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The Quarantine – Glass Half Full.

Thoughts on Social Distancing and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Part II

“…Most of us have a long way to go before we need to start fighting in the streets for a can of expired sardines. Until then, we need to take it easy…

Art & Words by Fanitsa Petrou

Celebrities, American late night hosts and political satirists, are ALL telling us how unbearable this lockdown is. How it is the worst thing they have ever experienced. Really? The worst? “You lucky, LUCKY bastards!” You want to shout to them. Try not having a house (let alone a mansion) in which to stay and chill! Try surviving a war, years of domestic abuse, a famine, a gang rape. Try being forced to leave your home in the middle of the night and be thrown like cargo on a boat, and then cross half a continent on foot. While being pregnant! Think of what Syrian refugees or starving kids in Yemen, are going through. Kids being taken by sex traffickers. Or kids growing up in your own back yard, in American urban neighborhoods that offer no other option than drug abuse, prostitution or the joining of gangs. Which is to say, a life full of violence and endless variations of hell which they are forced to relive again and again, until they expire in street corners.

And that goes for all of us: so you spend a month or two at home, and you are forced to make your own coffee. Honestly, how bad is it really? If your family is OK, and if you do have a little money to keep you going, if you are not daily in harm’s way because you are not a healthcare worker, a grocery shop teller, or similar, if you are healthy, and in possession of an apparently endless supply of toilet paper, an access to pizza delivery services and plenty of distraction (wi-fi, and TV and books and music and DVDs, and – obviously! – social media, a couple of sudoku puzzle books, a board game, and if not all of that at least a glue gun and some yarn), and on top of that, possibly a job waiting for you once this lockdown is lifted, then you’ll do fine.

It may not be pleasant staying home all day, but the thing is, this is hardly an apocalypses. Most of us have a long way to go before we need to start fighting in the streets for a can of expired sardines. Until then, we need to take it easy…

Besides, how many times have you expressed the desire to get a chance to just be? To have a few days off work to clean the garage, plant a few flowers in your back yard, declutter your closet, or more likely, to just sit on your sofa with a book and a glass of wine, or more likely, in front of the telly, and just be? Undisturbed (AND without feeling guilty for doing it – unless you are a mum of course), have family meals all together, or reconnect with your kids (unless they are teenagers, in which case, this is not humanely possible. And God may be with you for being locked down with them…) Well, this is your chance. Not only are you not being reprimanded by teachers, clients, managers, bosses, and other authority figures who have been the bane of your existence for years, for doing so, you are actually being told you are the hero of the hour. By staying home, taking naps, day-drinking and binge-watching Netflix, you are actually saving humanity! And if you are among the lucky ones who are even getting some form of monetary compensation for staying at home and doing nothing, then honestly, I don’t want to hear any more of your complaints.

And if all this will lead to some good habits, like regular (even obsessing!) hand washing, coughing into tissues instead of other people’s faces, or the abolition of handshakes (because WHY?), this is good news in my book. Too bad so many had to die in order for people to realise that these are life saving practises…

Plus, the quarantine has an upside: it offers a chance to reboot our lives (and the planet) so to speak. If a nap can refresh you, imagine what two months of not going to work can do to your stress levels, and if you won’t catch the decease, your actual health! And, if turning off the lights for an hour every year on Earth Day is giving the planet a little breather, imagine what two months without cars in the streets can do! It’s actually already happening! According to the World Meteorological Organization, our social isolation is expected to drive carbon dioxide emissions down by six percent this year. And that’s the biggest yearly drop since World War II! Imagine that! And that is not all. Rivers are not as polluted as they used to be. Wild animals are being sighted in cities, dolphins are appearing in Italy’s waterways, while the canals in Venice are now running clear! Maybe we should seriously consider making this a yearly event (the social distancing / lockdown thing not the dying of infectious deceases obviously)! My vote is for the week between Xmas and New Year’s Day which is already in a kind of no man’s land…

Sure, it would feel great to have a day at the beach, meet our friends, go to the cinema or to see a play, and sure, live without fear of the future, or ignore the nagging feeling that conspiracy theorists were right all along (about shady millionaires rooting for “population control” though manufactured viruses, untested drugs that will be forced upon us, the New World Order gaining on us, and so on), but what are you gonna do? There are worse things out there, which are hardly theoretical, and for the moment at least, they are not happening to you.

And try to remember: in the end, this too shall pass…. And also, it’s not the staying home we should all be worried about. It’s what is coming after it


The Quarantine – Glass FullThoughts on Social Distancing and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Part II – Art & Words Copyright © Fanitsa Petrou. All Rights Reserved.


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Art & Words By Fanitsa Petrou

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