The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
Mr. Skate sipped his Pinot Grigio as he surfed the web for the answer to the question that had haunted him since brunch; when will a vaccine be ready and which promising pharmaceutical stock to buy?
Beyond Mr. Skate’s wall a teacher wondered. Which masks to buy? What would become of her children if she came down with the coronavirus? She gripped her crucifix and prayed away the cold uncertainty.
Mr. Skate shouted at the help. “I’m cold in here. Can you turn down the AC?”
Beyond Mr. Skate’s wall an old woman in quarantine, confused, swamped by unpaid bills, sweltered in front of her array of thrift store fans in her hot box apartment, unable to afford to turn up the AC.
Mr. Skate went for his daily bike ride through his upscale neighborhood. Who can afford to miss a day of exercise? Everybody waves! Mr. Skate found this touching.
On the south side an exhausted nurse hoped the touch of her gloved hand would comfort her COVID-19 patient as he left the world. She joked she hasn’t slept in 401 days.
Mr. Skate reported their 401(k) earnings to Mrs. Skate. “Damnedest thing. Just keeps growing! We must be making a thousand a day.”
In the distance a boy posted the passing of his grandmother. “A thousand people a day are dying from this pandemic. Where’s the outrage?”
“Where’s the remote?” Mr. Skate wondered. “There it is! The sunny side of this COVID thing: We finally had the time to organize everything in our home.” At last. Order.
Across town, as her children wailed, a frantic mother searched through the teeming chaos in her tiny apartment for the diapers she had gotten from the Diaper Bank. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m losing my mind!”
Mr. Skate, losing his chill, asked Alexa to play “wind chimes” as he watched the hummingbirds come and go on his porch.
On the East side an exhausted doctor cued up Mozart’s “Requiem” as he watched the COVID-19 patients come and go, the dead bound for the humming freezer trucks.
Mr. Skate knew he was lucky. “I’m white. I have a remote gig, a roof, a full fridge and a wonderful partner.” So lucky.
Beyond his estate a woman knew she was lucky. COVID-19 spread through her barrio and her family, killing her father and brother. Hospitalized alongside her father she was able to say goodbye before he died. “I’m the lucky one.” So lucky.
Mr. Skate adored his new truck. He was saving a fortune not spending money on gas and eating out. “It’s all money in the bank, Mrs. Skate. We’re blessed.”
In midtown a single mom, laid off when her restaurant closed and riding on an empty gas tank, stalled her adored rusty inheritance out in the middle of the intersection. Sobbing, forsaken, she pounded the steering wheel.
Mr. Skate steered his broker to the pharmaceutical shares that looked promising.
Under a distant overpass a homeless man studied the well trafficked street corner that looked promising for panhandling if only the heat would subside.
Mr. Skate was proud of himself for laughing it off when Mrs. Skate criticized his Paleo Lasagna, “I’m cursed.”
Down the street a raging Paleolithic man cursed the cops, his cuffs, and “that” woman for daring to question him “once too often,” the petite, battered woman that was zipped into a body bag.
Mr. Skate, who often sent donations to the politicians that cut university funding, sent a generous donation to his alma mater. “They’re going through uncertain times.”
On the west side, a promising young man decided against college, discouraged by the massive debt it would cost him in these uncertain times. When he talked to his recruiter he knew he was breaking his mother’s heart.
Mr. Skate talked to his therapist. “This whole thing has left me anxious and depressed.” Mr. Skate was going to try the breathing exercises next time he watched cable news.
Well beyond his Skate’s gate, an overwhelmed mom waited in line in her car to get a box from the food bank because her babies were hungry. She was afraid of what might come next.
The weed and wine would blanket her pain.
Mr. Skate was hungry. He was afraid that Mrs. Skate had eaten his leftover salmon. Disappointed, he microwaved a package of lentil soup, gulped down a medical marijuana gummy and dozed through the lamentations of cable news.
Miles away an old forgotten man floated through another day alone at the senior care center, another day, like every other, with no messages, no calls, just the ticking clock and his abiding fear that he may be the next to die, “in this pandemic death trap.”
Mr. Skate floated on his float in his beautiful pool and wondered if the pool boy had been affected by the pandemic.
As he brought his Margarita to his lips he thought maybe he should leave a tip, after all, they were weathering this “dreadful disaster” just fine.
That’s what he’d do, by George. Leave a nice tip.
David Fitzsimmons: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!