Annus horribilis

As the leaves fall and the nights become longer, darker, and colder, it is fairly clear that 2020 AD has been something of an annus horribilis for many people. Just over two months of this year still remain. Naturally it is the height of optimistic folly to assume that 2021 will be a better year, let alone an annus mirabilis, but I cannot wait for this year to be over. It certainly has messed up my perception of time. I am not sure if this year thus far has been long or short, because it feels both depending on my mood. It certainly has been different.

Even though I fervently wish to see the back of 2020, there is a nagging and disconcerting feeling that things are going to get even worse in 2021. What if the coronavirus pandemic gets much worse than it is now? What if there is a contested result in the US presidential election that is not settled quickly? What if there is no post-Brexit deal between the EU and the UK? As things stand, no one knows the course and outcome of these events, even though some future historians will smugly weave a narrative arguing that everything was very clear and self-evident.

Living through this moment has been something of a surreal experience. As I stay put at home for the most part, there are events taking place that may have profound consequences. They seem close and immediate yet distant. They affect me yet I am powerless. I keep reading and consuming media, both traditional and social, that is awash with information, misinformation, and disinformation, as well as projections, fears, and wishes.

As the US presidential election approaches, there undoubtedly will be more hectic and heated days ahead. I think I will spend less time reading the news until the election day. However, I shall follow the results on the night of 3-4 November, fortified with a bottle of something stiff, to see what happens. We live in interesting times and at least I can be a witness of these events. Unfortunately hibernation is not an option.