In mid-March, 33-year-old Daniel Thorson checked himself into a silent Buddhist meditation retreat in a remote part of Vermont. On May 23, two-and-a-half months later, he left the retreat and tweeted, "Did I miss anything?"
After leaving the retreat, he stopped at a market, and that's when he realized things were amiss. "I would turn a corner in the grocery store, and someone would be there, and they would recoil," he said. "…At first, I was, like, 'Whoa, what did I do?'"
From The New York Times:
It stunned him to discover that the many and various topics that interested him — global warming, electoral politics, the health care system — had been subsumed by a single topic of conversation, the coronavirus. That feeling of confusion deepened when, during his first week back, American cities erupted in protests over the death of George Floyd.
"While I was on retreat, there was a collective traumatic emotional experience that I was not a part of," he said, on the second day. "To what degree do I have to piece it back together?"
…He had looked forward to plunging back into his online world, a setting he had always found "nourishing."
But when he reviewed two and a half months of posts from people he admires, he found, to his shock, that they were only talking about one thing. "Everything else is gone," he said. "There's nothing about the election! It's amazing! The Australian wildfires, what happened there? Didn't Brexit happen?"
His story is like the real-life version of Julie Nolke's Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self videos.
I'm back from 75 days in silence. Did I miss anything?
— Daniel Thorson (@dthorson) May 23, 2020
People at the grocery store seem more anxious than I remember.
— Daniel Thorson (@dthorson) May 25, 2020
Image: CCO Public Domain/pxhere