Among the dis-ease of a social-political era defined by the re-definition of truth emerges a new disease... literally. In the past few weeks, COVID-19 has flooded our worlds swiftly and completely. As we settle into this new chaotic normal full of boredom, debris makes its way into our homes: fear, confusion, and a new class of universal memes. Tempting as it is to see this worldwide humor as a product of technological advancements, I’m inclined to believe otherwise. I like to imagine Sir Issac Newton, while in quarantine from the bubonic plague in 1665, writing a letter to a friend:
Safety tucked away from this Black Death that infects the earth, I find my mind drifting. When Trinity College closed its doors I joked that I would spend my time looking at bits of light and staring at apples for long lengths of time— well, my friend, the fruits (I jest) of my boredom have been truly luscious.
In the trunk of her car, my Tante* always has a few key essentials: a spare tire, a jumper cable and a car jack. She usually keeps some winter clothes in the back seat, and nestled behind a pile of biology books lies a pair of hiking boots and a huge pair of overalls. Deeply embedded with car grease and dirt, this blue denim has saved the elegance of silk gowns, cotton dresses and billowing skirts alike. Beneath her overalls, her outfit remains soft and clean until she diagnoses and fixes her car, returning to the road with makeup un-smudged.
This is my history. At three, as I danced in my mismatched socks, my grandmother fixed the bathroom plumbing. At five, while doing a family history project, I learned that my great-grandmother had her master’s degree and was the first certified speech pathologist in Vermont. At seven, as I wrote my first play, my mom shooed my dad away from the bills. At twelve, when I received a...