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Day forty-three of the quarantine: an experience

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After a splendid weekend Monday always comes upon us like an unexpected tornado. Yet of late, the crisp sunny mornings turning into warm pleasant afternoons leaves one ready to meet the day. The weather is the number one parameter transforming the city full of people on lock-down into a city bulging with movers and shakers.

I had an early morning appointment in the center, so I set out in the car around 7:30. I was shocked at the traffic and impassable streets! I could not find a way through – what happened to the empty city? Evidently I was not the only one returning to the hustle and bustle. The drive took twice as long as I had planned and I noted that logistics will only thicken from here. I am not sure people are ready to return to mass transit, I have not. I also heard on the radio that the usual traffic jams were in process and some crashes occurred as well. It felt like the first week of September.

After my appointment I returned to my home office situation. There are only a few days left as we are due to report back to the office at the beginning of May. There was almost a tear in my eye as I read the email. Back to the coffee talk, the lunches, the quiet and the freedom. But it will be weird walking around in masks, lathering your hands in sanitizer fifty times a day, and god forbid if someone sneezes! Either way I am willing to do anything, please just let the lock-down end.

I was in such a good mood I threw off my office clothes and jumped into my running gear. Off I went to the river, up the hill, across the park and back to our residence. It did occur to me that these afternoon runs I have been trying to master are going to be a challenge. How can I fit a run in during the day at the office? During my run I also noticed the surge of pedestrians. They were huddled up like football teams around the little coffee stands and serving windows which most of the seated establishments have opened to keep their businesses running. I hope the virus is really under control as I saw an increase of people without masks and without the recommended social distancing recommendations.

I thought about the joy I felt that the risk is receding and then it hit me: what we need today at home is a celebration. A kick-off to the good life of the past, and the increasingly promising future. What else could bring the mood and the comfort-food but a good ole-fashioned fish-fry!

I was lucky as I remembered I had a bag of frozen Cod in the freezer. I have found a great 1 kg bag of frozen Cod, apparently they freeze it right there on the ship, and we keep a small freezer stock. We eat Cod at least once every two weeks. Batter it up, roll in bread crumbs, and fry away! Then we chop up a bunch of potatoes and fry ‘em up on a skillet. It is so simple, so fulfilling, and after not eating in a restaurant for over six weeks, it is something just unhealthy enough to be satisfying.

So we fried up the whole kilogram of fish and cut up all the potatoes we could find in the house, which was about 20, and dinner was almost ready. The kids were learning all day so they were hungry and exhausted, and it spelled so good. We started the youngest with a plate of potatoes, the oldest with some fish and potatoes, then sat down and had our shares. The pile of food was enormous and I wondered how much would be left over for breakfast. We added in the pickled tomatoes, homemade pickled cabbage and condiments – what is fried fish without Tartar sauce?

It was great to have a real sit-down dinner as it rarely works out for us to eat at the same time. We ate and ate, traded off the last tomato for the last spoon of cabbage and soon it was apparent – there would be no leftovers! My youngest ate four plates of potatoes, the eldest ate his adult sized portion and asked for more fish, I had two helpings and my wife was left with only one normal portion. In the end we were all sitting around the table seemingly looking around if by chance there were some extra scraps laying around the table somewhere. In conclusion, all of us were very happy.

After a meal like that, a few cartoons and some tea and it was bedtime. I stayed up to watch a movie knowing that almost too soon, the rat-race would start again!

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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