Living In Fear

Almost all new books mention, in some way, “The Bob.” Of course, the authors don’t know enough to call it “The Bob,” so they call the virus by other names that don’t really mean much. It was bad enough living through the upheaval; it’s a whole lot worse having to relive it in books. Sometimes, the reference is simply a placeholder, to give people an idea of when the story takes place, which is never a good idea because it dates the book, and readers in the next few years who prefer only current books won’t be interested. Other times The Bob is a major plot point. Either way, it doesn’t interest me. It seems perhaps sacrilegious to say this, considering the trauma so many people suffered during the past year and a half, but whether The Bob is mentioned merely to set the time or is an intricate part of the plot, it seems . . . trite. And even worse than trite — a cheap shot to get people personally involved in the story instead of using good writing to get engage readers.

I could be wrong, of course. Others might like to see their “Bob” experiences from a different point of view, to gain a bit of perspective.

The author of the book I am currently reading talks about how worn down people are from more than a year of worrying about their families and themselves; how weary they are of having to wear masks and keep their distance from others; how exhausted they are from isolation and loneliness and grief; and especially, how tired they are of living in fear.

I do understand that many people got deathly sick, that loved ones died, that some people suffered tremendously from isolation, but those things alone, I would think, would preclude people from reading about the horrors they lived through.

Notice I say, “the horrors they lived through.” Despite what I wrote in the first paragraph, that it was “bad enough living through the upheaval,” the truth is, for me, it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it made no difference to my life. Well, except for the mask, but since I was seldom around people and seldom went into a store, I rarely had to wear it.

I never worried about myself, never was afraid, never was lonely (except for a few times that had nothing to do with The Bob). Most of the people I cared about were already dead, and those still alive were taking care of themselves. I didn’t have any travel plans to call off, and as for local events, I’d mostly stopped going to those before they got cancelled. (I’d gained too much weight for one thing; the food was generally something I shouldn’t eat, for another.)

So I stayed home and read. I did see a few people, but always the same ones — the woman I worked for as well as an occasional friend or two. And that is exactly the life I would have lived even if The Bob had never made itself known.

I’m not denigrating anyone’s experience. I know it was a rough time for a lot of people, but it does seem strange to me that in this, as in so much else, what might be good for one person is terrible for another. Still, we each have our own nemeses.

I don’t know if it’s true, but I read that women with O positive blood got The Bob less frequently and not as bad as people with other blood types (it has to do with the protein coating on the cells). Unfortunately, it is definitely true that women with O positive blood are especially tasty to mosquitoes that carry various deadly viruses.

It just goes to show, if one thing doesn’t get us, something else will, though with the mosquitoes as with The Bob, I do the best I can. I won’t live in fear.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.