I live in New York, ground zero of the two major crises this century, but I was away from home on 9/11 and when Covid hit.
On 9/11, I was in Santa Fe. Planes were grounded and I was stuck. I wouldn’t have been able to get to my home in Tribeca near the towers even if I had driven back to NYC because the whole area was restricted, with armed guards on every corner checking IDs, and my ID had an old address. So I stayed in my little casita, which had dial-up internet, no television, and I missed all the media coverage.
When the Anthrax scare quickly followed, I was in Belagio, Italy–at the Rockefeller Villa of all places, hobnobbing with a UN delegation–for the entire month of October 2001. Also no TV and no outside news. I didn’t even know about the Anthrax until I returned to the U.S.. Weird that it never came up in conversation at dinner.
And once again, in 2020 when the Covid lockdown commenced, I found myself far away from home, in St Petersburg, Russia. Again planes were grounded and I was stuck, but safe and not subjected to the U.S. news cycle.
I did not experience first-hand any of these traumatizing events. I was never afraid that I would die. I missed the 24/7 fear porn. That may be one of several reasons why my perspective is different and I seemed to be immune from Stockholm syndrome.
In this Chapter, I place my hero, Winston Smith, in Russia, so that you can see through his eyes how different the situation was there during lockdown. I’m not saying their government is any better, but the people, the Russian people lived Orwell’s 1984 and they were not inclined to let the boot get back to stomping on their faces.