“It’s a new adventure. Nobody’s been through any of this, and we are all figuring it out as we go along. Every day is something new.”
— Patrick Gorman, Gorman’s Food Market in Lansing, Michigan
Mister Pants, under the ruthless tutelage of Uncle Hal, was ordered not to run Saturday. Luckily, has he was a copy editor in his spare time, he worked on three newspapers across the country to pass the time.
He realized how different things were. Generally, disasters followed a predictable timeline.
Day 1: Coverage of tragic event, wherever it was.
Day 2: Details, fallout, reaction, vignettes.
Day 3: Look ahead at recovery.
Day 4: On to the next tragedy.
“We’re going to learn new ways of doing things. Because we have to.”
— Eric Farrell, a developer in Burlington, Vermont
But the vermin was different. It was everywhere. His city. His country. Everyone’s country. And there was no end to the initial coverage. No way of knowing when things would get better. They would get better, wouldn’t they?
“In the immediate, I’m trying not to freak out. But long-term, it’s hard not to look toward May and June and get some anxiety.”
— A 22-year-old single mother in Fort Collins, Colorado
He read about the fearless workers like Mo, going to work in the midst of the vermin’s spread while most had the luxury of staying at home. He read about the poor souls grappling with the realization that their lives and livelihoods were falling victim to something you couldn’t even see. He worried about whether he would die if he became infected, and if he should eat the last of the ice cream immediately just in case. He thought about how billions of people were thinking the same thing at the same time.
Mister Pants had lived through scary times. He began his career shortly before the bells on the AP machines went crazy when Elvis died. That seemed like a tragedy at the time. Little did he know.
“I have confidence in human resiliency. We’re going to need it.”
— Joe Larkin, chief financial officer at Burlington’s Larkin Hospitality
Maybe that’s the thing we look to, Mister Pants thought. The confidence in human resiliency. We’ve been through a lot. Terrorists, wars, Jar Jar Binks. We were going to survive this one too.
And then he ate the last of the ice cream. Just in case.