Quarantine Drift

Lehrer-Graiwer, Sarah. GalleryPlatformLA

Just getting through the day, another like the ones before. Not only is space constricted as we stay home with so many public places still off limits or tainted with risk, hoping to weather another wave safely (or is this still the first?), but time gets recalibrated and folded in on itself into an incessant loop. Longer term planning gets shelved, succumbing to the abiding uncertainty and unplanability of the year, so that the short, immediate term of day-by-day takes over. Always a key feature of the everyday, repetition looms larger than ever. With schools closed and work for many still on hold, the days of the week blur and fade. It is an entropic and timeless kind of time, destructured into a mostly stale equilibrium of suspension, delay, postponement, and waiting—waiting to enter a new phase, waiting for the zoo or school or museum to reopen, waiting for positivity rates to fall, waiting for test results, waiting for the incubation period to pass, waiting for some good news, waiting for some accurate and actionable information, waiting for a breakthrough, waiting to be able to reschedule, waiting to plan, waiting for a delivery, waiting for the election. Quarantine time can feel, alternately, frantic and uneventful—full of silent static. Days float by adrift, unmoored, undefined or defined routinely by meals and sleep; or they harden into a frozen block, paused, and stuck in a holding pattern. We look forward, we think ahead to when this is over.

July 13, 2020
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