I got the Covid fear for the first time last Tuesday night.
Some of us are more afraid of the virus than others. I'm not talking about the economic damage of lockdowns. I'm talking about the fear of the actual infection. Your level of anxiety significantly affects your response.
If you think there is a good chance Covid-19 will kill you or someone you love you behave differently to those of us, who see that as unlikely.
If you are not scared, the whole thing gets confusing. I was that way. I had a lot of economic concerns but few viral ones. Then out of nowhere, I was hit with a full Covid virus freak out. In those few minutes, I could almost understand the toilet paper hoarders. I become a lockdown enthusiast. I stopped judging the COVID terrified.
Covid fear doesn't come naturally to those of us who are not predisposed to it. I needed a perfect storm of visual and audio input to get there. It all started after dinner Tuesday with a rewatching of the Brad Pitt horror World War Z.
A seven-year-old zombie film that somehow manages to work today as a topical comment on the virus. The flick also packed with terrifying undead violence. I enjoyed it so much I turned off the lights to play a little Last of Us 2.
A hyper-realistic and shockingly graphic video game. In a gritty post-apocalyptic world, you play as a young woman who is repeatedly ripped to pieces by the infected. It's a game that delivers jump scares, buckets of blood, claustrophobia and even a sniff of vertigo. Four hours of powerful undead action had me primed for some real-life terror.
Then it hit - an unexpected Covid-19 emergency alert piercing the dark, blasting out of an old phone in a terrifying robotic voice.
Positive cases of Covid-19 have been identified in a house in the Auckland Region. Stay home and follow Alert Level 3 guidelines. This will stop transmission of Covid-19 and save lives.
The message repeated several times before I located the source. It was as if my evening with World War Z and Last of Us was coming to life. At that moment I got it. The Covid world suddenly became a scary place. I could sense an invisible menace stalking our city, and with nowhere to hide, I felt the urge to bunker down with a butt load of supplies.
Once you have experienced the full virus fear, you stop judging the people who rush to supermarkets. To them, it's like fastening your seatbelt in a crashing helicopter. It's a sensible option.
The fear quickly left me but what has not is a newfound understanding of idiotic Covid behaviour.
In those few minutes, I saw the corona world in a new way. To some people, the virus is a clear and present danger.
If you have ever bungy jumped, you'll know how different standing on the platform feels compared to standing on the street.
If Covid-19 made you feel pre- bungy scared you might find yourself down the supermarket with embarrassing amounts of loo paper too. In the end, scared or not scared we are all in this together.
So instead of assuming people's intentions are bad, that their actions are an affront to you, we could all take a second to imagine what it would be like to feel the other way.
The scared people could stop calling others heartless monsters and the unscared could stop calling the afraid people idiots. I felt the fear, and it changed me. One thing is for sure I'll be waiting for the end of this thing before I play my video game again.