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June 25, 2002

embrace epidemic

what is this - these arms thrown around one another, in public, in the streeets, the sidewalks, the grassy areas of our city? An epidemic! Hugs and holds, on display and splayed out.

started simply, it seemed. the drive home, a median where the upper crust keeps it upper. there were two people in embrace.

male or female? i couldn’t tell. in love? in desperation? in consolation? i could not tell. but there they stood, clasped, intent, intense. not moving. just holding.

it might’ve been romantic, it might’ve been the moment that they both had waited for all their lives. marriage (or the approximation if same-sexed), or some similar deep connect. but it was so intense, so leaned into and stationary, that i have to think that it might be something else. less romantic.

still, it hardly seemed worth a mention. an observation. two people with a 75 degree angle between them, bodies held by structural force - who am i to pry?

and so, it remained in memory only. this strange intensity displayed in public. because it wasn’t just a public display, no “see you later” grasp, no “you are a good friend” pat. it was serious. and mysterious.

yet - mere days later - i see it again. in public, on thoroughfares heavily travelled. another couple, in embrace, in happiness or sadness? i cannot say.

what’s happening out there? is there something going on? who are these people, and what’s happening to them?

it’s not love, it doesn’t look like love, and if not love, then what’s going on?

that’s when it occured to me. it may be a fad, but maybe it’s a disease. not that hugging is like the flu or anything, but that perhaps we are witnessing the birth of some new social disorder, some virus that attacks the brain.

these people are the first wave, then. the red flags on the map. pushpins at the epicenter of the outbreak.

they’ve all got the virus of close contact. that must be it. a new epidemic.

i think - by god - that i may already be innoculated.

posted at 12:33 AM | find it forever

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