It’s no secret that times have changed. If anything, it’s the only thing people seem to be willing to talk about. Oh, the world has shut down this, we can’t go outside that. It seems that so many people have trouble with accepting the fact that we’re in quarantine, and instead choose to constantly complain about it. This is the perfect time to do something productive! Pick up the hobby you always dreamed about but never got the chance to start! Rollerskate! Read! The way people in America have reacted to the entirety of the pandemic has disappointed me thoroughly.
The first problem I encountered was panic buying: people went to the store and came out with six times the normal amount of toiletries and groceries that we normally would – for a family of four. This problem, in particular, was the only one that has actually affected me physically. I have a decent, medium-sized family with seven people in it, and mass-buying groceries just isn’t an option for us, financially or space-wise. But that leaves us in a sticky situation – my mom goes to the store, and suddenly any food that’s perishable/has any positive nutritional value is gone (and the next time they’re restocking is the next week). I understand that many people are scared of food shortages – but we’ve been in quarantine for two months (two months today, actually!) and it’s not gotten any better. It’s a fight to get to the store at a time when things are decently stocked… it’s become a bloodbath.
Which brings me on to my next point – everyone has turned on each other. This, I think, is what has made me feel the most hopeless. Being home for so long with extended periods of free time has given me more than enough freedom to be on the internet for as long as I please, doing whatever I please. This prolonged exposure, however, is not a unique experience. People on the internet have taken to posting their every thought during quarantine, be it good or bad…and the majority of what I’m seeing is so negative that it makes me sad. I see comment thread upon thread of virtual strangers arguing with each other, first over social distancing, and then over a tangent on something entirely unrelated, like the reign of Mao Zedong. It’s ridiculous. I’ve basically had unsupervised internet access since I was in 6th grade, and I’ve never seen this level of hostility over the internet – and it’s not even for things solely related to COVID-19. Since the country has gone on pause, the amount of hate I see on the internet – in the form of comments, replies, TikTok’s, tweets, and so on – is disheartening. You’d think living through a literal history book pandemic would bring out our better qualities. I wanted to see humans helping each other, being kinder to each other because everyone is going through something right now…but it’s almost as if people have gotten too comfortable sharing their deepest thoughts on the internet, despite the consequences and hostility behind it.
Many might say that this isn’t a bad thing – people are finally showing their true selves! But if this is any indication of what the world is going to be like once states reopen and we try going back to normal, I don’t want it. It seems to me that this isn’t going away anytime soon… the hostility, nor the lack of kindness, and that gives me just a little less hope for the future.