is this the apocalypse? (no, it’s just very early in the morning)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

It’s been a few days since I started writing this in the notes app on my phone and laptop. I kept adding to it … and now, not even a week later, parts of what I wrote don’t even seem relevant anymore. What still felt weird a few days ago, has become a “new normal”. Things are progressing (getting worse) so quickly these days that keeping up is difficult. I haven’t even figured out yet how I feel about the stuff that was news two weeks ago, let alone the stuff that was news yesterday. I just can’t keep up.

I go for a run (almost) every morning and thanks to the longer days and sunny weather, I’m able to leave the house as early as 6:30. Running early in the morning has always been my thing, but at the moment, it is also the easiest way to exercise while staying away from other people.
I pass a playground on my runs and for a few days now it’s been sealed off with caution tape. It looks like a crime scene.
When I’m out and about this early and the streets are literally deserted, I always tell myself that it’s “just because it’s so early”.

Grocery shopping has become an interesting experience as well. I don’t just walk into the store anymore, pile stuff on my arm, pay and leave. I wait in line in front of the store because they don’t let a lot of people in at once. There’s a security guard who’s disinfecting the handlebars of shopping carts, asking everyone to put on plastic gloves (provided by the store) before going in. (Where did they get those? They’re sold out everywhere. And the disinfectant spray? That’s basically liquid gold.)
Other things that run through my head while I’m waiting: Will there be kitchen roll? The drugstore has been sold out for weeks – or at least they’re sold out whenever I go to check. And: Are there going to be fresh vegetables? I’d really love some broccoli. And we need oat milk. Our usual brand of choice has been sold out the last few times, but at this point I’m willing to go for whatever brand they’ve left.
I realize that these are extremely luxurious worries to have. Fucking oat milk, seriously? Eat your porridge with water. Kitchen roll? Why? Broccoli? Eat string beans. (Sold out, I’ve checked.)

I’ve never known scarcity. We always had everything we needed and wanted. Empty supermarket shelves? Not a thing I’ve ever seen before. Having to develope a grocery shopping “strategy” in order to get all the items you want? Never crossed my mind. Until now. (Fresh veggies on a monday morning? Nope. They’re still cleared out from the weekend and I mean completely cleared out and they haven’t restocked yet. Early midday is the best time, a bit later and everything’s going to be sold out again.)

I’m very lucky, I’m aware of that. I can get a more expensive brand of whatever when the cheaper one is sold out. I still have options. Other people don’t.
Living in a big city teaches you, that you can get whatever you want, whenever you want it. And although I realize that it is a very consumerist thing to say, I just cannot help but be dumbstruck by the simple fact of unavailability.
But as I mentioned in the beginning, this felt weird two weeks ago – empty shelves are a new normal and they don’t freak me out anymore. We’ve adapted our shopping habits. It’s fine. We’re fine. Moving on.

When it comes to the self isolation bit, I’m doing pretty good, I think. The thing is … I’m a homebody. I haven’t seen a cinema from the inside for almost four months and when I usually “meet” more than one person at a time, it’s my family or my colleagues at work. I love spending time at home. Being asked to stay there and work from there and not go to bars, or the gym, or the office, is A-Okay for me. Not a problem, not at all, thank you.

The only issue I seem to have, is that I’m not more productive all of a sudden. There aren’t more hours in my day, just because I’m not supposed to go outside. Lists titled ”one hundred things to do during self isolation” – … I don’t get it. Why should I be able to read more, deep clean my apartment, declutter the photos library on my laptop and also start doing jigsaw puzzles with 1000 pieces, just because cafés and restaurants are closed? I still have to work and do ALL THE THINGS, the only thing that has changed is that I’m doing all of it from my couch and in my sweatpants.
Yeah. I don’t know.
Also, I don’t feel particularly creative at the moment. I was being swept up in this whole self-isolation-oh-all-the-things-I-could-do-now-all-the-blogposts-I-could-write-madness for a second, but quickly had to realize, that this new, and disturbing, and life altering situation isn’t very ~ inspiring ~. Quite the contrary.

Apart from my runs, I sometimes go for a short walk around lunchtime, just to get away from the screen, look at the sky and get some fresh air. As I said, the weather has been really nice in the past few weeks and normally, the streets and cafés would be packed. Now there’re only very few people in sight.

Although I’m not a huge fan of the busyness that’s usually normal for my neighborhood, the utterly empty streets kind of creep me out as well.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about all this at the moment. I feel something that I can only and very vaguely describe as “weird”.
My brain seems to be a little behind when it comes to processing my feelings these days… It just lets me know: This could be fear.
I’m often kind of uneasy and nervous for no apparent reason, or much rather, the most obvious reason: The Freaking Pandemic.
And yes, this could be fear. I am not necessarily scared of the virus itself, of someone I know and love getting sick, of getting sick myself. But I don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s so much uncertainty. My brain wants to keep me safe and nothing feels more threatening than uncertainty or not-knowing.

Will things ever go back to “how they were”? Who are we going to be, when we emerge from all of this on the other side, I wonder.

Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time, all of this is “just and inconvenience” for me. I don’t have to risk getting sick myself in order to help people who already are. I probably won’t lose my job like many other people already have or will. I’m very much (and literally) at home on Introvert (Self Isolation) Island with lots of books and my journal and my craft supplies and my yoga mat just like before. I’m not alone. We’re together in our very cosy apartment, more or less working side by side, and going through our little daily routines, including watching the pigeons from our window. We’re good.
We’re just out of our favourite brand of oat milk. Apart from that we have everything we need.
Even toilet paper.

But still.
But still.

I’m feeling off and weird and sometimes just fine and then really weird again and I cannot put my finger on it. I’m sorry if this whole post didn’t make any sense at all. But what actually does at the moment?

That’s all I have.

Hope you’re doing okay.

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