This quote made me think about the many ways we’ve seen populations of people around the world respond to our plague, swiftly or not-so-swiftly accepting “the idea of the disease.” In today’s pages Camus continues to explore the beginning stages of the way this is hitting Oran — shops and offices close, and “many people, …reduced to inactivity, …filled the streets and cafés.” They go to the movies! And the grocer who “stockpiled supplies so he could sell them at a large profit,” found with tins of food under his bed when they took him to the hospital. We have all been seeing behaviors that echo these (as well, of course, as behavior that is in effect the opposite). I was touched too by the conversation with the journalist who is now trapped in Oran, separated from the woman he loves — “‘I wasn’t put on this earth to make reports; but perhaps I was put on earth to live with a woman.'” We are all also experiencing now, for better and worse, the ways our moment is forcing us to wrestle with what really matters; also how difficult it can be to grasp these things, even if we can recognize what they are.
FOR TOMORROW: Read next 7 pages, up to the end of the paragraph that begins “Outside the rain…”