The Day My Elderly Neighbour Turned into a Lockdown Monster

By John C.A. Manley

In last week’s episode of Just Right, host Bob Metz said: “People do indeed wake up one day and become ‘monsters’ — a phenomenon we all got to witness in spades during the recent political pandemic operating under the cover of COVID.”

I can bear witness to this phenomenon. In the fall of 2020, there came a knock on my apartment door (a rare occurrence that year). Opening the door, I found my elderly neighbour from down the hall wearing two or three face masks. She immediately launched into a ten-minute tirade berating me, my wife and my son for not observing lockdown rules and not wearing any face diapers.

I was glad she was wearing so many masks as it helped keep her hollering down.

Standing there, I let her have her say (while trying to stop my son from laughing). When she finally ran out of self-righteous steam, she spun around and stormed off.

I called after her, “Any chance we could have a civilized conversation?”

She yelled back, “I’ve already listened to Hitler!”

You sure have, I thought.

Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story

She disappeared into her apartment, slamming the door behind her and probably duct-taping its frame.

Rushing back into my writing studio, I began madly typing notes. Nothing bad ever happens to a writer. Many of her monstrous accusations were used as dialogue in Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story (which I was in the midst of writing).

“Another remarkable thing is now happening,” continued Bob Metz on last week’s Just Right. “Most people are actually forgetting just how monstrously many of them acted during the pandemic — a form of mass amnesia…”

True. The same neighbour who had called me Hitler 2.0 for unobstructed breathing in public never apologized for her monstrous (and somewhat amusing) behaviour.

Such “lockdown amnesia” was the theme of last week’s Just Right.

“So we’re heading down the memory hole today,” said Bob Metz. “Not to depress or shock you [by] reviewing the unbelievable and dystopian events that enveloped us, but to resist the amnesia industry which is part of the propaganda war our governments are waging against us.”

You can listen to episode 861 of Just Right, “Lockdown amnesia — jumping down the memory hole” on

John C. A. Manley is the author of Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story, the forthcoming All The Humans Are Sleeping and other works of speculative fiction. You get free chapters from his novels by subscribing to his Blazing Pine Cone email newsletter at


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