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Day two of the quarantine: an experience

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I heard them already at 6:00a.m. It sounded like one of the boys was pushing the other’s hand into a meat grinder. The screeching was so loud I jumped up out of bed and was ready to do battle. Running down the hallway I broke into our kids room and saw the older one holding a car far above his head, the younger one screaming that it was his. Time for breakfast.

Last night, after everyone went to sleep I tried to figure out a plan on how to make it through this. It was going to rain and that meant low pressure and low patience. Browsing the internet I quickly got bored of what all these perfect families were planning to do with their kids. I checked the markets and saw they were up today, Trump looked angry again, that banker who cut the interest rates looked like his hair added a shade of grey. The whole world is shutting down, everyone was on home office, even the factory workers. This looks serious. No more visits from Honza, no more walks around my village, no mask to go to the store, and only three beers left for the whole quarantine. Good time to catch up with family. I called my parents to see how things were going in America. Basically people are going hill billy crazy. The Walmart is decimated. Toilet paper was being fought over. These are times you appreciate family and I felt better just knowing that I can talk to them anytime. Damn things must have been hard during past times of crisis. You would ride off to fight the war and return home in three years! We live in a great time. Off to sleep.

Breakfast is oatmeal. I have eaten oatmeal often since I was a kid. Now my kids and I eat oatmeal often. None of that fancy flavored stuff full of sugar and additives. Plain rolled oats from that mill in Sturovo, Slovakia. Tesco, CZK 15 a pack. My dad told me that in the mountains he grew up in, his neighbor ate only oatmeal three ties a day, and lived to be 97. Come to think of it, not sure what his wife ate, but he never talked about her. I am proud that I have a pile of oatmeal in the storage room. I think I can go two months and still have oatmeal every day for breakfast, plus the occasional oatmeal cookie if I am nice to my wife. Kids like it too. Great start to the day.

Outside was dreary and cold, I was happy I didn’t have to make my way to the train. Luckily I had a conference call and got to hide myself in my office. I dialed in and then waited for everyone to impress the participants with the jokes of the day, naturally they were all virus related. You know the joke: someone coughs, then someone says “oh, now you all have the virus” and we are all supposed to laugh. There is always someone who asks if it is possible, then everyone laughs and the business starts. Going through the motions is hard in an office setting. With the world in home office, there is always a child screaming, someone dropping the phone, eating, the phone signal fading in and out. I didn’t understand anything on the call but figured I would catch up when things return to normal. Hung up, time for some work. People are still writing if their shipments are coming in time from China. I wonder where these people live. Trying not to be too sarcastic, I “sensitively” respond with the bad news.

Today I feel like I am getting into this lock-down mode. Soon it was lunch and I came out to see why it was so quiet. Everyone was in the kitchen cooking and preparing for a feast! I looked out the window and noticed people were starting to get serious. The few people I saw had masks on, someone was dropping food off and hung it on the fence post and walked off. Then after a few minutes the owner came out and moved it to the door, leaving it outside to age. Clever. I started contemplating that perhaps I didn’t get enough food. What if the water gets shut off? Will it be like those silly American doomsday films? Calm down, everything will be fine.

I decided that I was going to start exercising. I asked what was for lunch and the answer was beans. Oh no! Those beans I bought. There are bags of those things. We are going to be eating beans for months. Beans are a good source of protein so off to my push-ups. I could only do fifty, actually forty-seven. I remember before I had kids I was almost like those guys on Youtube who just keep doing push-ups, stopping only to eat.

Things were going well and the rain never came, meaning the kids could get some time on the terrace. I looked up into the sky and noticed a particular absence of jet streaks in the sky. One lonely plane was flying through the otherwise clear blue sky. It reminded me of the time that volcano, with the crazy long name, erupted on Iceland and closed the airspace. We got through that crisis, we will get through this one. Even it means eating beans and oatmeal for a month.
I sat down for lunch and was already looking forward to this evening, a great time to call my sister and see how things are going. Contemplating why I have been feeling this increased attachment to my family the past few days it was clear: A little crisis in the world starts, and it brings to the surface the things one considers important in the world, your comfort folks. Nice indeed.

Hang in there, ‘till tomorrow.

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 and 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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