Saturday, May 09, 2020

I flipped through the channels and landed on a tennis match. Was it a replay from years back? It didn’t seem to be. Anonymous players and no crowd. Not even empty stands. No stands. A plywood barrier where they would start. Mask-clad figures hovered just off court, watching vaguely, attending to some thing or other. So it was current, I thought. But then I looked again and wondered whether it was a video game. There was a vague stiffness in the movements, of the players but especially of the others, and of the leaves on the nearby trees and everything else. There was a suspicious emptiness in the grassy area adjacent to the court. No people or cars parked or infrastructure—why bother coding it? The gleam of the sun on the players’ shirts seemed too real—so unreal, really. The match proceeded a while and a more frightening thing became clear: it was real.