explain why coronavirus in NYC signals the opening of the fifth seal from Revelation. David Koresh rolls in his grave.
Day thirty-nine PE. Governor Cuomo declares Staten Island as a “lost zone.” Ferry activity ceases. News reporters are too scared to investigate why this God-forsaken area is now state-forsaken.
Day forty-one PE. Celebrities describe how hard their lives are and claim they understand the commoner’s plight. New Yorkers soak in this opium for three hours before they become disenchanted. The PE status quo resumes.
Day forty-three PE. Disinfectant suddenly receives a surge of consumer interest. Tensions rise as everyone waits to see what their neighbors do with this product. No one is really sure if the hospital ship gave an Irish goodbye or not.
Today is day forty-four PE. Trees bloom in the parks, and spring creeps closer. Coronavirus continues to sit firmly in the midst of NYC. It is unclear where the future will lead. Leading experts predict a mass movement of citizens into the sewers, potentially tripling the sewer dweller population.