In 1974, a Japanese soldier named Hiroo Onoda was persuaded to leave the jungle of Lubang Island in the Philippines, where he had been for 29 years believing that World War II was still underway. Only when his former commanding officer, by then a bookseller, was brought to him to reverse his orders did Onoda capitulate and leave the jungle.
After a year of trauma, shutdowns and treating most people like they’re made of fire, I find Onoda’s story very relatable.
Trust issues are a bear, and mine have grown like Jack’s beanstalk since the coronavirus pandemic began. I see people with no masks or ineptly worn masks, standards relaxing and even my most wonderfully uptight friends making travel plans while I peer out from the jungle in my head, conditioned for vigilance and not believing the war is over.
None of this would be a big deal, except that way back when safe tanning was my biggest worry, I booked tickets to a convention in Austin in June. This June. Normally I would be excited, but nothing is normal anymore. It’s not the same world, and we are not the same people. The White Queen famously bragged to Alice about believing six impossible things before breakfast…