No One Gets Out Alive

Nicole Sallak Anderson
11 min readMay 20, 2020
Even the gods die. Image by djedj from Pixabay

“There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief.”

“All Along the Watchtower,” by Bob Dylan

At the beginning of the covid-19 crisis, I was on the phone with my 78 yo mother. We were discussing the virus as it pertained to getting my sons home from college. I was worried domestic travel would be closed and they were both away at school. I needed them home, and as soon as possible, before they were left stranded on closed college campuses. During the conversation she said, “I know I’m going to die someday, we all do. But the idea that I might die in the next few weeks is scary. I’m not sure I’m ready.”

To which I replied, “Mom, I don’t think anyone is ever ready.”

Ten weeks later and so much is still unknown. We don’t really know how contagious the virus is, why most people have mild to no symptoms while others die a horrifying death, or how to treat it effectively. We do have some knowledge-our doctors and scientists are working around the clock. But at the moment, the privileged among us have been sheltering-in-place for over two months and there’s still no real plan forward. Those workers considered “essential” have been living under the stress of possible death every day while the rest of us bicker online whether or not we should stay inside until it’s safe, or storm the capitol because our constitutional rights are at risk and dammit, I don’t want to wear a mask in public.

People talk about the middle ground, but last night, as I read about the super cyclone now bearing down on India and Bangladesh and the fact that due to covid-19 social distancing requirements, at least 100,000 evacuees will NOT have a safe place to shelter, it dawned on me that the middle ground requires a challenge that most of us in the first world aren’t prepared for. The middle ground is of course a slow reopening, sticking our toes out the door and testing the waters, ready to run back inside the safety of our homes if too many of are sick, or bodies start piling up in the morgue. I’ve been a supporter of this path, and I still am, but that way is filled with risk and death and I’m not sure we have the strength as a society to do it. Discipline is needed as well as courage, for in order to live in society, we have to be active in…

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Nicole Sallak Anderson

Author of 8 books, California wildfire survivor, essayist. All books available @Amazon. www.nicolesallakanderson.com