I was relaxing watching a rock concert whilst self-isolating. It made me realise the way it was. 60,000 people sweating next to each other at an open venue, mingling each others juices together. Ah, those were the days.
Nothing is going to be the same.
My life was concerts, theatre, travel, airports … all those olden days of standing next to each other, coughing over each other, pushing elbows into each other and competing over the arm rest on flights have gone forever.
Sure, you can read about how life may change in the future, and it may not change much at all – we had a pandemic a century ago, the Spanish flu, and look how we settled into our own normal after that – but I think there will be a new normal that is very different to the old normal. So here’s my view of how all this pans out. Be interested if anyone agrees.
The year is 2065. Grandpa Skinner sits down with grandson Skinner and tells him what life used to be like …
Grandpa Skinner: I remember 2020. That was the year of the coronavirus pandemic, son.
Grandson Skinner: Coronavirus pandemic grandad? What was that?
Grandpa: Well, it was a huge issue where lots of people died and the government shut down everything for months.
Grandson: Why was that a problem?
Grandpa: Well, back then, the world was very interconnected. Everything was impacted therefore. Countries shut down. Business stopped working. Airlines were shuttered. Nothing worked.
Grandson: What’s a country?
Grandpa: Oh yes. Well, back then, we had countries. They separated places on Earth. They had borders and meant that you could not move around without permission. It’s different now, obviously, with the inter-galactic links we have but, back then, the pandemic meant that people were shuttered inside their individual countries.
Grandson: But I don’t understand why.
Grandpa: OK. Back in 2020, there were many countries on Earth. They were all separated and competing against each other. One of those countries was called China. And a disease came out of China called coronavirus. It was also called COVID19 and SARS-CoV2 if you prefer. The disease rapidly spread around the world and infected lots of other countries. It led to a global lockdown, the loss of business and jobs for many, a global poverty revolution and the eventual creation of The Earth Alliance.
Grandson: What was The Earth Alliance, grandad?
Grandpa: The Earth Alliance was created in 2026, to a large extent as a result of the coronavirus crisis. It was built to address the societal consequences of the pandemic, and create a better world. People were divided by money and rules, and the virus had made that much, much worse. In fact, half of the people on Earth were broken and broke. They rose up and started challenging authorities all across the world. So, the powers all met together to work out how to solve the issues they faced. They gradually broke down borders and created a global force for change.
Grandson: You mean it created the bond that allowed us to break free of Earth?
Grandpa: Yes, kind of. There was a group of countries back then that were the big powers and were called the G20. They got together and worked together to create a way of overcoming the fall out from the coronavirus pandemic. This led to a global agreement on health. After that, there soon came a global agreement on trade and then business and currency. In fact, all of the history of what led to now came from the coronavirus pandemic. Without that, we wouldn’t have had an Earth Alliance and an agreement to all work together on going into space.
Grandson: So, without the pandemic, we wouldn’t be here?
Grandpa: That’s right. It’s why we talk about this year being year 39AP. We are 39 years after the pandemic. It’s why, when I was born, it was 40 BP, before pandemic. When I was born, we were on Earth, separated by borders and countries and rules. After-Pandemic, we were not. We were just one planet and one society.
Grandson: But, how come we haven’t had another pandemic?
Grandpa: Well, they found ways to control the one we had in 2020 and, over the course of the next six years, created ways to address those issues including not only in terms of cleanliness, but the way we live. It’s the reason I don’t kiss or cuddle you. We just keep our distance and try not to touch each other too much.
Grandson: Is that why mummy and daddy wear helmets?
Grandpa: No. That’s so that they can breathe here.
Grandson: But, I don’t wear a helmet?
Grandpa: That’s because you’re inside.
As Grandpa Skinner said this, mummy and daddy Skinner entered the room through the airlock and said hello. Nothing like life on Mars, is there?