News being fed to my screen constantly. Keeping track has never been this easy, or immediate, seriously. Still, I sense a great, big, deep, dark breach that the pixels and the connection speed don't fill. I think of my family, worry. I feel this emptiness even as I devour reports. Is it 20? 60? 81 deaths? I call. My dad seems calm even though two people have died already in the hospital he works at. My mom went to get her hair done on Friday since school was canceled. (She's a teacher. Google says 6 million + kids will be left without school till May 6. MAY 6). I can't believe it. She went out to get bangs or something. "Everyone down here seems pretty calm. We really don't know anything. It's scary, but what can you do?" Feeling of emptiness gets worse. My sister had her evening classes canceled but is still working her regular day shift. No school, no museums, no soccer matches, no concerts, no clubbing, no bars and restaurants, no Sunday mass. In Mexico City. No mass, no restaurants, no soccer; no Sunday. Troops being recalled from Narco War to help deal with public health crisis. "Situation under control." Yeah, right. Mayor goes on news to announce "no further flu-related deaths confirmed in the last..." What? Hour? Two? Even absolute connectedness can't break our good 'ole habit of media distortion, political manipulation and control. The mayor is announcing the news like it was one of the local government's achievements: X new streets paved! X school lunches delivered! No pig flu deaths today! (Church bells ringing here in Barcelona, we woke up to a surprise thunder storm this morning after killer sunshine over the weekend.) I think of my friends, of everyone I know. I check my emails and my RSS. Tons of posts on the subject of Mexico epidemic are already popping up. How do they do it? I can hardly think of what to say. Even super-smart, sensitive, engaged, posting-addicted bloggers that are THERE, LIVING IT are having a hard time coming to terms with the situation. (I'm thinking of you too.) Some of these tangentially-related posts just make me want to slap my f*cking laptop screen, make me feel like this whole global digital proximity is a big f*cking lie. Turning what is happening into instant easy-bake blogging. The epidemic as a source of future-dystopian architectural fantasy? Anti-flu furniture at the Fiera? Urban crisis as the ultimate on-line self-publicity stunt generator? Have we lost tact? Is this hunger for being on the crest of everything every single f*cking second making empty-headed infojunkies of us all? I thought TV was bad. Maybe this is worse. Look at me, I'm doing it too. Even as I complain, I'm doing it. (I was listening to M.I.A's "Bird Flu" a few weeks ago on my way to work. I thought it would be a wicked song for the opening hit-and-run sequence in some gritty post-pandemic after-apocalypse Danny Boyle action movie. A chase, of course. For whatever reason. The main man running away from something through narrow, Third-Worldish backstreets or metro station corridors. Wherever: Beijing, Bangkok Toronto, Mumbai, Mexico City.) I think of riding the metro in Mexico City. I think of the faces of people. I feel feverish. British Airways crew member tested for swine flu after visiting Mexico. School kids quarantined (was it quarantined or possibly quarantined? How many was it? 72?) in NY (or did I read New Zealand? I can't remember). 11 cases confirmed in U.S. WHO sets up camp in Mexico to follow the event. Dad has friend working at the CDC, says we can only wait or something like that. Wait. Read. Incoming. Emptiness.