My last few blog posts were about the miracles that I experienced while going through the COVID-19 pandemic. This isn’t one of them.
In addition to the pandemic serving as an event in enlightenment for those who choose to see it that way, it also gave birth to two new distinguishable Archetypes: the Covidiots and the Quarantinis. Though the urban dictionary describes Covidiots as ‘those that don’t take the Coronovirus seriously,’ it’s been my experience that the term also embraces the scrupulous group that takes it over the edge, namely those believing that as long as they are fine, nothing else matters. It’s exclusively about their well being. With the world stationed at the stoop of unity, they are clutching onto the threads of separation. Rooted in the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ mentality, where ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ exists only as an inscription on their tea towel and not as a practice—hoarding befitting with this archetype as their bedfellow is fear.
The Covidiots have changed the appearance of the grocery stores that were once clean, tidy and fully stocked. Now, with some shelves depleted, latex gloves, masks, and other medical paraphernalia litter the parking lots, grocery carts, or are left on empty shelves. Litter that is both disgusting and dangerous.
Earlier on, some Covidiots brought their adult children grocery shopping. Like it was a social outing. Instead of four separate people having an opportunity to get in and out, the Covidiots familial entourage would linger, making the six feet distancing even more challenging. The Covidiots are also the same ones who touch everything. Whatever they decide to squeeze, touch and smell, they will have to do in the comfort and privacy of their homes. I’m reminded of the sign we grew up with reading, “If you break it, you bought it.” Today’s ‘Sign of the Times’ reads, “If you touch it, it’s yours.” We’ve left the days of breaking a decorative item to arrive in 2020, where a virus can shatter families.
Covidiots know little about Personal Professional Equipment and require a PSA not only to dispose of their PPE correctly but also how to use it. They wear their gloves and then pick at crap hanging from their grocery cart to their handbag, not to mention their faces. The Covidiots are responsible for the run on toilet paper, rubbing alcohol, wipes, and anything that used to be on the cleaning shelf and is related to fear and the transmission of viruses. Costco in the U.S. posted a notice on how they were refusing returns on hoarded items, like Lysol, rice, sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, paper towels and bottled water. I have an issue around bottled water as something that shouldn’t even exist—investing instead into creating healthy tap water for everyone. The plastic and environmental waste it produces is obscene. Yet, the Covidiots have not one or two cases, but dozens as they load large carts typically used to wheel a colossal sectional.
Covidiots see themselves as outside of everyone else. Change is hugely disruptive in their lives, and they don’t welcome it. They live in fear, though they pretend they don’t. They are not about being charitable but ensuring they’re alright seeing themselves as separate from the rest of humanity. If Costco sold bunkers, they’d be the first to line up. Covidiots think nothing about ignoring requests to get back home when they’ve been travelling, and can be dismissive to public areas that are roped off. They have a twisted perception that they are somehow immune to the virus. Of course, they have all the accruements that would lead them to believe that creating a false sense of security while serving as their blankie. They think the virus is for everyone else, not them, and that it’s an inconvenience. Some practice the minimum protocols, not comprehending the urgency in the measures and feeling they are unnecessarily embellished.
Then there are the Quarantinis. These are the people you want to chill with when a disaster strikes. Some have gone through an existential crisis during the pandemic questioning every part of their lives. Who they’re with, what they do, eat, and more importantly, are they happy with the personal trajectory of their existence. They don’t see themselves as being immune and are using the time to take courses, chill or move through their existential crisis via YouTube. Several have jobs that allow them to work online, so adapting hasn’t been effortful. They’re trying new recipes and are moving with the flow honouring what they are being asked to do and not panicking. They’re aware during this interruption that they have first world problems like internet service and being able to order a fresh pair of sweat pants, seeing that they just packed their tired ones for donation.
Quarantinis don’t hoard, have trust that things will return to where they need to, and adapt to the rest. They see change as a constant. They might react negatively should they see someone outside, not complying with the rules. Unlike the Covidiots, they want to get out but are prepared to do what they need to, so once it’s over, it’s done.
Many consume their fruit, in particular grapes, in the form of fluid, either white or red, sweet or dry. They are prudent in keeping the two-metre distance and don’t have a fit should they see a line. They’re thoughtful and considerate in their practices in public. They have technology in the shape of a phone, and they’ll connect, scroll, read and get updated until their turn at the door comes, and they know it will. If they find themselves at an intersection at the grocery store, they will gracefully pull back to allow walking traffic to move through mindful of the two-metre distance. They follow the arrows indicated at the top of the grocery aisles or floor, illustrating the direction for their grocery carts, making it easier for them to practice social distancing. They recognize the inconvenience as being shared and wish to be part of the solution, not the problem.
They’re good with their daily intake of fresh air and exercise and are not wronging anyone for what is happening. Quarantinis reach for the silver lining even though they might be taxed with the process. They take the protocols in stride and want to do the right thing while being accommodating and polite.
The Covidiots expect that things will return to normal, where the Quarantinis are open to adapting to a new way of being. They know they live in a first world country where toilet paper readily exists, whereas the Covidiots see the lack of it as a separate pandemic. The Covidiots and Quarantini’s are an excellent metaphor for ‘us’ and’ them’; the curious thing is that now it’s only we.
Quarantinis have created their unique pandemic style. Sweatpants are the new Casual Friday attire worn throughout the week while the Covidiots are concealed in medical gear. Their disposition rooted in suspicion, summing up everyone around them as they line up speculating the degree of contagion that each stranger potentially carries. They feel fortunate to be wearing a face mask as per the direction of their best friends, cousins’ sisters, mother, a nurse, even though it’s upside down. While they continuously bend it tightly around their chin with contaminated gloves that have already been in action for hours.
Covidiots know how to blame and allow the news to operate on a loop 24/7, keeping them shackled to the reactiveness of fear. They unconsciously inundate themselves in a place of uncertainty and will quote medical experts they saw on Fox. They can be archaic in holding prejudices and feel justified during the pandemic as their place of separation feeds all the dark aspects of themselves.
The Quarantinis are baking bread, learning how to play guitar and trying not to go mad. They’re conscious of channelling that energy into learning a new language or participating in self-improvement projects. They’re a compassionate lot and will cut themselves slack if something new doesn’t work out. They’re using this moment to explore, expand and experience things they didn’t have the time for, including going through the backs of their closets, fridges, basements and cupboards. Both the Covidiots and Quarantini’s are addressing tasks around their homes, such as organizing and culling their homes that they wouldn’t otherwise have entertained. The Covidiots, approaching it strategically, as to what they need, the Quarantinis as to what brings them joy.
I speak about fear in my blog posts and how it’s something that can define behaviour, and create an environment that is void of light, which is natural as fear is the opposite of love. Love is our connection to Life Source and fear our disconnection from it. Once we get to our new normal, there’s going to be a lot of incredibly alive and expanded Quarantinis sharing the metamorphoses of who they have become.
As for the Covidiots, they’ll boast they have toilet paper.