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Day twenty-four of the quarantine: an experience

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The weather has been just splendid of late, and the air has that fresh scent of new green growth. Day twenty-four is behind us and things are starting to look promising. Some of the news this week has many people thinking the whole Covid-19 scenario was practice in case a real dangerous epidemic hits. Some reports suggest that 10 million people in Italy have come in contact with the virus and a certain low double-digit percentage of the world. I myself am not sure what to think about it, but my wife is still not letting me go outside. It is different for those who passed and I wish their family and friends strength. But hope is on the horizon and even governments worldwide seem to be very slowly loosening the rules of various lock-down scenarios.

For us at home, the new routine is humming along, but I was not ready for today’s surprise.

I was comfortably sleeping away when a super high pitched sound made me jump about a meter off my bed. My heartbeat exploded and I panicked as my brain fought for the location and cause of the noise. I waited in silence to understand if I simply had a nightmare or if the world was really ending. Then it started again. Within a second I recognized the common sound, the sound of someone drilling a hole in the wall. It sounded like my neighbors were also taking advantage of the lock-down, yet instead of painting they were merrily drilling away in their walls at 7:00am!

As I looked around, my wife gave me a mean look as if I was the one causing the ruckus. I heard one of my boys starting to cry, which turned into a full choir in a few short minutes. What a start to the day. At least I didn’t have to calm everyone down while watching the clock and getting ready for work – its home office/ lock-down!

I rounded everyone up and out to the kitchen we went. I got the oatmeal cooking, as usual, and coffee for us grown-ups. But the drilling was relentless. It seemed that every few minutes someone was trying to drill through the wall into our apartment; if only they knew what awaited them on the other side of the wall. The kids were asking what was going on, the youngest kept crying, I wanted to start bashing my head against the wall, but I restrained myself. I was actually hoping that they WOULD drill through the wall and damage it enough so that they would have to repaint the whole living room, fix my problem.

As I wished my family well, I moved to my super office/bedroom which shared the wall being drilled. I loaded my computer and started trying to work to no avail. I could not concentrate with the shear suspension of waiting for that drill bit to meet the block and send that shiver through my spine! The emotions were strong being a mix of anxiety, stress and hatred of drill bits. Every few minutes the drilling, on and on, to no end.

I went to visit my family and they were all nervous too. Usually we could go out for a walk, or I would be at my office, but today trapped, like in a prison cell under construction! I rallied the family and we all went out on the terrace. I brought my computer and would work a little too. I sat down and a bird came and sat on the railing above me. It was chirping away at me, as in saying “you silly human, what are you tapping your fingers on for so long. You are like those woodpeckers, always pecking away at the worms.” The day was beautiful, the bird was singing away, and the drilling could not be heard. But it was impossible to work. I had to leave my family playing on the terrace, with the singing bird, and go try to work.

I tried music, earphones, ear plugs, meditation, nothing blocked out the high pitched drilling. It went on all day. Our whole apartment doesn’t have nearly as many holes as were drilled into that one wall.

In the afternoon I had to call into one of our famous conference calls. I decided that I knew what my joke of the day was going to be. I dialed in and made sure I waited on mute until everyone had a chance to call in. Then as the joke openers started I took the phone off mute and held it to the wall. I didn’t know when, but it was coming. The participants had just started covering the daily agenda when the drilling kicked off. The conference call was instantly derailed. “Who was that?” “What was that?” “Can someone please turn your phone to mute?” “Is everyone still there?” Beep. “Sorry I am late for the call, did I miss anything?” “There is a sound….” It took a full three minutes of chaos before the comments stopped. I took my phone off mute and said “Sorry, this is Paul, my neighbor is drilling, I will mute my microphone.” At least nobody asked me a question for the rest of the hour!

Please delay your flat renovations until after the lock-down period.

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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