Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Day forty-six of the quarantine: an experience

By Paul Lysek | Prague Daily Monitor |
1 May 2020

As week seven of the lock-down comes to an end it is starting to feel like the end of a long vacation. Don’t misunderstand the analogy. I am aware of the mass suffering, the sick, the exhausted medical staff and first response folks. But all these things are around us all the time, we have just highlighted the tip of the iceberg due to a new virus variation circulating that has scared the hell out of us. But for those who remain unaffected by the actual virus, which is the vast majority of us, we are starting to worry about menial things again. Things like our work, bills, and the fact that our favorite pub may close forever. The reality is that the world will quickly move on to new things we view as problems, leaving the epidemic experience in the wake, pending no reemergence of the virus on a grand scale.

So why the end of a long vacation? Most of us probably work while we are on vacation. We also spend time with our families on vacation. We then traverse the globe to find spots where we can go and find interesting activities to keep us occupied. The feeling is the same.

I was ordered to stay at home, a place I do not spend too much time at. I needed to work, but productivity was lower than usual as the pace of business slowed down significantly for the first five weeks (think summertime). As the situation improved and we became more comfortable with our surroundings we became accustomed to the everyday life. Now, after a multi-week stay, it is time to pack it all up, and get ready to return to the life of the past – which is rarely the same as the one we left pre-vacation. Again we are planning school, work, logistics, meetings and projects. Vacation for many ended last week, this week has seen more return and next week I think that most people will start returning to some sort of outside-of-the-home regime. The whole process will be accelerated as businesses reopen, even those on home-office will start going out to catch up on some shopping cravings.

Thursday is over and now we are coming into Friday. The last weekend is upon us. On Monday we return to offices, stores and much more, and ease into the work life. The first days back will be full of war stories and competitions about who did more sports, completed long dreamed-of home décor projects, spent the most time at the cottage or suffered in the heart of the city with little more to eat then a five kilogram bag of rice and the cute pigeon on the window sill. In days to come, the stories will be forgotten, in weeks the rules will be ever more broken, and in months we will barely remember what the virus was.

The medical professions will solve the crisis with new potions of promise, our central bankers will bend monetary policy like never before to jump-start the party, and the real heroes will put plans in place for future epidemics. Leaders will be judged in upcoming elections, and businesses will frantically accelerate digitalization. Villains will be charged and/or punished, heroes forgotten. The impact, results and future opportunities will rest on us. Or not. Make your decisions, it’s time to get back to work.

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.

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