Concerned faces on the news speak in serious tones repeating words spoken across the world. The same picture appears on different sides of the world slotted into news stories and passed off as local content which adds to confusion creating a descent into incredulity, into a lack of credibility. As hard as I try to make sense of it all I can’t.
It doesn’t make sense. The script spoken at updates morphs into white noise against the backdrop of the elderly locked up for their health and denied contact with their loved ones. No hugs, nothing familiar, no one they know and denied their regular physician for a mandated doctor unknown to them who is unconcerned with their concerns.
To be fair there was a glimmering moment when information seemed real, someone high up said not to worry or be concerned, they contradicted the businessmen with a solution for sale but then took it back. Politicians in a few places rejected their place on the payroll mocking the ruse in the news then inexplicably their country crumbled into disarray on the world stage.
People turned to elected leaders for guidance only to find grey men and women who second guess and dither and bicker and finger point without knowledge to reference. Decisions were made on whims with no foundation and an absence of truth. Slowly slowly people stopped and challenged and went to court. The investigation of process revealed no planning for the protection of people’s lives, only a schedule of shutdowns that separated people from one another, themselves, and their lives. So many lost so much that they had nothing left, not even a remnant of their life from before, some checked out altogether.
Still the white noise of voices ranting about they don’t know what hummed as a din across the city polluting minds, breaking hearts and ruining lives. I ached with apprehension and powerlessness and anxiety at the worldwide suffering that I couldn’t affect. I pined for some place to help and be useful but there was nowhere in my life where I saw the suffering depicted on the screen. Nowhere I could help that needed help nearby or sick people I knew. Nothing.
Witnessing society crumble on the screen was too much so I turned it off and tuned out. The silence that ensued was a lost delight that I welcomed back into my life. Birds sang outside, someone laughed in the distance, a child called to their mother and everything seemed fine. I went to my window to look out into the day where the sun shone down on the street outside. I couldn’t see mayhem or death or disease, I could see across the street in some neighbours’ windows where they sat there staring at their screens with their back to the sun. Outside there weren’t many clouds in the blue sky, it was clear like my mind and I felt the relief of it.
I realised that I had been overwhelmed by the din with no room left to think so I sat in the fresh breeze and thought about this for a while and it felt good. I realised that if I left off the news and didn’t check in that I could feel this calm every day and take the time that I’ve gained as a gift for myself rather than a sentence of another’s making.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, I’ve had a lot of time to think. It was hard not to feel guilty at first but I let that go because I have a clear conscience. I help people all the time online with information, kind words and reassurance, I stop and speak to neighbours to ask how they are, I help friends when they need me. In my life as much as I am able I give and contribute. Carrying the stress of the world for broadcasted uncertainties and misguided politicians was bad for my health so I gave it up and have found relative peace for now. My mood has lifted, now I smile more that frown and that is contagious.