The Strength of Silk – Cindy Moon May Be Marvel’s Most Inspiring Hero

When he was fifteen-years-old, Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider at a science demonstration, gaining the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider.  It also granted him a precognitive sense that warns him of danger – his spider-sense.  The death of his uncle at the hands of a burglar he could’ve stopped taught Peter that with great power there must also come great responsibility.  Every day since he’s tried to live up to that creed, as the amazing Spider-Man.  BUT Peter wasn’t the only one bitten by the irradiated spider on that fateful day.  Before it died, it also bit Cindy Moon.  On a whim I decided to begin rereading her adventures as the superhero Silk last week.

Reading these comics just as, “New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in record numbers swept through more U.S. states…as most push ahead with reopening,”[1] cast these stories in an entirely new light.  I marveled at Silk’s strength and realized she may well be the most important superhero we have in this pandemic age.

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The fateful day when two heroes were born. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Cindy gained all the powers Peter did from the spider bite including a more finally attuned spider-sense (or “silk-sense” as she prefers to call it), greater speed, and the ability to spin organic webbing from her fingertips.  Her control of her webbing is so precise she can even spin clothing from her finely woven threads – a pretty fantastic power in its own right and crazy helpful when you’re a superhero who needs quick changes.  Shortly after her abilities began to manifest, Cindy and her family were visited by a wealthy man named Ezekiel Sims.  He began to tutor Cindy in the use of her abilities until it became clear Morlun would be able to sense her.  Morlun was an Inheritor – beings of immense power who hunt Spider Totems (anyone with Spider powers) across the multiverse.  Upon finding a Totem, they kill it and feed on its energy.  The Inheritors hunt Spiders because of an ancient prophecy saying only a Spider could prevent their ultimate control of the multiverse.  Morlun and his family sought control over destiny itself for every single reality – every being on every world in every universe – in existence.

Ezekiel explained to Cindy and her family what was coming for her.  He explained what would happen to all of creation if Morlun came to know she existed and could wipe out all Spiders.  With full consent and knowledge, to protect the entire multiverse from monsters like the Inheritors, Cindy agreed to be hidden away.  Ezekiel locked her in a bunker beneath one of his buildings designed to hide her presence from Morlun.  There Cindy would live with absolutely no contact with the outside world.  She had no word from her family, no news of life outside, and nothing but prerecorded messages from Ezekiel to continue her training and to remind her of the danger that would threaten all of existence if she were to leave.  She had food, shelter, and old VHS tapes of Spider-Man battles to watch so she could study his techniques and further familiarize herself with their spider powers.

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The first look readers got of Cindy Moon and her life. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

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Honestly, living like this seems like a living hell to me. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Eventually, as a result of the “Original Sin” crossover event (which, well that’s just a story for another post), Peter would have a vision in which he learned of both Cindy’s existence and her location.  As Spider-Man, he thwipped his way over to the bunker to free Cindy.  Far from thankful, she was furious with him for opening the door.

It had been ten years since Cindy Moon was locked inside her bunker.  TEN YEARS.  TEN YEARS.

When Spidey opened the door, Cindy attacked him in a rage.  She understood he had ruined her sacrifice, made the decade of her life she willingly gave up pointless.  Morlun could sense her now.  The war was coming and all of reality was at risk.  Eventually Spider-Man got Cindy to listen and he explained that he’d killed Morlun.  Relief washed over her as she realized she was finally – finally – free to return to the land of the living!  She spun herself a costume and Silk bounded into New York’s night sky for the first time.

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Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Silk and Spider-Man swung to her family’s apartment where she was heartbroken to learn they were no longer there.  Sometime in the last decade they’d moved.  They were gone.  She had no way of knowing where they were or how to get ahold of them.  As she mourned, she asked Spider-Man how long it had been since he killed Morlun.  She needed to know how much time she “wasted” in the bunker.  When Silk heard Spider-Man had killed Morlun twice she flew at him with an even greater rage than before.  Her worst fears were true.  If Morlun had survived once he could easily have survived again.  She had given up a decade of her life.  She had lost her family.  She had lost everything she ever knew – for nothing.  Spider-Man had thrown it all away.  The war was coming.  All life across the entire multiverse was in terrible danger.  Everyone was at risk.

Ten years.  TEN YEARS.  Cindy Moon lived in complete isolation for TEN YEARS.

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I understand and empathize with her anger. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

I can’t even imagine that.  As I write this, I’m at the end of my own 90th day in quarantine, admittedly with increasingly relaxed restrictions.  My community is in “Yellow Phase” now, meaning any work that can be done from home must still be done there but other businesses are reopening with various restrictions.  Bars and restaurants are still predominately takeout only (although, with summer weather, more and more are building outdoor dining areas to offer socially distant dining options), all salons are still closed, and not all stores are open (for example, stores with outside entrances are open at the mall but the stores inside aren’t, as they are yet unsure how best to regulate the people inside the mall).

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I would’ve wanted to beat the $#!T out of Spidey for his recklessness, too. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

All around the country – and very much in my own community as many of the regions around us have been moved to Green Phase while we’re still in Yellow – people are just over this.  In an article published on May 1st, NPR used mobile phone location data provided by a company called SafeGraph to examine roughly 18 million phones across the U.S. to see what percentage stayed “home” every day.[2]  The data showed we, as a country, were largely over quarantine after a month.

About 50% of those mobile phones that SafeGraph had data on stayed home on April 12, which was Easter — the highest point in the data. That number hasn’t since come anywhere close, showing a steady decline with the most recent numbers showing that less than 40% stayed home on April 27.

The trend, SafeGraph says, is consistent across the entire country, though the degree to which movement is increasing is different. Some counties showed extreme drop-offs in social distancing, while some showed more mild curves.

“Regardless of what the orders say or the governors say, we’re seeing the whole country softening up,” says Nick Singh, a marketing lead at SafeGraph.[3]

I picked this source to cite specifically because it’s from a month and a half ago.  We’ve been wrestling with “social distancing fatigue”[4] for some time already.  The pandemic wasn’t over on May 1st.  It isn’t over now, either.  We don’t have a vaccine for the coronavirus yet.  But, it would seem, our cultural attention span for this is past.  We’re done.  We’re over it.  We want to move on with our lives.  However, just because we’re over it doesn’t make the virus any less of a threat.  In fact, “the U.S. has just reached a tragic milestone in the pandemic…The COVID-19 death rate in the U.S. has now passed 340 per million residents, just over 100 times the rate in China.”[5]

I don’t point this out to judge.  I mean, I do judge people who refuse to wear their masks in stores or wear it pulled down below their nose or their nose and mouth.  And I do judge those who won’t socially distance in public from people they don’t know.  And I do judge those who scream about their “rights” being “denied” when they have no idea what they’re talking about and/or claim this is all made up.  I sure as hell judge all those people because, as they or a loved one of theirs hasn’t been affected, they can’t see and refuse to honor their responsibility to everyone around them.  They are making it worse for everyone and I do judge and resent them for it (even if I shouldn’t).

But irrationality and dangerous selfishness aside, I don’t judge the desire for this to be over.  This is hard.  Quarantine has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and that’s what I kept thinking about as I was reading Silk’s story again.  She was completely cutoff from everyone and everything for TEN YEARSTEN YEARS.  She willingly carried that burden.  She made that sacrifice.  And we, as a country, couldn’t make it past a month.  But, aside from the behaviors I mentioned above, I can’t judge that struggle.

Making it more personal and less judgy about the country as a whole, as I read I kept asking myself – Could I have made Cindy Moon’s sacrifice?  Am I that strong?  Unequivocally the answer is NO.

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THIS is real strength – this is something no amount of “super powers” could ever create.  This comes from within.  I am in awe of Cindy. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

I’m an extrovert by nature and my relationships – the people I surround myself with in my life, those I love, my natural supports to use the term I’ve learned in therapy – are everything.  John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself.”  Uh, hell yes John; I’m with you.  Sure, I wildly kicked up my phone calls and FaceTime and Zoom chats when lockdown descended.  But there’s nothing like being face to face with another human being.  Living alone, that lack of in-person connection coupled with the absolutely unknowable answer to how long life would be like this, was all but unbearable at times.

It was on Quarantine Day 20 when I broke.  It was a Sunday night and I had been reading articles about how, at that time, the best case scenario was another three months until this was all solved.  I felt starkly alone.  I tried to meditate – a mixture of the mindfulness meditation I’ve practiced since I first studied Buddhism in college and the technique of finding, following, exploring, and understanding my emotions I’ve been learning in therapy.  Touching those emotions, touching that sense of loneliness, opened the floodgates.  I began sobbing.  For over forty-five minutes straight I wept violent, choking sobs that shook my entire body.  Tears streamed down my face as I cried, continually repeating out loud, “I can’t do this.  I can’t.  I can’t.  I can’t.”  It had only been twenty days.  How was I to do at least ninety more?  I wanted this to be over.  I wanted life to go back to normal.  I wanted to be with people again.  I couldn’t live like this.  I kept repeating all of this out loud again and again as I sobbed.  I felt so very, very alone.

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I never, ever could have handled this.  I’m not that strong.  Cindy has a strength I can’t even begin to imagine. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

When we discussed this at our session that week, my therapist explained the reason the feelings were so intense was because it wasn’t just sadness or loneliness I was feeling.  It was grief.  I was mourning all that I had lost – all the relationships I couldn’t fully touch, the places I couldn’t go, my normal life and routine.  She went on to explain, as we were all adjusting to quarantine, we were living a sort of death within life.  We were still alive, yes, but so much of our lives were closed to us.  We were trapped here, all of us, isolated with no way back to our regular lives.  And, while it’s beginning to change now, at that time none of us had an emotional framework for dealing with something like this.  Most recently in therapy we’ve discussed how this experience is leaving us all “touch-starved.”  As human beings we’re not made to live in isolation and we’re not made to live without physical, compassionate contact with others.  It’s not healthy to live so disconnected.  But, rudely, the coronavirus doesn’t seem to care.

As I read, I thought of how horrible those early days of quarantine were.  How could Cindy have survived that??  For all she knew she would spend the rest of her life alone in that bunker.  I couldn’t make it twenty days!  And I was breaking/”cheating” with the lockdown rules early on, too.  I’ve never been reckless, but I’ve not followed them strictly.  On Day 14, Matthew stopped by to visit.  With my comic shop closed, he came baring a mixed bag of comics from Ollie’s.  While we stayed six feet apart, we talked for over an hour.  Then the second Saturday of quarantine, Hannah and I started meeting for our weekly walks.  It was Hannah’s idea and we discussed our comfort with it at length, deciding seeing each other was worth the relatively small risk.  As quarantine has went on my walking partners have grown.  I’ve taken some walks with Lauren.  I’ve walked a lot with Kalie.  I’ve done a few walks with Mom and David and Aunt Judy and my cousin Melanie, too.  Recently we’ve even tentatively returned to dinner at Grandma’s on Friday nights.  But Hannah and I have been doing this since almost the very beginning.  And I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I’m not sure I’d’ve survived without her.

Silk 29 (2)

Cindy in the moment she realizes she can leave her bunker. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

We talked about this in my therapy session last week, too.  Only recently have I realized just how essential our walks together have been for my mental, emotional, and spiritual health – especially in the beginning when lockdown was being treated far more seriously.  I honestly think seeing Hannah every week helped keep me sane, helped keep me afloat when I was ready to drown.  Because I always knew, no matter how dark it got, I was never more than seven days away from seeing another human being, from talking face to face with someone I loved, from being with family.

Cindy Moon had none of that.  She was completely and utterly alone for ten years.  TEN YEARS!!!!  I know it seems I keep sticking on that point but it staggers my mind.  Think, for a moment, of your own experience of quarantine.  Now imagine ten years of total, unbroken self-isolation.  Cindy shouldered an unbearable burden to protect everyone.  It may just be the context in which I’ve read these comics but I’ve been wracking my mind trying to think of another superhero who’s made a more difficult sacrifice.  I can’t.  So many characters have lost so many things in so many ways but Silk lost everyone and everything in her life.  To protect the lives of everyone across the multiverse, her life became one bunker without even so much as a window to the outside world.  She was completely alone.

Then, when Spider-Man let her out, she didn’t rage for long.  She didn’t lose herself to grief and anger, which is what I probably would’ve done.  No, she went out into the world not just to live and to begin rebuilding her life but to continually refine her skill with her spider powers.  Silk immediately began protecting New York and then, when the Inheritors came, she stood alongside a multiversal army of Spiders to fight them.  For the safety of everyone, Cindy Moon gave up ten years of her life to live in absolute self-isolation.  Then, once she was back out in the world, she continued to live responsibly, doing literally everything within her power to protect the lives of everyone around her every single day.

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Silk saves Spider-Man from a super amped-up version of Electro.  She’s such a badass. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Can there be a better model, a more timely hero for us to look to right now than Silk?  Again, unequivocally I’d say the answer is “no.”  When Cindy Moon was created by Dan Slott (writer) and Humberto Ramos (artist) in 2014, they were adding a brilliant new character and an exciting new dimension to the Spider-Man story.  But they couldn’t have known how important Silk would become six years later.  Now, in 2020, she’s the character who perhaps most clearly speaks to our time.  Through her example, Silk both inspires us and shows us how to do what seems impossible in the name of protecting everyone.

No matter how tired of all this we may be, we need to continue to take this thing seriously.  COVID-19 isn’t going away.  People are still getting sick, still dying.  And we still have a responsibility in all this.  We need to continue to self-isolate as much as we can, even though we don’t want to.  When we go out, we must always be as responsible as we can be when we do it.  We wear our masks.  We socially distance.  People’s lives are at stake.  I know it’s exhausting and sometimes it feels like we’re hanging on by a thread.  But threads can be surprisingly strong – and we’re not alone.  None of us are facing the burden Cindy Moon did.  As isolated and frustrated as we may feel, we’re still in this together.  We have to remember that as we continue to struggle through the days ahead.

Sometimes a thread’s all we need.  Sometimes a thread can be as strong as Silk.

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Yes you do, Silk.  We must all find the courage, humility, compassion, and strength to follow your lead.  When it comes to saving the day, no one’s more suited than Silk. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

 

____________________________________________

[1] Lisa Shumaker, “Record spikes in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations sweep parts of U.S.,” Reuters.  Published June 14, 2020.  Accessed June 14, 2020.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/record-spikes-in-new-coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-sweep-parts-of-u-s-idUSKBN23L0JB

[2] Sean McMinn, “Mobile Phone Data Show More Americans Leaving Their Homes, Despite Orders,” NPR.  Published May 1, 2020.  Accessed June 14, 2020.  https://www.npr.org/2020/05/01/849161820/mobile-phone-data-show-more-americans-are-leaving-their-homes-despite-orders

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Gavin Yamey and Dean T. Jamison, “U.S. Response to COVID-19 is Worse than China’s.  100 Times Worse,” Time.  Published June 10, 2020.  Accessed June 14, 2020.  https://time.com/5850680/u-s-response-covid-19-worse-than-chinas/

10 thoughts on “The Strength of Silk – Cindy Moon May Be Marvel’s Most Inspiring Hero

  1. Wow! I’m not sure anyone besides a fictional character would come out of a ten year stint in a bunker mentally unscathed! She can’t even have new books or a garden or phone calls with friends! I definitely could not do it. I did not know anything about this character before, though, and I also love the theme of sacrifice and how much personal strength that has to have taken. At some point, I’d be wondering what the purpose of my life was, which would be really depressing. Yeah, she’s protecting the whole WORLD by sitting in her bunker, but I think most people dream of “helping people” by being a teacher or writing great art or something, not self-isolating. (Which does make this very timely for the pandemic!)

    I hadn’t seen that data about people kind of giving up on staying at home a bit after Easter, but it corresponds somewhat with my own observations. I live on a fairly busy street, and traffic has been steadily picking up. For a long time I wondering why so many cars were on the road when there was literally nowhere to go! (But then my neighbors have been having small yard parties this whole time, so that’s where people were going, I guess?)

    Either way, I’ve been thinking for a while that seeing a friend or two, especially socially distanced, was probably the way to go, so I wouldn’t feel bad about that at all! I do think we’ve been getting kind of confused guidance from health officials…and politicians…(both because they’re being flaky and because they genuinely didn’t know things about the virus since it was new), but the idea that people have to live alone and see literally no one for like two years (estimated timelines for vaccines people kept reporting on, thus making everyone’s despair at isolating worse) was not a great one. A lot of people have been judgmental on social media about how they have been alone for three months and get their groceries delivered and literally have not stepped out of their front door and everyone who does differently is wrong! But, personally, I think it’s hard to come into contact with literally NO ONE. People get groceries. They get mail. So if someone who lives alone and only goes to the store once a week wants to meet up with their sister who also lives alone and also only goes out to the store once a week, I say let them because the risk seems very low, and it IS better for mental health.

    I’ve seen some guys jogging on opposite sides of the street “together,” which I thought looked fun.

    But, then, yes. I think a lot of people have kind of given up. My area had many deaths, so people are careful in the stores, wear masks, stay away from you on the street, etc., but they seem to be having parties and hanging out with people they actually know at this point. Lots of groups of 10 or so tweens and teens roaming the streets, too.

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    1. While there was no place to fit it organically in this post, she doesn’t come out of her ten years in the bunker mentally unscathed. Once Silk gets her own solo series, one of the things they begin to explore is how she has a pretty serious anxiety disorder, trouble forming relationships, trouble trusting, and Reed Richards (of the Fantastic Four) gives her the number of a therapist to see so she can start to look after her own mental health. Then Cindy wrestles with whether or not to call, if she really needs help at all, if she can just do it on her own…all of that. I love, love, love that they address this with her character!

      I’m with you on the self-important harassment/judgment on social media not helping anything. If you should choose to live in complete isolation – if you can handle that? – then go you. But if you can’t, it’s not something to fault yourself for. It’s just something to be wise/careful/cautious about. Thank you for validating that. For me, I just realized I literally couldn’t go until this was over seeing NO ONE other than the person who run me out at the grocery store. I just couldn’t. So I had to figure out how to do it in a way that worked for me and was as safe/controlled as possible.

      As I mention in the post above, when Hannah and I started walking together, we discussed openly and at length what we were comfortable with. We weighed the pros and cons and we settled on what worked. We walk side by side, like normal. We don’t wear masks around each other. We eventually decided we’re comfortable hugging each other. We’re never six feet apart even if the “official” guidelines say, unless you’re cohabitating, you should stay six feet apart. We don’t and we’re fine with that. I don’t feel guilty or terrible or like I’m destroying the country when I do that. But I know Hannah. She knows me. We’re comfortable with each other and what we do AND we can openly communicate all that with each other and agree to all that. The same’s true with the other people I walk with.

      Like you say, it is better for my mental health. To be alone – to be completely alone – isn’t healthy for anyone, despite what some social media guilt-inducers may claim. We have to care for our physical health in relationship to the coronavirus but we also have to care for our mental health as we care for our physical health. To do that, we all have to find our own borders and boundaries as to what we need. As long as we’re always responsible in public, we need to find our own path to peace in our private lives.

      The numbers in my community are pretty good, by and large. But as far as parties go, in my town there are these asinine DJs throwing “basement parties” in people’s houses where a bunch of teens and twenty-somethings show up to dance and drink. It’s no surprise our case numbers are rising in the under-thirty crowd then. It’s so damn frustrating and I know they are trying to do everything they can to shut those down. I just want to scream, “You’re making this worse for everyone! What’s wrong with you?!”

      I’ve seen more casual yard parties popping up, too, as I walk. But while some seem to have a fair amount of people there, at least those are outside. I also just saw a family of eight or ten people who went to Sonic, went through the drive-thru for their ice cream, and then set up a wide circle of lawn chairs in the parking lot so they could all eat together while socially distancing! It was cute and inventive :).

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      1. Ah, ok, that sounds really interesting! I really want to read this now, but you also JUST made me read two other books, so you’re going to have to stop adding to my TBR pile here! But I can’t get it from the library anyway because they are now doing curbside pick-up, but you can only get items that are housed in this specific building, and their copies of Silk are apparently in other towns. Boo.

        I definitely think the complete self-isolation thing sounded more doable when people still thought it was “only going to be a few weeks” or whatever. Staying alone in your house through at least early 2021? People aren’t going to last, even with the best efforts. I also think there is some privilege where people are still declaring they’re going to stay in their home and not leave until a vaccine is available, no matter what the government says. If they don’t have to go to work in person and if they can homeschool their kids, great, but if my employer tells me I can no longer work remotely 100% of the time, then off to the office I go! (On public transportation, so I really hope it doesn’t come to that because I am convinced THAT is where I will ultimately get sick.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are absolutely right that there’s privilege involved in saying you’re not leaving your house no matter what until there’s a vaccine! And they are wrapping their privilege in sanctimonious self-righteousness so they can judge others for actions they have no right judging. And what does that do to help? We are in this together and I don’t see how being smug and judgy helps anyone.

        And I guess I’m sorry for turning you towards novels/characters/comics/etc. that make your life richer and give us more fun stuff to banter about? But, to be fair, I’m now ordering and wading into some medieval literature with (to paraphrase your point loosely) a few serious plot holes because of your post so I think we’re at least kinda even.

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  2. I never knew anything about Silk, so this was a great post! I could certainly never last for 10 years without ANY kind of human interaction. Can’t she get like…a video call now and then? Or maybe some new books delivered at least? I agree Cindy is remarkable and, surprisingly, the perfect hero for our times! The creators could never have expected that we would one day ALL be asked to quarantine ourselves to save lives. I think the effort made by Cindy is even more heroic because it doesn’t FEEL heroic. There’s nothing glamorous or exciting about staying indoors all day and not interacting with other people. She doesn’t get any credit for it, either. She’s just bored and alone.

    When the pandemic first started, I saw some articles hoping that we would come together as a country and prove ourselves basically the next greatest generation. I admit I never believed that would happen. I couldn’t even get toilet paper at the store–no one was banding together to help others. (I actually was running out of toilet paper and needed it, while others were sitting on a garage full of it.) And it just seemed so impossible. When you have people going off the war, it’s easier to create this narrative where they are sacrificing it all as heroes and so get the country to stand behind them. You have an enemy out there whom you can see and fight and feel good about fighting. With a pandemic, there is no clear “enemy” to band together against. And, yes, as a result, I know people who are convinced the virus “isn’t that bad” or is a “hoax” that will “disappear after the election.”

    The problem is, so many deaths have happened in nursing homes or prisons–places the general public doesn’t see. It seems hard to imagine people in the past claiming the plague wasn’t real because you’d see the bodies being taken away. But we have removed ourselves from death. But perhaps the worst thing is hearing the people who say, “We don’t need to worry about the virus because it’s mostly affecting nursing homes.” The virus isn’t affecting them and their lives, so, by their logic, we shouldn’t care about the other people who are being affected. It’s hard to know how to respond to that without getting angry.

    And it does seem a little unfair, doesn’t it? I had to go to the car repair shop the other day. Three employees were in the room not wearing masks. Another customer came in not wearing a mask. I was wearing a mask. So, by my sacrifice, I was protecting the other four people in the room from my germs. But not one of them thought it was worthwhile for them to protect me from theirs. It’s kind of frustrating to feel like you’ve been sacrificing by socially distancing and not going anywhere for months and doing all the things you’re supposed to, and then realize other people seem to be throwing your sacrifice away. So I feel like I can relate to a little bit of Cindy’s anger.

    That being said, I agree it’s not realistic to expect people to stay inside their homes with no interaction for months or years. Humans aren’t made to be alone like that. And I think sometimes the people who at least have families to go home to can fail to realize how extra hard this quarantine can be for people who live completely alone. I watched a video about a doctor explaining some best practices for returning to work, and his advice, I think was sound. He basically said we can be cautious without being paranoid. Germs are always all around us. If we just do the best practices and try to avoid high risk activities, we should be okay. We don’t actually need to bunker ourselves down like some people online have been doing.

    So, for me, I think it’s okay to do stuff like go outside and walk with another person. I think, if it’s the same person you’re seeing all the time, that’s probably even better. You need a support buddy, after all. I met with someone for the first time since March the other day because he said he was living alone and basically had lost the will to live. We had dinner outside, seated six feet apart. I think that’s fine. At least, it’s better than doing something like going to eat indoors at a restaurant with a bunch of people we don’t know.

    I’d like to think that, moving forward, we can get back to some small sense of normalcy while still being safe. But I am worried about all those people who never seemed to accept the quarantine at all, or who gave up on it months ago. I admit I feel better meeting with people who also stay home most of the time, and not the people who have been routinely going to house parties for weeks while they weren’t working.

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    1. I really like how you framed her heroism as being more heroic because it doesn’t feel that way. That’s so true. Spider-Man (for example) spent those ten years swinging around the city, fighting all kinds of villains and monsters and was seen and (at least often) praised for it. But Cindy Moon was just alone, unknown by everyone save the family she left behind (and Ezekiel of course).

      I thought about your point with the new books as I read these stories, too! The way the scenes are drawn, you can see she has shelves of lots of books. But how many times could you reread them before they started to feel old? And how long until you started to resent some of those stories or videos? Incidentally, one of the cute subplots with Silk is how outdated her references are. She’s always talking about ‘Clueless’ or ‘Seinfeld’ because that’s what she had on VHS in her bunker XD.

      “But we have removed ourselves from death” – wow. Okay, first, that is a GREAT line. It rings, you know? And you’re absolutely right! We have removed ourselves from death with dire consequences. We don’t see it and so many of us have lost any ability or willingness to see outside our immediate circle so we can’t imagine why we should care about something if it isn’t affecting us. Or, if it isn’t affecting us, it can’t be real. How do you even have conversations with people holding that sort of mindset? It’s maddening in regular life but all the more so when their actions have the potential for such harm during a pandemic.

      As to your point about those who brush off the deaths of those in nursing homes…I don’t know that I can respond without getting angry. And I wrestle with that a lot. I know the Dalai Lama advises us the root of compassion is understanding if we lived the exact same life, day in and day out, as someone else we’d act just as they do, too. In seeing that, we can let go of our anger. I know Jesus encourages us to love our enemies. But the Hebrew prophets had some fire to their words! There was a real sense of righteous anger! And we can be angry with those we love, too. So maybe, in situations like this, there is a place for anger? Or maybe I’m just justifying my own unwillingness to let go of my anger. I don’t know.

      Okay so OH MY GOSH with the car repair shop! I was just at Target the other day and the mother and her two young daughters in line in front of me all had their masks pulled down below their noses and mouths. I wanted to go up, introduce myself, explain to her the Social Contract Theory, and then say, “If you can’t care about anyone else outside of your own personal bubble maybe you can model better behavior for YOUR OWN CHILDREN. Hmm? Please?” However, I stayed six feet back and only made sassy comments in my head.

      On the support buddy/going out to walk or have dinner with another person note, I’ve found people’s reactions to my doing that through quarantine interesting. There are some who I can see sort of swallow the judgmental thing they want to say (“You aren’t cohabitating with them! You shouldn’t be together!) but the majority appreciate the “validation.” I’ve talked with several family, friends, and acquaintances who’ve seemed relieved to “confess” their walking with a friend and not staying six feet apart to me once they know I won’t judge them as I’ve done the same. Admittedly that’s lessened as more and more people have just given up on quarantine. But in those early weeks, my sharing the fact that I’d walk with Hannah was such a catharsis for others who were doing the same and felt “guilty” about it.

      My therapist was just talking to me about the “small sense of normalcy while still being safe thing” the other week! What you (and the doctor you referenced) said was pretty much exactly what she said, too. She said now that we know this isn’t going to be finished anytime soon, we need to be able to find whatever “normal” looks like – drop those paranoid, panicky things but maintain our caution and find normal life in the middle. I mean, the medical community have theories but no real idea how long this thing will last and we can’t live every moment of every day in isolation and fear. We’ll crumble. So we have to figure out how to find a sense of “normal” while still being safe.

      I even think, as more and more of the country opens up again, your point about staying home most of the time will continue to be so, so important. I think people forget “open” isn’t the same as “cured/vaccinated/worry free.” While I may go buy a book from my local independent bookstore of Barnes and Noble as opposed to ordering online from B&N, I’m not going to spend the afternoon just strolling around the mall or anything.

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      1. It kind of seems like Cindy Moon is a little like Rapunzel in Tangled. She has all this free time to devote to hobbies and maybe get really skilled at some things! I just would feel better if someone would drop off more craft supplies or something, sometimes! I guess the fear was someone would wonder why Ezekiel was travelling to a random location with a box of books and some paint, but, you know, just once? Maybe? But it sounds like Cindy can maybe relate a little to Steve Rogers with her outdated references!

        The Dalai Lama has some wise advice there! I think it is a helpful mindset to have. Though, part of me wants to suggest that maybe one’s daily life would be improved by finding credible news sources instead of watching and sharing conspiracy videos. :/

        And, yes! What is with the people wearing masks under their noses? Is that supposed to be some clever way to gain admittance to the store because you are technically “wearing a mask?” I feel so sorry for the store employees who have to experience that. And who are probably in many cases too afraid to try to enforce store policy. Wearing a mask seems like such a little thing to do. I guess it’s hard for me to fathom why a person would want to rebel against that and threaten everyone’s safety.

        Plus! There are so many great reasons to wear a mask! Accessorize! (When will you get this chance again?) Forego makeup! No more men on the street trying to make you smile! I actually am really loving the mask situation. I don’t know why others don’t see the potential here.

        Yeah, I’ve been in contact with one person who doesn’t live with me and I’ve received plenty of judgment. In my mind, however, both of us are being cautious and not going out/seeing a bunch of other people. We can’t survive without any form of human contact. Preserving mental health during this time is also a priority.

        I try to stay home as much as possible, but, if this situation is going to last into next year, I do think we need to start considering how we are going to make it through this long-term. Many people I know are still living like they are hoping we will go back to how things were within a month or so, but I think it’s ultimately detrimental not to accept the situation you are actually in. I think it makes sense to figure out the things we CAN actually do and be safe, rather than focusing on what we can’t do and just hoping everything will go away.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, yes, yes! Amen! Yes to just ALL of that :). I couldn’t agree more.

        On the mask note, Gov. Wolf just signed a new order about masks and a bunch of Pennsylvanians were grumbling about having to wear a mask “everywhere” and “all the time” now. So I read the actual order…and it was just stating what I’ve been doing since March, what we’ve all been asked to do since March, what sane and logical and compassionate people have been doing since March. Nothing about my day-to-day life will change with this order. And I was so frustrated! This was nothing new but the fact that a) Wolf had to issue this and b) so many people were so angry shows how many people in my state have been ignoring this. It’s so annoying.

        On the store note, a cousin of mine works at one of local grocery stores (it’s a chain store but it’s in my town, hence “local”) and she told me, while the signs are clearly posted that no one is allowed in/service without a mask, they have been told by management they can’t comment on or address anyone not wearing a mask and they have to just serve them anyway. Who is this helping?? Why even have the policies if people aren’t going to be made to follow them?? Like you said, I feel bad for the employees and for everyone else in the store. It’s maddening.

        Like you said, I can’t understand why anyone would want to rebel against this. I literally can’t get my mind there. But, as you mention, I’m sure a steady diet of conspiracy articles and videos can help. For all it’s gifts, that is certainly one problem of the internet age. With SO MUCH out there, anyone can find *someone* who agrees with them. In that, they feel their opinion is validated and they can reject anything to the contrary as being “propaganda” or “indoctrination.” Checking sources and credentials and verifying things has become outmoded in our public sphere very quickly (and/or cast as some sort of pretentious elitism for some reason) with very dangerous and damaging consequences.

        OH, to circle back around to the start, I wonder if there has ever been a story with just Silk and Captain America!! I am going to look into this now. You’re right! That would be the perfect team-up! He’d make a helpful mentor for her, too.

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      3. I looked at the PA order and was confused because I don’t see how it’s much different from what people should have been doing all along. If you are somewhere and you can’t socially distance, you wear a mask. Were people really going indoors and thinking, “Aha! This place full of people is not a ‘business’ and therefore I don’t have to wear a mask?” That seems strange to me!

        However, with that being said, I’ve noticed that when I go past the churches in my area, no one seems to be wearing a mask. They are supposed to, but I don’t know, maybe they figure it’s not being enforced so they don’t care? It just seems odd to me because that seems more dangerous than the store. With the store, you go in and out and you don’t really linger near people. In church, you are sitting there for maybe an hour with people. So it would seem to me that your risk of infection would be higher there….

        I don’t blame them for not enforcing the mask order in stores. I would envision some poor employee politely pointing out the policy and possibly being yelled at or spat upon. Not worth it.

        Ah, yes. Family members keep sending me conspiracy videos they are finding online. I guess so I can be converted to “the truth.” At first I tried to explain science, but at this point I kind of just go, “Hm, interesting.” Tensions were really running high and it just didn’t seem worth it anymore.

        Ah! I would love to see a Silk/Captain America team up!

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  3. Hi Michael,

    I am with you. I am am extravert ( endovert actually) so being without seeing people was like dying a little each day. I am glad there were three of us, but we all had our own struggles.I am glad you are making those steps to reconnect.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    Liked by 1 person

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