A Special American Pandemic Travel Report
(Observation – September 2020)
There is a notable difference between Connecticut and South Dakota. If you flew from and to either state, and spent time traveling in each respective state, that difference might be called, “profound”.
That difference is mostly the impending doom and death, and whether a constant reminder of it is present or absent.
In other words, the northeast’s constant, inescapable drumming of COVID-19 and the legal liabilities of non-compliance of governors’ edicts, as well as knowing that your fellow residents may be watching and recording your movements, stands in stark contrast to South Dakota’s vibe of friendliness, respectfulness, and good old American freedom and liberty.
There is this blanket of subtle oppressiveness in the northeast, which is not fully appreciated until you are in a state like South Dakota. Unfortunately, returning from S.D. to CT made that “blanket” all the more apparent.
Traveling to South Dakota, the differences were not as apparent, mainly because the landscape changes were more stark than the slowly evaporating COVID restrictions and reminders.
While in South Dakota, you notice right away how different the social environment is – friendlier, more courteous, more respectful – and people either took personal precautions or they didn’t, and those feelings or attitudes of distrust between fellow humans was simply absent.
Traveling back is when those differences became pronounced. You start seeing signs about COVID and more requirement notices posted about. However, once getting into New York state, whatever smile of contentment you had, whatever lightness of spirit you acquired, are replaced with that “blanket of subtle oppression”. This time, though, it is not so subtle.
Besides the COVID warning signs multiplying like Tribbles on board Captain Kirk’s Enterprise, the messaging was much more dire. That sense of being watched and recorded by people returns, and you struggle to remember the uplifting feelings you had prior to entering this land.
After New York, you enter Connecticut and there isn’t much difference, but you do appreciate state highway signs no longer screaming at you “COVID-19 KILLS”! Yes, New York had signs that dramatic.
In reality, whatever the quantifiable liabilities are of living in a world that has a coronavirus, those liabilities are there no matter where you are, albeit in varying degrees. Maybe the question to ask and meditate on is, “What does it mean to live or be living?” With the major migrations happening – NYC to CT, Boston to NH, northeast to the mid-west, CA to Texas and Montana – perhaps people have asked and meditated upon that question.