Simon Critchley on the Sheer Delight of Questioning Everything
When the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, and with it, the lockdowns of March 2020, I sat at home in Brooklyn Heights, alone, and watched as friends swiftly decamped to homes upstate, in the Hamptons and Connecticut, and beyond. One even moved to Miami. I have family in Colorado, and considered driving cross-country to be with them, but a part of me felt it was important, for whatever reason, to just stay put—not to flee the city, but to embrace it in one of its more precarious moments. For weeks, I listened to nonstop sirens wailing over the Brooklyn Bridge, along Cadman Plaza, and up and down the B.Q.E., and in them, I heard death. The banging of pots and pans at 7 p.m. each day to honor healthcare workers—heartwarming as the gesture was—felt to me more like a signal, a way for neighbors to say, “I’m still here. I’m still alive.” At times, the in-between silences felt almost deafening. There was so much grief and sadness in the stillness.