Now that things are beginning to return to normal, I think back to what I saw right at the beginning of the lockdown. My day job was considered to be a critical business (putting us on the level of a grocery store), so work continued.
The first workday after the lockdown, I drove over a mile and a half before I saw another car. There weren’t any people on the street and very few cars. It reminded me of an old B&W movie I’d seen on TV as a kid.
After all these years, I was able to track it down. Of course, there was a little bit of chagrin as the movie doesn’t seem to be exactly as I remember it. Or maybe I mixed up movies in my memory. I did what a lot of the old Sci-Fi movies!
The movie is Target: Earth and it begins with a woman wandering around a big city (I think it’s supposed to be Chicago) all alone. Water and electricity are not working, streets are empty, nobody is around. Sound familiar?
She eventually runs into a man who is just as clueless as to what is happening and they journey the city to try and find out what was going on. They inevitably run into another couple who, also not knowing what is going on, decided to visit all the nightclubs and drink up all the alcohol (this is the fifties).
Eventually, you run into scenes outside the city that tell you what happened. The movie is available for free from dailymotion. Be warned, however, that dailymotion is horrible for advertisements.
In addition, there was a sci-fi story that did sort-of predict what we take today as everyday…the wearing of masks. The story is called ‘Coming Attraction’ by Fritz Leiber. I was recently re-reading the Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume 1.
In the story, a British man in America experiences some ‘American’ culture the dominant feature of which is that all women are wearing masks. The premise being that the center of sexual attraction has progressed from the thighs to the breasts and finally to the face. So the face is covered up.
“Her voice came shudderingly from behind the sleek black satin mask. I fancied her teeth must be chattering. Eyes that were perhaps blue searched my face from behind the black gauze covering the eyeholes of the mask.”
At least we haven’t gone so far as to cover up the eyes. It’s nice to see eyes.