Fiction 0, Reality 1
by Pseud O'Nym
In his book ‘The Plague’, Albert Camus describes the effects on a small, remote and walled garrison town in French Algeria, set, as I recall in the 1920’s. Possibly, it could be or it could be not, I read it a long time ago and my stubborn pride won’t let me Wikipedia it. What I do remember vividly though, is the sense of growing sense of paranoia the townspeople are gripped by the longer it goes on. They too have chosen to self-isolate, the whole town, that is, for the common good; in a way that would only ever happen in a novel. Unlike the reality, where Londoners wealthy enough to own second homes in the country are fucking off to them.
Hang about, I have to go, LMS has declared adults are boring and therefore I should stop doing this and let her ‘torture’ me instead.
Some considerable time later.
LMS has an imaginative array of ‘tortures’ for me, but her favourite just now wasn’t hitting me with cushions or pressing them against my face while telling me ‘It’s your fault’, in that creepy way that Danny in ‘The Shining’ does when says ‘redrum, redrum, redrum…..’. No her new discovery is first to tap my arms against my chest by sitting on them, then pinching my nose so I can’t breathe which forces me eventually to open my mouth, at which point she ties to shove a sweaty sock in my mouth. She finds all this incredibly entertaining
Thankfully, she’s moved on from ‘Does that hurt?’ which she found an immensely enjoyable way to pass the time. That one involved her hitting or else inflicting some sort of bodily discomfort upon me, gently at first, while asking ‘Does that hurt?’ And when I’d say ‘No’, she’d repeat it progressively harder, asking the same question, and on getting the same answer, repeat the process until she got a different answer. Lest you think she’s a tabloid headline in the making, she is aware that not only am I the only person she can do these things to, but the reason she can do them to me is because I know just how kind, good-natured and playful she is toward me for almost all of the time.
Anyway. Where were we? Oh yes, that’s right. ‘The Plague’. As the book draws ever nearer to the end, the more the fear, the paranoia increases and people begin to see and end in sight, fear they might not survive long enough to see it. It really is worth a read. It really captures the fear that grips you at four in the morning and seems quite rational, but with the morning sunshine comes sanity and you realise those fears were as grounded in reality as any religion.
Yes, I did have uncomfortable sensations in my right leg last night but was this early onset of coronavirus or something I get every now and again? Is a minor ache in my right elbow joint a harbinger of doom or just indicative of me putting too much pressure through both my arms as I use my wheeled walkers inside and out? I mentioned this to my partner earlier and she’s been having the same, jumping immediately to doom ridden imaginariums but then realising they’re just that.
Of course I could look online and check want exactly the symptoms for coronavirus are, were it not for the fact I’m not a bellend but am someone who realises humans have a propensity to focus on symptons into which they can shoehorn whatever supposed maladies they have.