Dreaming of the Pandemic



I think this social distancing thing is getting to me.


I dreamed last night that I was at my alma mater, University of Illinois, and I was teaching there. And I had forgotten my mask and was wandering across campus — out of Noyes Lab into the Union, looking for something to drink. Nobody was wearing masks or social distancing. People sat on the Quad together, having picnics and playing Frisbee. In the Union, I stood in line with a bunch of people, and the line grew so long they shut the door behind me. 

Back into the halls of the Union (and, alas, this was the new Union, the one that no longer had the beautiful hotel lobby in the front entrance), I run into a tall, bulky man with long red hair and a beard, dressed in Renaissance garb, and we give each other a big hug. I gave another man a hug — he was more my height, skinny and blond. 

As I walked out to the Quad, I knew I would have to explain to Richard that I had broken social distancing big time. I couldn’t help it, I told myself, because I had walked out of my house into this new bacchanalia, where we lived life in abandon, waiting for the contagion to take us. 

When I woke up, I had a little bit of a sore throat, and I felt guilty, thinking I had caught the virus, until I realized that my social freedom was just a dream.

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