Era by the Kingdom of Leisure

Panda Notes - Spring 2020
transcribed from handwritten notes - Era Part 2

“The crows, as always, saw it first. From streetlamp and telephone wires. Mocking and disdainful they kept their secret and eagerly awaited their front row seats.”

When we were still venturing outside and walking as a form of distraction and semblance of exercise, wide berths were the norm; first people said “hi” in passing, then cautions nods, then it was all stares, then people stopped making eye contact at all, then the vigilante gangs started looking for the sick or the well to do

First they took all the chairs and benches away so people could not easily gather; an arbitrary six-foot rule coupled with a prohibition of groups of 10 or more prevented sidebar or secret conversation; the highway signs flashed, “STAY HOME”

We believed that all the security and traffic and doorbell cameras were trained outward but we found out they were all interconnected and trained inward; digital assistants served as modern virtual Brown Shirts ratting out those not in compliance with The Directives

The supply chains had become sporadic and weak and could be easily disrupted for food and household essential yet FedEx, UPS, and Amazon trucks were overflowing with two-day virus delivery

The neighborhood quiet became unsettling when we knew everyone was home all the time, it felt as if it were all eyes on everyone else all the time

We were terrified to even look down into the subway because we knew the mole people and the rats had claimed that as their own but buses, trains, and planes ran on time but empty

Security went from police serving as helpful first responders to arresting children for playing in the park to soldiers enforcing martial law to doors being kicked in and occupants forced from their homes by armed personnel in bunny suits

Then came the drones; first the occasional quadcopter then the mini squadrons then UCAVs

Hand sanitizer went from liquid gold to reject as a tool of control

National borders closed then state borders then city borders then communities began erecting makeshift fencing and gates; the highway signs flashed, “FOLLOW DIRECTIVES”

Kids learned to never touch, never trust, never not make eye contact, never talk to strangers

People became suspicious of dogs for fear that dogs were transmitting it or that people petting them were until the streets were full of pets released whining at the doors of their former homes then the animals started mysteriously dropping dead

Panicked hoarding of firewood, flashlights, batteries, and  for fear that the government was going to shut off electricity and internet and rumor of the riots

They said it was because of the volume of people working from home but the internet ground to a crawl so the government disconnected the sports, porn, entertainment, and news sites in favor of official communications on the government networks

Gun sales skyrocketed in both the legal and underground markets

The human things, the social things like handshaking, hugging, and high-fiving were abandoned with shocking swiftness; everyone becoming a pod onto themselves or their bunkmates

Schools remained closed, sports remained postponed, and the elections were postponed until it was too late to hold them so we kept the inept and evil status quo

There were never any tests or cures just more and more infections and deaths yet no one ever knew anyone, personally, who was infected or who died

Eventually the question was whether this was reality, a mass psychogenic or mass sociogenic illness that everyone was persuaded to believe, or if it was all just me going crazy and nobody else was experiencing any of this