Diary entries by Cori O’Virus, as dictated to Colleen O’Brien
Last time I wrote, I was thinking of myself as the paradoxical parasite
, Cori O’Virus on a mission to save my species – coronavirus, as well as my host’s species – humans.
My human host has just fallen asleep, with the radio on, as usual, so I listen most of the night to BBC, the British Broadcasting Company. I hear the news from all over Europe – we coronas are wreaking havoc everywhere — but the European Union seems to know how to respond to crisis. That they have universal healthcare makes things easier on everyone. In the United States, many of the regular people are scared because a good percentage of them don’t have medical care or salary, now that they’re not working.
Europe didn’t help their sister country Italy, however, when they got hit so hard early on by my relatives in the coronavirus family. As I’ve mentioned before, Diary, humans are difficult to figure. They’re fickle, not very loyal. They jump to conclusions and ignore their own history. I’m not sure if they’re greedy or simply afraid of each other. Not sure if I can figure out how to save such a belligerent bunch who won’t help neighbors, employees, different nationalities in trouble.
My host is suddenly up and out of bed in a bound! This is unusual, as she’s slow in the a.m. I believe she is reacting to something on the American broadcast…. Ah, a “ramble,” as she calls them, talks from the country’s leader. They energize her into frenetic action. Whenever she hears the voice of the country’s president, she rises to the occasion – instant swearing and stomping around. The first time I saw her acting out, it was unnerving. I was listening to him, too, and couldn’t understand a word he uttered. Now, I find her fun to watch. And listen to. Her repertoire of scatological phrases is a lesson in the art of metaphor.
She slops coffee into yesterday’s cup on the counter, grabs an apple out of a bowl and sits down at her computer on the desk straight across the room from my temporary home on her Frigidaire. She turns the laptop on, and as I’ve watched before, assumes the position: straight-backed, she holds her knobby-knuckled, crooked fingers at pause over the keyboard, eyes straight ahead on her beloved river outside the front windows. At some internal click of conclusion, she begins to type like a mad woman, one who doesn’t look down, for she knows her keys and how fast her mind reels off the ideas rolling across her consciousness.
I move to the side a bit so I can read over her shoulder at the flow of words:
We are a country factually divided. We are split into two realities. One half’s reality is fact-based; the other side believes in the odd combination of words their spokesperson Kellyanne calls “alternative facts.”
If you think about it, “alternative facts” means lies.
This has all stemmed from the person who became our leader by default – via the electoral college rather than the popular vote. His claim to fame came from being a TV reality show host. That phrase itself might be classified as an alternative fact; why is it called a reality show if it’s rehearsed?
And so here we are in an alternative reality, with an alternative president, alternately retching, reeling, praying and despairing.
We have had a bloodless coup. Now enemies, we are a divided country, the result of a civil war made of truth on one side, lies on the other.
A word war has separated what used to be united states.
My host sighs, rolls her head on her neck, gets up and walks around the room, goes outside and stands on the dock.
I keep my eye on her. I don’t know what I could do if she fell in…or jumped in….
The wind is whipping up the river, and the tide is coming in on that wind, the usually calm swatch of water suddenly headstrong in its surge upstream, as wild as my host’s hair. She turns into the wind, her gray-blonde mane blown back off her now unfurrowed brow. She spreads her arms out, brings them back in, makes fists and knocks them together, lifts them upright and flips the bird of each arthritic and age-spotted hand. She grins like a kid as she hurries back inside to type again.
More next week.