Coronavirus. She is on your TV new station. It’s all everyone is talking about. The coronavirus is closing this, that is cancelled, life is cancelled, even the coronavirus conference is cancelled. Coronavirus is getting some serious press. Climate Change called, “Bitch, who’s your publicist?”
Not a fan of Miss Corona at the moment. April Unwrapped, my one woman show, previewed in Las Vegas last month. I had worked my entire life for this and we were getting ready to open my regular run for my residency and BAM! Coronavirus hit and everything has been postponed indefinitely. This is a surreal kick in the heart to say the least, as my line of work is filled with hustle and rejection even when doomsday is not looming upon us.
More than anything, this has been irking me as a long time HIV/AIDS activist. As someone who has many friends in the long term survivor community, I appreciate the stress and fear surrounding Miss Corona. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention more people were dead within the first month of AIDS, and it took the CDC THREE YEARS to assemble a task force. It was only after activists who came before me took radical action. Or as Mark S. King of My Fabulous Disease explained, that it was convenient to ignore HIV/AIDS because “the right people” were dying, meaning LGBTQ, addicts, and POC. Unfortunately, only something becomes a crisis when it hits the straight, white, cis community.
While the privilege of the dominant culture and double standard around who matters have reduced me to screaming matches with people, I also do not believe anyone regardless of who they are should perish by coronavirus. I have been raging against the like of Katie Jo Williams aka Corona Katie who believe coronavirus is manufactured myth not to get Trump re-elected, or as she said on Twitter, “I am going to get a burger at Red Robin because I am an American and that is what I do.” So as an American you do not care about the immunosuppressed like long term HIV survivors who consider flu season hell, people with COPD, cancer patients going through chemo, children with asthma and others at risk? Look, I know it sucks but we have to do what is necessary until this is under control.
What is most disheartening is not only the selfish panic buying but racism I am seeing against Asian in the form of tweets, memes, and rhetoric. There is a story circulating that a guy ate a bat and BAM, we have coronavirus. (Okay, maybe coronavirus’s publicist needs a new spin on this). This is reminiscent of the racist myth during AIDS that some African in the forest had sex with a money and BAM, we have AIDS. (I hope AIDS fired her publicist after that one). Crappy jokes aside to lighten the mood, as an activist I find this ignorance disgusting, but a waste of valuable time and energy that could be used not only to educate others about transmission about coronavirus, but how to prevent that transmission not only to themselves but to others around them, especially the most vulnerable. Add in the disregard for science by our president and vice president and wow, I am like a drag queen who just lost the pageant on a technicality.
As I was marinating in my resentment that the world sucked and we were all gonna die last week, I was involved in a minor car accident when my car was struck by a vogue taxi cab. After seeing my life flash before my eyes, dealing with the drama that comes with an accident and Metro PD, I was star trekking in the Twilight Zone. When I got home and saw the coronavirus coverage on TV I couldn’t take it, I couldn’t do it. Yeah Miss Corona might get me, but that rogue taxi cab did a much better job of nearly getting me. Bye Felicia.
Since that time I have been focusing on myself, but most importantly self-care. Like Shakespeare did when the theatres closed during the plague, I have been writing more prose, and perhaps I will take a stab at a sonnet. I have been practicing more with my puppets, perfecting our routines so we are not just ready for the opening whenever it comes, but sharper than ever when things get back to normal. I am going outside, enjoying the sunshine, and enjoying the dogs. In a few weeks, it will be warm enough here to plant tomatoes.
A quote from another long time AIDS activist friend comes to mind, “Pace yourself.” My rage is okay and well placed, but right now, I just got to do me. I see a bath bomb in my near future. When things get back to normal, I want to call Miss Corona, “Bitch, I’m opening in Vegas. Who’s your publicist?”