I got up early and walked to my favorite cafe for a flat white and pão de queijo. Then I walked downhill to a container at the edge of Rossio square, that serves as a Covid test center, and waited for my test appointment. In January the line would already have been hundreds long, but today I lined up second.
A maskless American man came over and inquired when the station would open. I told him it would open around 0930. He lined up in the back — by now the line consisted of maybe 10 people — and said, nobody cares about Covid anymore… that’s just my opinion. I didn’t say anything and turned away.
Was this man an exception or is that by now the majority opinion? Did he have parents or had he known old folks who got very sick or died? How did he become so callous? Is it because nowadays, at least in western countries, aged relatives are placed into homes and one is therefore no longer responsible for them? Out of sight out of mind?
A few moments later the door opened and I was admitted. A few minutes later it was done, I thanked the nurse, and left.
I have been thinking about this a lot: is aggression and lack of care the result of the extreme wealth imbalance, not just in the US but in many countries? If so it has been building up for along time. We are living in a real “let them eat cake” moment. While NFTs of monkey drawings trade for many millions of dollars, surveys show that 69% of Americans don’t have $1,000 in savings. For them disaster can literally strike at any moment. Impending doom creates aggression and callousness in a struggle to get to higher ground before drowning.
I stopped at Muji to buy some supplies and then I walked home without looking at the map. Progress. I started a load of laundry and mopped the floor.