Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Day nine of the quarantine: an experience

By Paul Lysek | Prague Daily Monitor |
25 March 2020

I woke up today and went to the living room. One of my boys had gotten a marker and had managed to illustrate his artistic abilities on the couch and himself. I failed to react it’s not worth getting all worked up. I turned around and made myself a coffee.

I have now grown a full beard, at least as full as I can grow. The eighteen year-old neighbor’s kids seem to have more facial hair then I can manage, but for 9 days plus a weekend I have not shaved. I feel like a bad-ass, or more like one of those people resting on the bench in the park coming up to Hlavni Nadrazi. My hair is also getting out of control. I regularly manage a triweekly haircut, but as the events unfolded into a lock-down I was already overdue. Now I have a full head of hair standing up in all directions, the longest I have had in years. Perhaps due to this episode long hair will come back in to style. If this quarantine goes on for another five weeks, which is my personal assessment, then I will approach my stylish look after returning from a two-month Cambodian bush adventure in 2002. Ahh, the days of freedom. My mobile was stolen out of my backpack before leaving the airport. Just me, the bush, and three of my favorite drinking buddies. I am going to have to teach my son how to cut hair.

The work from home is getting challenging. It’s one thing having a Friday “home-office” where you take calls from bed, plan simple organizational projects, work a bit on the terrace and go out for a nice long lunch. A different story being squeezed into an apartment with your wife and kids at their mercy. ALL DAY! EVERY HOUR! TOUS LE JOURS! The most popular virus joke being sent around this week is the guy listening to the recording telling him he is being quarantined. Option A, with the wife and kids, Option B…. he interrupts the recording and confirms option B before hearing what it entails. Now I get it.

Today I did a conference call in Czech and I had one of those guys on it from Ostrava. They speak briskly and don’t really pronounce the endings of the words. With the yelling in the backround, the Ostrava guy cutting in and out of his machinegun Czech, and my confined dark storage room/office full of beans and rice, I just hung up. What’s the point? We ain’t making the numbers this month.

Good news for me is the black beans from last night didn’t make me sick, the Chipotle peppers expiring in 2017 were not spoiled. I was proud to announce that to my wife and confirmed my belief that the best before dates on cans are there by law, not by actual science. Canned food is good for years. Don’t follow my silliness though.

I had a dream last night that I was eating a Turkey, cranberries and mashed potatoes and gravy. Afterwards I joined that couple on the balcony for a cigarette and then it got kinda weird. My point being that love is also taking a beating in this lock-down world. After spending the day imagining up issues for the kids to solve, cleaning the artwork off the couch, eating beans and rice, drinking water and tea, and still being in the pajamas at 17:00, there is not much energy or desire for love at the end of the day (speaking from the women’s perspective). My wife is off to bed with Tommy at 21:00 and I start writing this silly diary. Now on the other hand, if I were 26, had a hot new girlfriend, and were confined to a small space, I can’t imagine us worrying about what’s for dinner. Ten months from now I am going to study the birth statistics to see if this is the case in the whole country.

Remembering the advice from Pepper de Callier in Monday’s column I did my best to call some colleagues, see how they are doing. Some people were surprised, one seemed annoyed and many were happy to be able to exchange dialogue with a familiar voice. I even felt better after doing the rounds and doing my part to build the cohesion that makes the world go round. It was also a positive to hear how others are coping and laughing at the similarity in issues. We are all in this together and we will all need to sacrifice. We may as well have a laugh with very people who are struggling alongside us: our colleagues on home-office.

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.