How covid-19 showed a different side of me, that I would have never known otherwise
If someone had told me only a month ago, that I would end up locked in and happy to barely peak through the terrace, I would have have told them that they had seen too many bad movies. The ones whose fatal endings we’ve already seen a million times. Imagine, a pandemic of some unidentified virus that threatens the human civilization. But now we know that life writes best horror movies. The only difference is that the end can’t be the same as in some bad production.
I “earned” my quarantine from a one day trip to Thessaloniki. That was before the borders were closed, and China seemed very to be miles away. Right after entering the city, I realized that this is no joke. This incredibly lively and 24/7 temperamental city was quiet this time. Upon entering an unbelievable scene – car dealerships with locks on their doors, very few cars on the streets, not a sole anywhere in sight, in short the atmosphere of a town in dusty Texas. All restaurants and cafes locked, the windows of few open shoe and clothing stores covered in 70% off. A small digression, I couldn’t help myself from entering one small leather goods store. There a boy is threading. I tell him that his work belongs in the most expensive French luxury store. A smile of gratitude is followed with a sentence: “Thank you very much. It means a lot. Where are you from?”. I reply, from Serbia. Again a smile and a simple: “I knew it”.
Life was ordinary only only at the promenade by the sea. There was an imitation of the past daily routine – driving electric scooters, walking dogs and staring into the sea. It lasted a short while, until sundown and the news of the first lost life to Covid-19 in Thessaloniki. A quick return to our country, crossing the border and a mandatory two week isolation order. And here I am quarantined.
My iron will broke on the third day, once I realized that quarantine means, besides for no walking the dog also no groceries shopping or going to the farmers market
The first day was fun, imagine a situation where someone gifts you a situation of working from home, like american housewives that hang around in pajamas all day long. So they make morning pancakes, vacuum, and have the luxury of getting carried away and take their kid to school in house slippers. Everything except for the going out part. And also something even more important, your workplace is now your home. The dog doesn’t get that, he keeps poking you in the leg with his muzzle, asking for something, children who attack you with questions, what’s for lunch today, a pile of laundry is now a soar to the eyes, because when you’re in the office, you’re far away of the washing machine racket and a constant reminder – ironing, ironing, ironing. In all of that commotion, HE, my life and travel companion, is as hard as a rock. Later on we will find out, for five days only. Glued to the couch and laptop the man isn’t speaking. What a character, what iron will, I deduce that it’s a consequence of time served in the army and now I understand all the stories of those generations, on the topic, you have no idea what is…
My iron will broke on the third day, once I realized that quarantine means, besides for no walking the dog also no groceries shopping or going to the farmers market. That’s serious stuff. That had to be done by them, our girls, model in every way, but unprepared for life. We learned that during the quarantine. Their trip to the farmer’s market was a bigger challenge than navigating through Hitrow. After all of our detailed navigational instructions guiding them to this magical place, all the detailed descriptions of corridors between stands and the “chicken lady”, they still managed to call us with additional questions. Apparently I’m not as good as “mooveit” when it comes to navigating, an app that they I think they grew up with.
On day five hard communication with the outer world commences, no one seems to understand the state of mind of a person locked in a space with limited amounts of oxygen and the fact that we are all on a pile, without any possibility of excape anytime soon
I’m too ashamed to repeat their exact questions and commentaries. God thank you that they haven’t been born before the time of cellphones. They would have never reached the farmer’s market, and we would have starved to death in isolation. I can already see the headlines: “They starved to death in the City Center of Belgrade, during the corona pandemic”. But what truly haunted me in our N walls was – where did I go wrong? Was it when I waited for them to be more than three years old to send them to kindergarden, or when I didn’t want to bore them with attending slavas and weddings, or maybe when I didn’t hand them the iron before hitting puberty and therefore stopping the young millennial rebellion titled let me chill. In summary day three was self doubt, analyzing life mistakes, the purpose of everything and questioning what comes next.
On day five hard communication with the outer world commences, no one seems to understand the state of mind of a person locked in a space with limited amounts of oxygen and the fact that we are all on a pile, without any possibility of excape anytime soon. Not to overreact, I could have waited for snow season plucking weeds from plant pots on my terrace and victoriously close the corridor door and barricade myself from the rest of the appartment. Also, at all times I felt guilt, I should be grateful that we are all well, under the same roof, which is of upmost importance at this present time.
The hardest thing is the fact that no one comes over, not even to ring the door. But when that happened on the ninth day at eight pm we all jumped. Ran to the door, and the dog used to opportunity to run out to the front door. So large and with his strong bark he managed to press the policeman into the glass. He came over to check whether we were following the mandatory quarantine. After a short conversation at the advised 6 feet distance, I told him to make sure to write in his report that we have “only” two weeks of isolation ordered, in order to not get mixed up with those that got 28 days. He just laughed… I got it later. What if after individual isolation we entered a collective one… And than as fast as a lighting facts started rushing through my head – almost half a million of infected people, Italy is still critical, Spain is in second place by number of infected, the governor of New York is considering closing the city for nine months, there’s not enough space for all caskets, an ice stadium is turned into a morgue. Do I need anything else? Just sit home and be happy that you’re protecting your loved ones, friends and acquaintances. In this moment it’s the least you can do. When I get to a breaking point I put on my sunglasses (unfortunately they’re not pink, but when all this is over I’m buying a pair) and dream about getting in a car driving around Fruška Gora all day, and maybe even further to Zlatibor. Until then I try to remember the difference between vietnamese soups po bo and po ga, why canollis are best in Sicily, whether Hemingvays pipe is on his desk and what are the smells on Spring in Provence. While on the topic of Spring, I agree with a social media petition for banning March. I’m sorry if you were born in that month, but somehow we are in a quarrel with this part of the year. If we could simply erase it from our calendars, maybe we could stop this malice of the last winter days.