On my mind is “Theatre of The Absurd”, whose part definition means, ‘a form of drama that emphasizes the absurdity of human existence by employing purposeless and confusing situations, and plots that lack realistic or logical development.
My mind’s particular reference is an absurd incident that played out today, in broad daylight, and in front of my wide-open eyes in a butchery.
And like all absurd plays such as Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”, the characters will not be introduced to you, the audience, except for their names and their miserable situation, which pans out as follows:
I enter the butchery to buy some steak, strictly minding my own business, as is true to my character; which I am sure you know by now, my default manners.
But my mind quickly remembers that these are unusual times; they are days in which our cousin Covid-19 has come home to roost, they are days of kukaa rada, they are days which call for social distancing, which in turn calls for scanning around to discover how close one is to the nearest probable carrier of our cousin.
In front of me, at a safe distance as recommended by those who went to medical school and authoritatively excelled, I notice a middle-aged man who is proudly donning a surgical face mask. My mind immediately calls him Steve, and notices that he is patiently waiting for his chicken order to be cut into his desired piece sizes by a face-masked man.
Besides me on my right, again at a safe distance, I notice a young face-mask-less girl, who my mind baptises Stefan, waiting for her beef meat to be cut into her desired small piece sizes by some handsome, young face-mask-less man.
What I discover next is jaw-dropping; after Steve pays using his credit card as is now the norm to avoid handling money physically, he heads off to the red-meat cutting counter.
Steve engages in a brief inaudible chat with Stefan, they put their meat into one pack, and it’s only then that I quickly look at their ears and it unfolds in my mind that they are father (completely face-masked) and daughter (face-mask-less).
My mind immediately senses all the elements of absurdism in this play, including satire, dark humor, incongruity, and the abasement of reason.
As my meat is being cut into my desired size, my mind tells me that I must educate this beautiful couple. And so I follow them outside the butchery and engage them in a discussion, which they surprisingly take very positively.
In the end, we amicably agree that everybody in the family is at risk of infection until, and unless everybody abides by the set rules. We agree that Steve, and even his wife and their other children, can still get infected once they get back home if Stefan contracted the virus from the rest of us in the butchery, just because she was face-mask-less.
It is difficult to explain the feeling of contentment that I got as I collected my meat and proudly soldiered back home to stay safe, knowing that I had played some part, however small, to educate one more family on how to keep safe from the virus.