Friday, 3 April 2020

Week one of the quarantine: an experience

By Paul Lysek | Prague Daily Monitor |
23 March 2020

I have a friend who thinks this whole lock-down is nonsense. He reckons calculating in the economic fallout, the increase in domestic violence, people jumping out the windows due to stocks crashing, increased divorce rates etc. more harmful than if we all just took our chances. I didn’t add this into the piece to start a controversy, but after a week of self-isolation from the outside world, I am beginning to wonder. I hope the greater powers did the calculation before the onslaught of the spread. As I speak to friends around the world, and more of us are facing a similar destiny of home lock-down, the increased anxiety over significant others, kids, or livelihoods are being exposed. Is it the end of the Facebook family?

Last Thursday was much the same as Wednesday, Friday is always a great day and then came the weekend. Weekends are usually a time to go and visit some friends, walk down to the river or into the hills for a hike, go out for lunch or have a late night drink and fun after the kids crash out. This weekend there was none of that, it was a repeat of the week.

We sat down and actually discussed what our strategy is for this thing. I watched some psychologist explain that for this lock-down to have any effect, we need to convince the 50% of people who follow the majority that we are taking it seriously. Apparently there are 25% of people who go against the grain in any situation, then 25% who take things seriously and try and do something for the greater good. The 50% of followers follow whoever seems to be most obviously winning. I am a believer in rule and greater good, so we decided to see how long we can go without leaving the apartment and terrace. We have made it the first week!! With the kids and some supplies running low it will be a challenge to make it to the next weekend. Financially is also difficult. Nobody has contributed to the Prague Monitor in over two weeks! But reading some of these stories from business people who have been closed down due to Virus rules, I feel lucky. In five years I hope we are all just remembering this as a giant inconvenience.

We have become more inventive. Rather than leaving the television on all day we are trying to think up activities. Hide-and-go-secret is getting old, so we are trying dancing, pulling out old games like Memory and getting everyone involved in cooking and baking. I love an afternoon nap so I do spend a lot of time trying to convince at least one of the kids to go down with me as to not look like the lazy one. No more of that come Monday; back to home office!

There is no booze left so gardening is my new hobby. The cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and mint have sprouted and the kids love watering them. With the cold weather arriving, it is hard to stay out long on the terrace so it is back inside for a few days. Today, Sunday, it was actually snowing. It was the perfect time to build a giant obstacle course for the kids. We took all the beds, mattresses, chairs, cushions, pillows, window sills, and tables, arranged them in a snake shaped track which the kids had to climb, crawl and run around. Naturally this ended up being a free-for-all race with some bruised knees, damaged furniture and crying boys, but we had fun while it lasted! Lucky at this age the teeth grow back.

As my wife was starring me down and asking me what I was thinking encouraging the kids to jump off the window sill and onto the table top, sliding across on a pillow, I looked out the window and saw that couple still sitting on their balcony smoking. Actually I don’t remember ever looking and not seeing them there smoking. People have some stamina. I wonder how much booze they have hidden in there?

My wife and I thought about what we would be doing if we didn’t have any kids. It was hard to imagine. The kids seem in a better mood since we are all home. They have even accepted eating things they refused in the past. It actually works to open the fridge and show them there is nothing else to eat. They look back, sit down, and eat their lentil burger patty things. But how long can it last? One week is one week, but like a long vacation: by the third week you’ve had enough and are ready to return to whatever you did before. Except this is not a vacation. So we need to stay cool. Bring it on week number two!

Paul Lysek – The idea of writing a daily update came to me by seeing, hearing and trying to understand all the things that are happening around us at this time. This story is a combination of all those sources, including friends, relatives, and experiences with attempts to bring out the satire, emotion and changing environment of the situation. It is entirely fictional, with the exception of my sarcasm.