You were there when the library closed, long a dream of many conservative Republicans. You stood in the lobby, waiting for a friend, not daring to touch the books–you, the venturesome and fearless. The very few people in the non-fiction section smiled from afar. Inevitably, they were alone. Perhaps anything was better than being alone.
And so the doors slammed. You hadn’t expected it. You had received an official email explaining the library would stay stay open to serve the community as long as it was safe.
And so, you fantasized, you would take trip to the university library so you could check out some obscure books you would need in the next few weeks.
Slam. It closed, too.
Thank God you have your own books.
Where do the bums go, as we used to call the homeless? They sat at the library all day, all winter long, except when the security guard kicked them out. Then they sat in a little park.
Meanwhile you begged, pleaded, with relatives to stay home from work. Nobody took it seriously. Or if they did, they hadn’t read about Italy and didn’t take it seriously enough. “Please read this.” You sent links.
Then they came home, one by one. They came home with computers, files, and phones. They set up home offices in whatever corner they had.
In a country where stores are never closed–not even on holidays–people are petrified.
And bored. So very bored.
“Welcome to the occupation,” as R.E.M sang back in the ’80s (only that was about policy in Central America).
Only now it’s germs.