Yeah, yeah, yeah… there might be a second Corona-wave crashing over us like a Tsunami. But for me, things are somewhat back to the “new normal”. I want to put a mental end to this pandemic and wrap up my Quarantine-Diary. At some point, enough is enough, I think. I have marveled at keeping a digital chronicle of things I have noticed during Corona. Logging what I see and feel is, I think, its own form of meditation. Dare I call it healing or staying sane.
What I Miss
Simply going to work every day and talking to my colleagues in person.
The gorgeously paradoxical quiet of an early morning at Naschmarkt/Vienna and the preparational buzz I can feel vibrating off the sidewalk as it gears up for opening hour.
Chattering strangers and having tea and conversations with my neighbour.
Going to a restaurant and having a normal dinner date.
Asking my son how his day was and genuinely not knowing the answer.
Shopping without a face-mask.
Feeling real distance between me and my bed and longing to get in at the end of the day.
Running home to change, then going right back out with friends.
What I Do Not Miss
Whenever my phone buzzes with the tell-tale vibration of an incoming text message, I experience what can only be described as a Pavlovian response–a mixture of thrill, curiosity, and urgency–to pick it up and read what it says immediately.
That some people still run to the other side of the street when I walk somewhere.
This couple who sleeps in that little park in front of my apartment for weeks now.
My son asking them to come upstairs and live with us.
That in Vienna, the social-distance you have to maintain to others is compared to a “baby elephant”. “Define a baby elephant, ” I ask my partner and we would have something to talk about for hours.
The guy dressed only in underwear ringing my doorbell at 9.30 p.m. to ask if he lives here.
Not “having time” for people who matter. I miss my family so much.
Getting caught on the anxiety hamster wheel because it is easier to speed up than to slow down.
Stop looking at people and feeling weird when they sneeze or cough. And vice versa.
The new “Corona-Rules” and to wear face-masks, especially when wearing glasses!
Depending on my phone for human connection.
Charging my phone at least twice a day.
Live newsfeeds of coronavirus updates anywhere on social media.
Waking up to uncertainty even though I am doing fine.
Feeling irresponsible every time the constant, nagging reminder of our collective mortality lifts from my mind.
The frequency with which I wonder if I am okay with all this madness.
What I Won’t Forget
How much closer my partner and I became.
How awesome it felt when I took my son for a walk through the neighborhood and a man was power washing a row of umbrellas in front of a café/restaurant. My son shouted, “What are you doing?” And graciously, he replied, “Getting our umbrellas ready for the summer.” I could see a small pathway toward normal. A pathway toward but not back to normal. There is a distinct difference because no matter what happens next, we are changed.
That it is possible to listen to the song “Golden Brown” by The Stranglers way too often while dancing through the living room.
That my manuscript for my third book is 99% done and ready to be published.
How much I wrote and read in the last couple of weeks.
That even though I won’t miss not knowing, we never really know (anything anyway).
The police officer on the subway train who told my son and I to put the mask over our nose because otherwise we will be fined. Welcome to Vienna. Here, they take things seriously and to another level but it somehow works.
Grocery store “security-guard-police” everywhere who tell you what to do.
How awesome it is to be able to order food online and how we discovered Honu Tiki Bowls. They are insanely good. If you are in Austria: Check out their website.
How much having a sense of humour helps and to laugh until you cry.
How I managed to stay at home with my son 24/7 and, in hindsight, it was okay.
We all have been put to some sort of test throughout this pandemic. It is these difficult times when people lose their temper and hope. Many either put their head down, fade out the noise and do whatever it takes or they simply raise a flag and break apart. Because we are our harshest critics and think we have figured life out while giving away so much power to doubt and fear. We try to convince ourselves that once we have overcome this immediate obstacle in front of us, our life will get infinitely better. Will it get better? We don’t know what will happen next. We are exposed to an unknown journey called life. There is only the self and the consequences of our choices.