“Human beings are so destructive. I sometimes think we’re a kind of plague, that will scrub the earth clean. We destroy things so well that I sometimes think, maybe that’s our function. Maybe every few eons, some animal comes along that kills off the rest of the world, clears the decks, and lets evolution proceed to its next phase.” ~ Michael Crichton, The Lost World
Because I didn’t do any panic buying, I was forced to go to the store today. I had to buy a few essentials so I went around noon. The streets were not exactly empty, but they were not as populated as they would be normally. I received a few nasty looks and one woman at the store grimaced when she saw me, and she purposely made a dramatic turn to walk as far away from me as the store aisle would allow. At first I told myself that it was just all in my insecure head, but when she allowed others to walk close by her, I knew that I was not being overly sensitive.
Because of this virus, most people either hate, fear, or blame the Chinese/Asians, or maybe a combination of all three.
As I was walking down the street, I suddenly became aware of my Asian-ness. I felt a bit frightened when I saw a group of teens walking in my direction. I had just heard of an Asian couple who got stomped by a group of teens on the subway platform in Philadelphia. Their motive: they are angry at the Chinese/Asians for this virus that has become pandemic.
I quite imagined that I was feeling very similar to how Jewish people felt during WWII in Germany (but of course not as extreme): scared of being negatively identified simply by the color of your skin, the slant of your eye, or the religion that you believe.
I was both relieved when I returned home but also anxious for when I will need to go back out again and possibly face more prejudice.
This afternoon, my cousin texted me an article of how dolphins and swans had returned to Venice Canal amidst the quarantine, and although the article has since been debunked, the reports that the Canal has improved is not untrue. The mayor of Venice did state to reporters that “the air is less polluted since there are fewer vaporetti and boat traffic than usual because of the restricted movement of residents.”
I consider that a small win for Mother Earth.
Here are some photos of beautiful Venice from my trip nearly three years ago:
Sending all my love to you, Italy. Forza Italia.