Friday, 3 April 2020

Day ten of the quarantine: an experience

By Paul Lysek | Prague Daily Monitor |
26 March 2020

One of my friends called me at 9:00 today because she “needed to talk.” She said her ten days in self isolation is making her crazy and she’s had enough! I briefly day dreamed off into the luxury world of being enclosed, alone, in a flat. Nobody complaining about baked beans, the issues they cause, the dirty kitchen, diapers, screaming, crying, baby torture techniques etc. She wants this to pass so she can get on a plane and fly to Italy for vacation; it had already been booked before this started. I didn’t want to tell her that she is a little vain, but I did anyway. Another relationship casualty during the virus epidemic of 2020. There are some super scared people out there, some very vulnerable people out there, and we have been asked to stay in and maintain some social distancing in order for our health services and governments to plan out how best to deal with this very contagious virus. Although a dish of fresh pasta and Chianti Classico in Tuscany does sound like a dream come true, it is just not possible at the moment.

The discussion strained my brain. Have we really came to the point where if we don’t get a vacation each quarter, have someone cook for us, and be constantly surrounded by exciting people we start breaking down? My grandpa was born on a hill in Morava in 1904 and he left “Silesia” about 10 times in his life, half of those to visit his son. The world has changed beyond imagination.

A thump on my head by my eldest bumped me out of my second day dream of the morning: back to scouring the cupboards for edibles and entertaining children. We have decided that we need to give in. We are searching in all the baby bags for diapers. We haven’t had a fresh fruit or vegetable in days. The kids hate beans and get that pouty face when we ask if they want rice. Apple juice is coming to an end. It is starting to be a crisis situation. 10 days. It is 10 days in lock-down and we have chewed through everything we would really enjoy. The rest of the bags of stuff in storage are only in case the world ends. We are going to the store tomorrow.

Going to the store will present a whole slew of other issues. Naturally I have been elected to lay my life on the line and restock our destitute food supply. There is a long shopping list and whole set of new rules concerning public behavioral norms. No more kissing on the checks if I run into a female friend. Keep two meters away from anybody. Wrap my face up in something. Wear protective gloves. No touching my face, eyes, or nose. I am scared that when I show up at the supermarket with my skull face-mask over my nose and mouth, sunglasses, and toque I will be rushed by security and cuffed. This is a glorious time for bandits! Tomorrow is the day! I can’t wait, I even have a secret plan to smuggle in some bacon. Is there even food left in the stores?

The weather has been encouraging. Although it is cold, one has no idea because the majority of the day is spent indoors, starring into the sun. It seems like beach weather out there, yet it is freezing late into the morning. My kids want to go to swimming lessons, play football, see their friends and run around free, much like my friend who called me this morning. I explain why we cannot to my children and they try to understand.

The days seem to be getting shorter and less eventful. Routines are falling into place and I fear that when our restrictions start being reversed it may be difficult to return to the old routines. No conference calls from bed at 9:00? Businesses will actually start functioning again? Today this all seems distant in the future. But soon we will again be with friends, enjoying a brew and remembering the virus epidemic of 2020.

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.