Lionel: “The beginning of the ‘stay at home’ period was a good time to re-read La Peste (The Plague) by my countryman Albert Camus. Written over 70 years ago and incredibly current. ‘The evil that is in the world comes out of ignorance.’ To the idiots who insist on attending and organizing parties during a pandemic: I too want this to be over. Only in this America would groups selfishly clinging to their fun and status quo be as much of a topic as the rightful determination of those marching for justice and equality. These times for sure have been different for me, but also easy… and difficult.
It’s been different. I loved how quiet downtown was early on. I loved the empty streets and the eerie vibe. Taking long drives or walks, with music or in complete silence, keeps me centered. I adapted my pastimes and accepted the pointlessness of making plans. I don’t have time for boredom, I have podcasts to listen to, series to binge, books to read, and one to write. My job normally requires me to fly out once or twice a week to a different corner of the country. For the last 6 months, I have tried to make the most of being grounded. If my schedule allows, I escape for an afternoon hike or a hammock night in the woods.
It’s been easy. This is a result of my privilege. I am fortunate to still have a good job, a roof over my head, and people who love me. Not being from ‘around here,’ I have grown accustomed to not relying on the proximity of friends and family. People who matter find a way to stay close. I have had awesome quality time with my daughter who came back from college mid-March, and my son who took social distancing very seriously—as a high-schooler it’s not easy—and had a lot of free time to spend with us.
It’s been difficult. My grandmother passed away in France earlier in the year, and I couldn’t go back. I worry about my aging parents. I miss my sister, niece, nephew, cousins, friends overseas. I miss some experiences here too. None of this is hardship though. Part of our world is burning, quite literally. I see the real hardship. Fellow humans fighting to put food on the table, or for their right to live. It’s been hard to know if I am doing enough to be compassionate, kind and helpful. Here is what I do know: I’ll continue to wear a mask, support local businesses and neighbors, stay distant and informed. And no matter what, come November; I am voting the incompetent clowns out.”

Lexington in the Time of COVID-19 is an artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.