Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Day forty-four of the quarantine: an experience

Prague Daily Monitor |
30 April 2020

Although the official “martial law” is getting extended, the reality looks different. Rather than being all closed down, everything is opening up. The big stores are shrinking themselves to fit into the size limits, people are increasingly active on the streets and parks, and traffic has returned. Even parking rules have slowly come back, along with ticket inspectors on the transit system.

Life is also sucking us in. The little pre-school is starting back on the 19th of May. I have been recalled back to the office at the beginning of May. Meetings are already coming back online quickly. So what are the main issues at hand?

First I need to get better masks. If I am going to have to return to the office and wear a mask all day, means during travels and at the office, I need something more comfortable and fitting then my homemade skull shirt stitch-up. I don’t really understand how everyone even got masks so quickly. Did everyone have elastic bands and sewing machines laying around their home all this time? What about the professional masks? Did everyone run out to the stores and grab what they could at any price. I looked around a little and I think the mask business must be the best racquet in town, next to IT. There are even designer models available for unforgiving sums of money.

Next is the transport issue. My boys and I are lovers of trains, metros, busses and such. One of the great attractions of life in Prague is the fantastic, albeit aged and less clean then a couple of decades ago, transportation system. I am not fully comfortable getting back into the grind, so I went out looking for alternatives, at least for a part of the journey.

My commute is rather long in Prague. I need to take the metro and the train. The train was historically fuller than the metro and both have very crowded stations. How could I master a stress-free commute without the people or the dreaded car traffic and parking issues?

I have managed my bicycle appointment I made more than two weeks back. My bike is fixed and it is a viable alternative. I am not really a morning exercise type, and my office is a long way away so it is not ideal, but if mastered I would be in tip-top shape by summer’s end. Furthermore I have confirmed that we have the necessary facilities to shower up and change upon completion of the commute. Prague has also released information yesterday that they will be investing in more bike lanes as they are already planning for an increase in cyclists.

Second I read that the Lime scooter company has returned to operations in town. I don’t know if it is reliable, or how sure one can be that the scooter is where you need it, but it is an alternative for one leg of the journey, avoiding the busy stations. I have read about the dangers though, not appealing.

Third one is the battery self-balancing unicycles. I have seen some resourceful youths fly by me on the electric unicycles but I always just imagined the fate of the poor souls if they hit a curb or a rut in the road. It is not for me, I would be the first to tumble and we are supposed to avoid hospitals at this time.

Fourth a kayak. Now I live close to the river and so is my office, just at other ends of the city. What about commute by kayak? The problem I see is the parking. Someone will surely cut the line and take it for a joy ride, even though there are no tourists. Could I upgrade that to a small motorboat. That would fulfill one of dreams: boating to work for a while. I will research it further but I am sure that small engine boats do not require a license, I hope.

Fifth, scooters and motorcycles. This is by far my favorite. Not only is it faster to get around the city, but easier to park, cheaper to operate, and lots of fun. There are even electric options which are great for commuting. The motorcycles are also attractive for lock-down. It is one of the few things you can go out and do without being close or exposed to anyone. Now I just need to decide if it should be a Harley, a sport bike like I had in my 20’s, or an electric scooter.

So transportation is certainly something that may change, even for us. If there are any other ideas, don’t hesitate to add them to our Facebook pages!

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.