It’s Like There’s No Future

The other thing about that Wired piece about the surreality of life during a global pandemic is the bit about what the wife of child psychiatrist Fredrick Matzner had said to him.

Right now, many of the patterns we know and love have been obliterated. We can’t go to happy hour, we can’t get toilet paper when we want it, we can’t plan our annual trip. “My wife actually said this to me just a couple of days ago: ‘It’s like there’s no future,’” says Matzner. What she meant was we can’t plan for the future, because in the age of the coronavirus, we don’t know what we’ll be doing in six months, or even tomorrow. We’re stuck in a new kind of everlasting present. “And so everything seems completely otherworldly,” Matzner says.

This mostly was my daily life even before the pandemic, in that I’ve never known what I’ll be doing in six months. I’d roughly assembled a set of weekly routines—breakfast out on this day, a trip across down to the zoo on that day—but beyond that, there was no future.

Not in the sense of mortality but in the sense of…surety? Mostly I’d just assumed it’d be more of the same falling headlong toward inevitable disaster that comes from being self-insufficient.

So, in a sense, I’d a head start on many others: I already couldn’t see past the tip of my temporal nose; the problem is that the only anchors I had, those weekly touchstones, now are indeterminate.