Red Alert City

Busan is going into a bit of a shutdown mode. We’re close to Daegu, where a pretty serious cluster has emerged — apparently from some sort of secretive Christian apocalypse cult. One never seems to get good news about secretive Christian apocalypse cults. That’s why I tend to support the other team — Public Satanist, Poolside Local 666.

The country in under a red alert and this city is now under a sort of informal, voluntary self- quarantine while the authorities try to get a grip on the situation. This means, we’ve been asked to always wear a mask outside, stay inside as much as possible, and avoid gathering in crowds. Hand-washing and cough etiquette. The normal sort of thing. If our alerts have it right, schools, libraries and the like are now closed by order of the government. We have been told that things will probably get worse before they get better and that “the kind of crisis we are facing cannot afford individual behaviors that deviate from the recommended line of action.” This, of course, sounds just like me at any given job speaking to any given co-worker about any given task.

It is what it is.

Wife and I spent the weekend at home but I did have to head out to get to get a few things today. There were some people out and about but, overall, it’s pretty damn slow. Masks on faces are now at almost 100% and, before today, I’ve only seen them at about 50% of pedestrians. (I count things when I walk – don’t judge me.) This emptiness is a strange sight. 

Stranger still is the sound.

Like the bite of real cold, it’s difficult to describe this sound to anyone who has never heard it. But, if you’ve ever heard a city shut down, you know this sound. It’s quiet. Not complete quiet. It’s like the noise of the city has lost weight. It’s a skinny noise now. The silences all go a bit too deep and a beat too long. You can hear a lack. Something creeps closer.

And the birds are no help at all. They’re all just hanging out, making nests, and fucking in the trees. It’s like they think they run the place. And if this keeps up, they might be right.

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