If you’re reading this, you’re still here.
Worldwide over 2.65 million people have died due to Covid. Here in the US, over 500,000 Americans were lost in the last 365 days, averaging more than one death per minute. It is endlessly frustrating that so many of these deaths could have been prevented by having more folks wear a mask on their face, or choose staying home.
Scientists and epidemiologists knew the potential for destruction a virus with these traits could cause, and tried to sound the alarm. I recall coming across a paper a few weeks prior to this original post describing the possibility of spread. It had all sorts of terminology I wasn’t super familiar with, but it looked bad. I forwarded it to my good friend Derrick, sitting at the desk next to me where he would work on making accessible and entertaining math explainer videos and asked if he could take a look. After a page or two in, he went pale, and it confirmed my suspicions. He did what he does best, and made an explainer video on exponential growth, and the importance of flattening the curve that hopefully might reveal to folks the seriousness of what was on the horizon.
People respond differently to impending doom. I live with anxiety, the kind that sends my brain following every possible outcome/timeline for destruction. Difficult at times for sure, useful at other times, since I’m already anticipating where things will go wrong, I’ll try to fix what I can ahead of time. The act of doing so is calming, even if it irritates everyone else around me when I ask so many clarifying questions.
This little social project was my attempt to try and “fix” what I could. I thought maybe if I could redirect some of the impending frustration and isolation that folks would undoubtably feel as shutdowns loomed on the horizon, I could encourage voluntary attempts to flatten the curve, and maybe keep a few more people safe, who might then keep a few more people safe, and then a few more… Certainly a pebble in a giant lake, but take the win where you can. I was hoping to keep encouraging folks to post, but as so many of us have learned over the last year, exhaustion is a thing. As is forgiving yourself for imperfection or changing your plans. We did manage to collect over 500 images with just a little hashtag, so that’s pretty great- because so many of those were voices that were heard beyond the walls of the rooms we’ve memorized more than we’d like, or little celebrations of being with family, and long distance connections between folks. Gossamer thin, but still there. It was interesting to see this communal public journal reflect different waves of emotion and understanding of where we were in the pandemic. If you’re feeling it, go ahead and post another image this weekend with the hashtag #antisocialartshow it will be interesting to see what is on people’s mind’s right now.
ANYHOW. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re reading this, you’re still here and I’m grateful for that. Whether you’ve spent the last year fighting this virus on the front lines, manufacturing PPE on your sewing machine or 3d printer, organizing and stocking neighborhood food cupboards, figuring out how to keep a business afloat and your employees employed and safe, wrangling children at home or on tiny screens, or honestly- just surviving– Thank you. I’m proud of you. Really, getting to today is a BFD.
And for those of us who are no longer here to read these words, or won’t be able to hug me again on this plane of existence. I’m so sorry we couldn’t hold on to you. You are missed and still so loved.
So please, when the time comes, don’t throw away your shot. Get immunized. Do it for yourself. Do it for your loved ones. Do it for spite even. And while I miss seeing your smiles, continue to mask up. We likely will be doing that for awhile, we need to keep those variants from spreading, otherwise we might have to do this all over again.
Oh and as far as what I’ve been up to lately, well a few of the things: I’ve been working with some nice fellas with Buffalo E-nable on an open-source clear mask adapter so you’ll be able to smile and have folks see it while you wear a mask- I’ll share it as soon as they’re available. And if you’re here in Rochester, check out Last Year on Earth at the Rochester Contemporary Gallery through May 8, 2021. I got to help jury the exhibition, its kind of a live version of the antisocial art show 😉 featuring pieces made during the last year. You can visit without making a reservation. If you’re a balloon professional, I’ll be teaching advanced foil balloon techniques at Gemar Day USA‘s virtual conference in April. And a bunch of other things cause that’s how I roll. <3