East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Are you dead?

Yesterday was a long day – I had to go into town to see the people that do my taxes, and as I was at it, I dropped by the local bookstore, where my friend Roberto had my copy of Fritz Leiber’s massive collection Sword & Sorcery waiting for me. Then I did some shopping (it being market day and all that), and then had lunch with my friends, enjoying the company.

When I got home, I found a request for an urgent article from a magazine I work with – I am taking a break from writing it as I am writing this – and then I got a weird personal message through Facebook, from a dear friend that lives in the middle of the Atlantic (on an island, of course – I have no contacts in Atlantis).
The message was more or less..

My mother saw you died, it’s in the newspapers, and she called me… Are you fine?

“Davide Mana” is not a common name, but is not as unique as I’d love to think – there was another Davide Mana, living here in Piedmont, a man of forty-six, a professional man very active in his community. He died early this week, and the local news covered the fact.
And a few people saw the name, and the area, and got worried.
My friend’s MP was the first of a series.
But no, it’s OK – I’m a little tired and a bit worn around the edges, but I’m fine.

But my thoughts go to the family of that man I never met, but shared a name with. A father of four, much loved in his community, and from what I could read in the news, a good man. And I’m very sad.

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One of the lucky ones

In three weeks flat I will be 53 years old. And for the first time in… well, in almost 53 years, in the last few weeks I really, really felt old. Systems needing a good check, structural tear and wear, and a general sensation of the end of the line approaching.
I guess it happens, from time to time.

And this morning I found, via the IQ Facebook page, a ling to an interesting web gadget called Life Stats: you dial in your date of birth, and they give you a short animated presentation about how much the world has changed since you first came here.

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Type faster

One of the things we normally do not pause to consider is that, in most post-apocalyptic fiction – be it an after-the-bomb movie or a zombie plague comic or a novel about a killer virus leading to the collapse of Western civilization – we are, most likely, dead.
The thought struck me a long time ago, watching a movie in which, after some unnamed catastrophe, the main characters walked over a field of sun-bleached skeletons, the victims of that ancient whatever. And I thought, that’s probably me, the one whose skull’s just been crushed under the boot of the hero.

A few hours ago the news came – through Facebook, of all things – that the first COVID-19 case has been reported here in the village where I live.

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