Infected Woman gets on a bus and goes hiking on mountain pasture

These are disorderly times. With this sentence I wake up.  In the anteroom the clock is striking. It is Corona. Corona says: It is time. Time is a clockwork. An orange. Studded with cloves. I slip out of the blanket. In my dreams, my eyes fell on two open books and a newspaper. All I can remember of the newspaper is the headline: "Infected woman gets on a bus and goes hiking on mountain pasture". The books were nested inside each other in such a way that one book revealed the view of the other as if through a tube. I get up and go to the desk. I switch on the lamp. A book by Lukas Kollmer is lying there. On the cover sits a rabbit, a bunny. The bunny looks human. The pit is a red podium. The bunny is sick. It has a virus. Two guns are pointed at the bunny to take it out of circulation. It's already time, Corona says. Take care. "Peaceland," is the name of the book.
I open it and read: "... In the blue light of the lamp he began to read: 'Today on the fifth of November I begin my report. I will write everything down exactly as I am able. In the course of the last winter, I lost a few days. I am also unable to give the day of the week. But I do not think this is very important.'
His head grew dull. Eyes tired."  
I stop reading. I look down at the pages of the book in front of me, at my hands down into a shaft of feedbacks.  
The view from above reveals a lost world, a sheet of paper moving from low to high drifts up to me. I stare at it like at Pink Floyd's "Ummagumma" record cover, into a psychedelic tunnel.
It's the little craze that makes the dystopian real. Then something suddenly steps close to me.
The device that looks like a butcher's gun, which is then only a clinical thermometer. The first shock is immediate and stems from perception. The appeasement takes place in language. Once a form is found, it can be classified.
There is then the corona place. Like the plague column.
We will get used to it. To putting on the mask, to the washing of hands, to the distance, to the touches that will no longer exist in the future. To the measures that are all justified.
We will practise the movements.
We will write a piece of Corona choreography for measured out movements, for dances in hoop skirts and gloves far above the elbows.
But the restless imbalance, I think, when nothing is foreseeable yet. The unrest, the escapement, the oscillating system in mechanical clockworks, won't let me go. Something stumbles along, it falls before the step catches itself, the arms row to keep the balance. In lockstep heartmaker, breathing is difficult. When it takes another breath before it stops, before you know what it is and how to get a grip on it. Wild. Wild.
Every dystopia begins with a trip into the wild.
Shopping at the supermarket in the days before the shutdown.
We bought supplies as if we were going into the wild.
Panic overcame me because I couldn't find a mask anywhere...
The fact that the women all looked to me at first like in the Netflix series "A Handmaid's Tale".
Muzzle and mouth guard were blended for a moment. We wore them over each other. "Look, the dog is wearing a mouth guard too," the little girl in the wildlife reserve later said to my dog. Behind the wire fence, the ibexes piled up into a kind of living pyramid. It smelled of decay and excrement.
The sense of smell can be lost.
At first it is still bearable. But then it is a feeling of being locked out that the missing sense causes.
In future, the police should be allowed to collect symptoms of illness.
For a few days now, my ear has been fogged. I can hear almost nothing.
I imagine if it hadn't been a virus that caused the shutdown and the regulations that came with it. A thought flickers briefly, which I immediately push back, racist it would have been in its divisions and arrangements: Old against young, sick against healthy ...
It is a mistake to believe that the preceding could be forgotten. That the shutdown could only be seen as a precautionary measure without at the same time recalling other border closures and fences. Yet it is not a question of thinking.
Physically, recognition enters like a mine trolley the shaft.
Images are vindictive.
Words can be used to impose them.
A curfew can be imposed with words.
A veil of doom. The doom veil.
The Corona app.

From the glass window of the isolation ward of a hospital, I look down on my sister who is waiting below. As a child. When I was a child, I had a fever.

I think of the woman riding the bus to the mountain pasture. Someone will pull her out because she didn't meet the safety requirements.
... ineffabile est, the woman thinks. To be inconceivable.
No one would be able to claim to be inconceivable anymore and take flight into obscurity. The inconceivable would lie open in the light, even before she knew it, someone else would have declared her ill or made her into something else. Being declared ill would have the advantage that the explanation would be out of reach, that it would be absurd to still oppose it: against the genes, against the viruses, against health, after all, lack of health was also a source of danger for others. Potentially. The effect was perhaps the same, only no one had to use open violence against anyone any more. It was all plausible and therefore understandable. There was an elegant beauty to the biological argument in that it put the levels where something could be done about it out of reach. Biology is an unreachable island, the woman thinks. The island of Dr Marbuse. No, it is the island of the dead. She has no access here.
The tusks of the little elephant are neatly ground down, prepared like furniture for small children, round and smooth. It is already dead. She wears cotton wool in her head. In "The Wall", Pink Floyd presuppose that deafness is comfortable. An axe cushioned in air. Bloody heads on plates covered in white batiste tablecloths.
Animals, the woman thinks, are always "comfortably numb" under the care of humans. "Docile", docile, is the right word. Perhaps their docility is an effect of a certain constellation of violence, a waddish form of violence that comes across as protection and security to which one must submit. Funny how protection goes hand in hand with incapacitation. Although recently incidents involving animals have increased. Especially in summer, cows run away from pastures or from transport to slaughterhouses. Some can hide in forests for months. Others are shot on sight. The Cobra snipers had wondered how long it had taken the bull to die. The adrenaline, they said. They needed that kind of explanation.
The buzzing in her ear intensifies as the bus climbs the switchbacks. Her devious right ear has infected the left and since early this morning both ears have closed to such an extent that she can no longer hear herself. Certainly, she can still hear herself speak, but from the outside like someone else. The ear has locked her out of her head. She now sounds like everyone else without any inside. Her voice is outside. She sounds out of the loudspeaker giving instructions. She sounds like her gym teacher: "Do you all want to get orange peel skin on your thighs?" - studded with cloves.
In her first shock this morning in the bathroom, she was still begging her ear to let her in. Then she remembered the reports of smart homes that lock their owners out. In the body shutdown, the woman thinks, I'm never on time. I always miss the openings that are short slots. Time becomes round and closes.
Orange. Corona. Clockwork.
No one deliberately goes against reason, the woman thinks - and yet. My health is a hostage. I am hostage to my health. I have no choice but to take flight on this bus.
But nature, the woman now says almost pleadingly as she looks out of the bus window. Outside, chicory and yarrow fly by. The sky is as blue as it has ever been.
In the time of the shutdown, she has encountered hares three times, not bunnies, but full-grown field hares in flight formation. Their hind legs drummed on the hard ground. They did not look as if they were afraid. On the contrary, they looked as if they were on a mission.
I should get out, the woman thinks, this is important, especially now when being out of range is crucial.
Seek distance. The Wide.

 erscheint auf deutsch in der Anthologie CORONA. Eine Anthologie (Edition fabrik.transit) März 2021

© 2019 Eleonore Weber

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