By our reporter Sasha aka @AltVRat (Somnium Space on Discord)
“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”
— Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Know now that it is the month of March in the year twenty twenty and things are becoming, very, very, “interesting”. Because, as more and more people first become concerned and then become afraid and then finally become impacted, we are left with the unavoidable conclusion that this Corona Virus thing is not going away. Not going away? But I had plans! Then it sinks in a bit deeper, and we are then faced with an even harder decision, if its not going away, then what does one do?
As this question, and the questions surrounding it, unfolds we must stand eye-to-eye with ourselves, our prejudices, our fears and yes, our dreams. When one is faced with such things it quickly becomes a time of reflection and then hopefully a time of action.
In reflection I find that clichés come true. Family home, nature, all become of paramount importance. It is also cliché that as a firefighter I want to DO! I want to take action. My wife is a nurse, there is now concerned that she may be called back to work, even potentially against her will, to help curb the spread of this now very serious disease.
So, as I wait for the first medical call on my fire department pager confirming flu like symptoms, coughing and fear, I think, I plan and I wonder. Meanwhile, outside the sun is shining, buds are popping, children are playing happily, and many many things need to doing.
We have food, we have social distance (finally living quite far from urban centers has an advantage) so in many ways things will continue as normal. Yet when I hear of countries, team members, and friends, impacted by this new and emerging threat I want to do something more.
Next the inevitable question: What does one do in the time of Corona Virus? The Italians choose to sing, the Japanese with usual restraint focus inward, the American leaders bluster and yet we the extended family that shares a love for virtual reality can do something. And we can do it today, right now.
In our digital world we can gather, we can share stories, we can explore and we can play. These are all things we can do in spite of fear, in spite of doubt and in spite of social distance. We are privileged to have this technology, to have this avenue for self expression, self improvement, and friendship.
In Somnium Space, the other night, we shared a group hug. It was a bit awkward, it was a bit silly and it was also deeply touching and brought real emotion to the surface. For in some cases, for some of our community this was the largest group of people together they had been with in weeks. Czech Republic is in a state of emergency and locked down, Italy is locked down, Spain is locked down, Germany just closed the borders and this is still gaining momentum. Things will get harder before this is over and we will need to find different ways to help each other, different ways to help ourselves, and different to be with friends and forget for a moment the stress of waiting.
This is friendship in the time of Corona Virus.