What's Your Panderamadingdong Trauma?

An animated gif illustration. It shows a woman wearing red pajamas with an astronaut bubble over her head, sitting facing us with her knees up to her chest. She is rotating around in a circle like the face of a clock. The background is plain blue.
La Chica Conejo

Are you traumatized by the pandemic?
My friend and I were talking about this recently, how the trauma of the pandemic is now in our bones and will likely manifest--in one way or another--through our lives, the way a lot of grandmas who lived through the depression always made sure to have cheap canned meat in the back of the cupboard.

The question is, how? We mused about hoarding toilet paper or obsessively disinfecting things, but the fact is that I never really did those things. (Don't worry, I wash my hands and I disinfect more than I used to, but more as a "this is what we need to do now" thing, not out of a deeply-encoded trauma or fear of germs.)

So what's it going to be? Are we going to cling (or be deeply averse) to Zoom as a conversation platform? Will we develop weird compulsion/aversion practices around large crowds? Desperately wanting to attend events with large crowds and then freaking out at the last minute and backing off? Spend more time alone in our homes? Keep track of the number of people we've seen in the past two weeks? Distrust people based on what we think they would have been like during this time?

Here's one things that I've already seen in myself: I cannot emotionally take any piece of media that actually refers to the early days of the pandemic. In the last few months I have watched two documentaries that wound up ending during the pandemic. Both were totally unexpected--to me and to the filmmakers.
They documented the long grocery store lineups, the uncertainty about what was and wasn't safe (can you cook for your elderly neighbour, or might you kill her by accident?), the cancelled trips. Both featured footage of a younger person standing outside the living room window of an older person, who is sitting inside.

Just thinking about it again is making me cry. This will never not be a trigger for me and I can see myself, 70 years old, marching out of the living room refusing to watch a show that dares to be set during this time. (Seriously, I will never watch anything set in the pandemic. I don't care what it does to timelines.) (Except, of course, by then we'll either have stories projected directly into our brains or will be living in a post-climate change wasteland where travelling bards tell us stories of our past, in which case I'll probably have an inappropriate outburst at the bard.)

What about you? How is the panagananopolis trauma going to manifest in you for the rest of time? I suspect there will be some shared themes but very different specifics, because we all know that we weren't actually "all in this together." The frontline workers had a very different experience from the vulnerable communities or the rich people who retreated to cabins.

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  1. I think mine will be about reduced social circles. I feel like this has made clear for me who the people I want to spend more time with are.

  2. I can't imagine what it is and will only know in retrospect.