Like all of you, Jaimie and I have found ourselves in the grip of this lockdown. We’ve been working from home. We’ve barely left the house in three weeks. We’ve discovered Zoom. We even made my mother download the House Party game app so we could spend some time together as a family.
I’ve had my radiation appointments and trips to the grocery store, but other than that the two of us have been nestled on the couch of our third floor apartment at Ardmore Howell Road. And while I know that everyone across the world is in the same boat, there has been this tiny part of me that thinks maybe, just maybe, we were the only ones dealing with it. That all the news and the photographs are some elaborate prank. Again, I know that isn’t the case, but I was twenty years old when the Truman Show came out, and that movie really did a number on me.
This insane idea was blown up yesterday afternoon when Jaimie and I drove to Atlanta. We weren’t going for fun—I had appointments this morning at Emory. And let me tell you, seeing the effects of the lock down in a completely different city illustrated just how odd this whole thing is.
First off—there is no one on the road. We left Greenville at 1:45 p.m. and we were inside the perimeter at quarter after 3.
I’m kidding, obviously, but not by much. And yes, driving in rush hour Atlanta traffic freaks me out, but it’s not half as weird as driving down 85 South with not a soul on the road. There was no body. In fact there was a car LITERALLY on fire, not smoking, but FLAMES, and it didn’t slow anyone down.
We always stay at a Marriott Courtyard about three miles from Emory. I swear to everything I hold dear that our Hyundai Elantra was the only car in the parking lot. There were zero other cars and not another soul inside the
hotel. We checked in a 4 p.m.—no one. We took a walk at 7—no one again. We got back to the room and clicked on the air condition only to discover it wasn’t working. We called downstairs and they just sent up a key to the room beside us.
The whole trip made me feel like I was living in the middle of a Jordan Peele movie. The dude working the drive thru at Starbucks wearing his homemade mask. That was weird enough, until I remember that Jaimie and I were them as well.
This is life currently. I don’t mind it. Of course it’s scary, but I can handle a little off the wall. And I’m just so relived that people now seem to be taking the threat seriously. I’m glad to know that people are staying at home and that business hotels are empty. I’m just trying to take it all in. Because this is going to be one of those times that we all remember the rest of our lives. People who are not yet born are going to ask what life was like during the spring of 2020. As an artist, I feel like I should have an answer. So if you need me, I'll just be over here with my homemade mask. Observing life. Coming with my account of what life was like when the world shut down. When we all just went inside.