Never mind that everyone will probably be terrible at parties when they return, never mind that we are all likely to emerge from this more scared than we were before it. Just let me get at the future, at the thing I cannot reach. People talk about the future now the way they once talked about the past: a place I can’t go to, where everything is better.
Those parties in my twenties were rarely as good as I remember them being; the 1970s wasn’t a smarter or sexier or more hopeful decade than this one. Most conversations pits are ugly, and most parties are awkward and boring. But everything that leaps out of reach is perfectible, because it is not ourselves. The conversation pit is everything I can’t access. It is every story we tell each other about “the after times,” about an idealized future that is unlikely ever to arrive. If only I could reach that place— that past, that future, that imagined security— everything would be fixed.