Apr 152020
 

Ed Yong writes in The Atlantic about what our Pandemic Summer might look like. It has a strong dystopian vibe: frequent testing for the virus, half-empty restaurants and classrooms, and intermittent lockdowns in the event of additional outbreaks. You probably won’t be able to see a ball game or attend a big family reunion anytime soon. This summer and the months beyond are going to be a time of uncertainty as we try to figure out how to live with the coronavirus until a vaccine is available.

Yong also points out that we will all need resilience to cope with what lies ahead; something that people with disabilities have been practicing for most of our lives:

The disability community has also noted that, at a time when their health is in jeopardy and their value is in question, abled people are struggling with a new normal that is their old normal—spatial confinement, unpredictable futures, social distance. “We know how to do community from afar, and how to organize from bed,” said Ashley Shew of Virginia Tech, who studies the intersection between technology and disability. “Instead of feeling this great vacuum, our social life hasn’t radically changed.” 

When people ask me how I’ve been doing during the quarantine, I shrug and say, “Fine.” It’s not that I don’t miss my friends and co-workers or going to the movies. I do, but it’s not like I had a packed social calendar before the pandemic arrived. Given the specifics of my disability, the lack of accessibility in much of our built environment, and my own introversion, I’m already accustomed to some degree of isolation. As long as I have a working Internet connection, I can find plenty of things to keep me occupied at home. And I have a nice view of downtown, which helps to keep the walls from closing in.

Right now, I’m not planning on visiting a restaurant or movie theater until this fall at the earliest. If I turn out to be wrong, great. A strategy of hoping for the best but expecting the worst might be the best approach for the next few months. For many of us with disabilities, such thinking is already our default.

  One Response to “The Long Emergency Ahead”

  1. Hey there, glad to see you back writing and that you are safe and healthy! I’ve read your blog a long time (a decade or so) and I really appreciate your voice. I’ve been hesitant to ever comment here (since I don’t know you and it feels fan-girly), but now feels like an especially important time to voice your appreciation for the people who have impacted you. In any case, thank you for writing – for your take on politics, for your music/ movie tips, and for your unique perspective. You have at least one follower in California who looks forward to reading whatever you have to write. (I guess that makes me a fan girl after all).

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