The New World Order

June 10, 2020

It seems to be characteristic of life today, and presumably has been so in all places and times, that we reflexively (though not, of course, intellectually) take things of our everyday existence as inevitable givens. The lockdown that we have been experiencing has undoubtedly put a dent in that for most of us.

Today, having been summoned for a test at the hospital in the neighboring town of Sant Pere de Ribes, I was struck by the act, once so simple and normal-seeming, as boarding a bus—since I hadn’t seen the inside of a bus or train since February.

The novel feeling of having been out of circulation for so long was enforced as the bus passed enormous vineyards with thousands of lush-looking grape vines in neat rows where there had been only mournful-looking brown sticks last time I saw them.

Then there was the hospital, which for my sins I know well. Or knew. This seemed an entirely different place. I walked through long corridor after long corridor completely deserted—not another soul to be seen. And the procedures in the hospital felt eerily unfamiliar, though they are now routine in other contexts: masks universally worn, hand sanitizer pushed on one.

The new perspectives that are spreading among us can be put to good use. Or not.