Updated: May 24, 2020
As a writer of the strange and unusual, the unexplained... as a guy whose first book just happens to be apocalyptic... I simply have to address and cannot ignore this weirdness abounding. Two months ago, when this biological beast first reared its head, questions immediately came bombarding me from all directions. From all kinds of people. From myself.
Was this all engineered?
Is it time to thin the population?
Was it sent from our enemy?
Was it sent from our own?
Is this is? Is this the big apocalypse?
The pigeons in Jackson Square (or rats w/wings as they're so lovingly referred to) and the sparrows rely on a steady stream of tourists for all their food. So, from the beginning, Poppy and I have left the safety and security of our home once a day to go feed them. On the 15th of May, the day before Phase One, a character of the Quarter, an acquaintance of ours who is an always-buzzed, fairly average singer was doing his karaoke bit in the Square. Between jams he announced that he was taking advantage of his last chance to perform solo in the space. Soon people would return! He then went on to talk about the next wave of the virus which will surely come now that they're opening everything back up. He started the music for his next song announcing, "who do you think's responsible for all this?" The song was "Sympathy for the Devil" and I, along with a hustler of the Quarter who resembles Mohammed Ali, did the "whoo whoo's".
From the start of all this, Poppy and I have been sheltered in our home just off of Bourbon with our cats. We've barely seen any other life out there except for the three vagrants that consistently camp out in front of our house like its their living room. Otherwise, its literally been a ghost town, so opposite of what New Orleans normally is. I don't know where you're from, but around here it's been freakishly spooky... Restaurants, bars, shops with boards screwed in over the windows to discourage looting... and a serious lack of life. In this past weekend, when Phase One of reopening NOLA began, there weren't many souls out there. We were relieved. Like a lot of locals, we believe the call was made too soon in this "Safer at Home" city. There most certainly will be a second wave if tourists begin flooding in. Poppy just read an article last night... The greatest scientific minds available have stated that they are nowhere near (at least 2 years away) from beginning to understand this virus. Two years away. Let that sink in.
So... is this it? Is this the beginning of the end? Is it 'the end of the world as we know it'? Is it, R.E.M.? Who knows? I don't know, but I do know this... People have been getting increasingly more fascinated with the idea of apocalypse. Just look at the movies, TV shows, books... (btw... Zombie Anatomy... great apocalyptic read... just saying...) Maybe there's a reason for this mob mentality, this intense wondering about the end of times. Maybe the world's just moving too fast and people are wanting it to stop. Maybe it really is coming now. Maybe the reign of humanity is over and perhaps... just perhaps... since this virus affects the central nervous system and the brain there will be zombies after all.
Me personally, I'll just be sad when it all crashes that I can't share my books with you electronically. You'll have to hurry and get the paperbacks. But I don't think that's the biggest concern. What would it really be like to see the end of it all? Who will feed the pigeons? Who will sing loudly in Jackson Square? What will happen to you? I think I'm gonna trade in my pen for a gun, grab my family and hold on tight! Seriously though... The internet went out last week all over the world and it was out earlier today for a bit. What if? Just think about it... as a reality and not a read. Is this it? The end? Or will the world go right back to the way it was before... no mask... no dodging people passing by? What are your thoughts? Are you ready for it?
Sorry for the morbidity. On the flip side, I think this quarantine time has really helped center a lot of folks, helping them to remember what they really love, what they're maybe good at. That's a good thing. Just leaving on a positive note! But seriously... zombies...
The French Quarter, two days after reopening.