Home alone – a pandemic diary (day ten – 20.03.20)

Rainy day. During breakfast, I acquaint myself with the rules established for the State of Emergency. They allow you to go out in some cases, like going to pharmacies, supermarkets or to buy food, walk your dogs, go for a walk in empty spaces  (alone), so I decided that was it – I was going to go down to the newspaper kiosk and get my HOLA magazine.


Going out feels like an adventure

I took the opportunity to take the trash out and left it on the second floor, where we have several waste bins, for plastics, paper, etc. I took my disinfectant and after closing the building door used it on my hands. After all I was going to have to grab the magazine with a germ-free hand, while paying with the other. Before leaving home, I adjusted a scarf over my face. It’s awful, you can’t really breathe, but I thought it best.


The street was empty, really empty. No cars, only two men talking to each other in front of the building of the Taxis Professional Association. I imagine how they, too, must be suffering with this, nobody goes anywhere anymore.


I was afraid that, after taking all this trouble to go out, I would not find my favourite magazine, but I glimpsed it from a distance. Only two were left, and I took the bottom one. I also took a newspaper with all the information about the State of Emergency, quickly paid the masked kiosk owner, whom I’ve known for a long time, and wished him well.


I turned back towards my building. Still no one in sight. I loosened the scarf and felt the cool breeze on my face and some droplets of rain. In other circumstances I would have run home as I hate being in the rain, it totally destroys my hair. Not today. I decided to walk up the street and come back, some 200 metres back and forth, and it gave me a wonderful sensation of freedom. As for my hair, what did I care. I’m not going anywhere nor will anyone see me. Let it get damp. I really need this short walk, I said to myself.


Like a prisoner who’s allowed some minutes out in the prison courtyard, I enjoyed each second of that walk. Reaching the end of the street I duly came back, coming into my building at the same time as a masked man, who was delivering a parcel. I was first in the elevator, so politely asked him if he could take the next one. It feels too crowded with another person in such a small space. It was an instinctive reaction, and afterwards I thought I might have been unpolite, but I suppose it’s understandable, given the circumstances.


Back inside

Back home I worked. Conf calls, emails. Then lunch, more conf calls. I had decided to do some house-cleaning today, so I began with my room and then did the corridor and the living room. After vacuuming the house, I felt as if I had had a gym session – hot and sweaty. My God, how I miss Mimi. Not joking – I miss her presence because she has been a dear, daily presence for decades,  but also the miracles she works every day, doing everything around the house. I called to check on her and told her that. She laughed.


Today I saw some projections; had some measures been taken sooner, we might have the peak of the pandemic by the end of this month, which would seem like Heaven; however, as it is, projections made by AI predict it will be in May, as I had already heard. It will be a long April. Today the number of infected people rose 30% to 1.020. Someone – I can’t remember who – mentioned there might be a slight improvement in Italy; to be confirmed, of course. I pray it may be true.


I talked to the boys and they are well, thank God. Insisting that I move to my beach apartment. We’ll see if I can do that next week. It will be good to watch the sea from my window and take a longer walk that today’s, looking at the beach and feeling the salt on my lips. And the wind that comes from the sea. Still, for the time being I’m in Lisbon. The weekend will be rainy, good for staying indoors, writing and watching the occasional TV series. I’ve now began a new one on Netflix, also a thriller, Hinterland. The action takes place in Wales, a place I’ve always wanted to visit, with wild landscapes. I haven’t read much of Wuthering Heights as I’ve been getting to bed exhausted, but I’ll certainly read more during the weekend. After all, I’m stuck at home, it will be raining outside, and I’ll have the afternoon to write… As I say, nothing in life is 100% bad or good… there are always good things to do even in the midst of a crisis like this. Enjoy the little pleasures of life, such as having breakfast in bed and then lazing while reading a good book. And giving thanks that I’m in good health, as well as my loved ones.


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