A collaboration between Margaret Anna Alice (writing, vocals) and Visceral Adventure (video editing)
Once upon a time, a little over a year ago, in this land and all lands across the earth, people could walk freely, smiles visible, into businesses of their own choosing, and those businesses could open or close as they like.
Do you remember that?
When families could visit family members, when friends could visit friends. When people could hold weddings and funerals and birthday parties. When grandparents could hug grandchildren. When kids could go to school, play together, and sleep over at friends’ houses. When people who got sick stayed home until they were better, and the rest of the world went about its business. When people could encircle their dying loved ones. When mothers could hold their babies after they were born without the threat of separation pending arbitrary test results. When every death wasn’t attributed to a single cause and announced in the daily death toll dispatches. When a perpetual storm cloud of fear, paranoia, and tension didn’t hang over us, threatening to burst any moment. When people could travel freely, without having to show their papers. When people didn’t think twice about dining out, meeting for coffee, singing, exercising, and dancing. When you didn’t have to arrange for curbside pickup, schedule appointments for everyday errands, and have someone else select and deliver your groceries. When money wasn’t printed in the trillions, falling out of the sky and turning to toilet paper—which, as it turns out, would carry more value—on its descent. When people thought for themselves, decided for themselves, worked for themselves, took responsibility for themselves. When people weren’t deplatformed, shunned, reported, and unpersoned when they shared contrary opinions and scientific evidence. When this information wasn’t then scrubbed from the commons. When people didn’t turn against neighbors, friends, and family members. When it was considered rude to ask about someone’s health status and medical choices. When people helped people, cared for people, and touched (yes, literally!) people. When people didn’t let politics or religion come between them—okay, that one was more than a year ago. But you remember the rest, don’t you? You remember what it felt like? And you know it doesn’t feel that way now. At all. At all. At all.
Oh, how quickly the conditioning takes effect. Oh, how quickly the freedoms flit away with nary a second glance. Oh, how quickly the world becomes an internment camp—its invisible walls constructed by our collective learned helplessness—with rules about when, where, and what you can do, and we all line up for our allotted portions, saying please and thank you all the way.
I remember when.
What do you remember?
Margaret Anna Alice