Log: Turning Transparent

Worm Date: 0.020

South Korea has returned to its highest level of Red Alert. Not so much because of any new outbreak –at this very moment, we seem to lack that– but because there hasn’t been a new outbreak and an important part of this fight is against sloppiness and complacency. On top of this, right now, many of Korea’s new cases are from other countries.

This is our daily briefing. It tells us exactly what is happening, what is being done, what we’re supposed to do, and what the consequences are if we do not do it. It lets us know what services are available, how to use them, and how we can help each other. I don’t know who the lady in yellow is but I don’t even need to know. She’s wearing the DEVO uniform. That means that she’s on script, knows what she’s talking about, and you can trust that lady with your life. There is no question period. Don’t need one. You just get all the facts of the matter.

Watching this, I get the same sense of relief that I got upon arriving here regarding guns. Like, there are no guns. I haven’t seen a gun since I arrived here. I often couldn’t go to work without seeing a gun in LA. When guns are out the picture, the ones you see, the ones you don’t, you just feel this weight lift off you. A fear subsides. Seeing information relayed in this calm, rational way by people you can trust feels the same. It’s fucking relaxing. It’s just the truth — this is our best understanding of the science and here’s what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how you can help. There is just no bullshit about it. It’s straight-up.

I mean, we also saw the prime minister’s conference with foreign journalists and an American asked a question. Something about when the surveillance powers that allow contact tracing were going to be removed. Man, I just felt like throttling the fucker. It’s like – take that libertarian paranoia back to whatever death-riddled, backwater you slithered out of and fucking choke on it there. Before I lived in the states, that question would have sounded different. I might even have thought his was a semi-reasonable question. But no. It’s not. It’s just part of the whole logic packet that protects some people’s rights to have guns and makes everyone else walk through metal detectors and train their children for mass shootings because FREEDOM. I have a gut reaction to these things now.

Right now, these surveillance tools allow contact tracing. Not only will that be a vital in any sustainable and democratic version of social distancing –a model that we are going to need to develop and a model that probably isn’t even really possible until we can trace exact transmission of every case– this surveillance is an important part of what gives us the freedom to go outside if we need to go outside. This tool is protecting our freedom.

And a timetable? Fuck off, buddy. Who has a timetable? I mean, these fucking people beg for lies then wonder why they get them. Having said that, if I was still in the states, yeah, I’d probably be pretty worried about whatever crazy shit the American government had up its sleeve too. It’s just, not everywhere is the states and often the symptom in America gets taken for the disease and the cure is thought to be the problem. Some of these American problems are just not as crassly universal as Americans like to believe. That so-called universality is just their way of putting themselves at the center of the conversation. I mean, hearing him talk, I could imagine the CNN response to this conference, if they even bothered to listen: Korean Prime Minister Talks About Importance of Transparency in Clear Rebuke to Trump. It’s like, this is just how it works. It’s not a rebuke, it’s just a truth.

So, anyway, right now, we’re all being asked to really strengthen our social distancing because we’re at risk of new infection from people entering the country. Just in case anyone wants to start blaming foreigners, it is being emphasized that many of these people (90%) are not foreigners but Korean nationals returning home from overseas. To bring them home, we have got to keep doing this thing with renewed vigor. We’re fighting to get people safely home to safety! That’s a pretty damn good reason to fight, if you ask me.

In semi-sad sort of news, we also received an alert today telling us to avoid going to Cherry Blossom Spots in Busan. We live in THE Busan Cherry Blossom Spot. The moon and the Cherry Blossoms is pretty much what this hood is all about. (And maybe cats without tails but that’s another story.) People come here from all over Asia to see these things. (Not the cats but the cats see them.) I’m not even worried that our neighborhood may be about to become a mass gathering and cause and outbreak or whatever. It’s just . . .

I love Cherry Blossoms. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Cherry Blossom Season since before we even arrived in Korea and, so much more so, when I discovered that we live in one of Busan’s top Cherry Blossom spots. And I already knew we wouldn’t be able to go see them but, you know, an alert can drive it home. The good news is that I can see Cherry Blossoms from our building’s trash cans. And that’s really pretty nice.

And if I poke my head around the corner . . .

When I poked my head around the corner, I was approached by a crow of all things. It hopped down, had a look at me, and said something. Though I am a little concerned that birds just seem to be having sex with each other all over the place and, aside from evincing a disturbing lack of care about anything we might be going through, there is very little we can do to stop their increasingly public fornication, I, unlike my wife, don’t think the birds are laughing at us (well, some of them, maybe) and did not interpret this crow’s vocalizations as mockery. (I do think it might have swore but crows, like most animals, swear a lot.) I remembered a friend saying that a lot of city crows are going a bit hungry without humans and this fellow seemed to want something. I darted back inside to get some dogfood but by the time I got back outside, the crow was gone. I walked a little up the street and found him on a pole. I put down a little bit of food down in, I hope, a safe location.

Nothing happened. I went home.

I sort of wonder if the surveillance cameras caught me doing this and if I’m going to be brought up on littering charges. I can see the headlines already “Foreign Nosferatu Found Feeding Rats and Summoning Sky Vermin.” That surveillance for you. You take the good with the bad, I suppose. Nothing is perfect.

Anyway, not much to do now about it except wait for that knock on the door.

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