We need to do our part
As of my writing this post, we are already in a lock down in Granada – today is our second day. It is a near complete lockdown. We are only allowed to venture out to go to the market or pharmacy, and only one person should leave the house if possible. Honestly, we don’t mind staying at home (ask me later this week or next and I may feel differently). There were plenty of times that we just stayed inside for a few days, especially when it was cold and rainy. But somehow it feels different this time.
I think the best way of explaining this feeling is by using one of our cats, Sangria, as an example. She loves spending time outside on our terrace in her house. Whenever we close the terrace door at night, she sits by the door, cries and demands the door be open for a while, and then sulks in our bedroom or her box. If we give in and open the door for her, she won’t go out and will stare. She just wants the option to do as she pleases.
I think that is what we feel – we want both options – in or out as we please – even if we don’t mind staying in.
That brings me to the important point – regardless of how we all feel about the lockdown, it is very important that we each do our part.
Staying home is the most logical and responsible thing ALL of us can do right now.
I urge you to read this article. It argues that we can help lessen the risk for everyone by social distancing. It urges individuals and families to prepare and be ready for the possibility of significant disruption to our lives:
That’s right, you should prepare because your neighbors need you to prepare—especially your elderly neighbors, your neighbors who work at hospitals, your neighbors with chronic illnesses, and your neighbors who may not have the means or the time to prepare because of lack of resources or time.
One of our friends posted this on her Facebook:
From my cousin-in-law: This is the thing that has been on my mind for the last week or so. In 1918, there was a Spanish flu pandemic. I know this because my Daddy lost his Mom, baby sister, grandparents, an aunt and two other family members. He was 4 years old. This formed his life. Yes times are different and there is much better science and technology to fight this. There is one thing this situation in my Daddy’s life has in common with today’s pandemic and that is how the flu came to them. There was a family member who was a new bride. She was desperate to go visit her new husband who was in the military. She was warned not to go because there was too much sickness where he was stationed. She went anyway and brought the flu home, forever changing the lives of her family and mine. I won’t be that cavalier with others’ lives.
This post illustrates how one individual action can have a long-lasting and wide-spread effect on many lives.
Our son, Ben, went to a good friend’s wedding over the weekend. Later, the bride admitted she had been having respiratory problems but didn’t want to cancel the wedding, or even just the party. Now my son is self-isolating at Jim’s ex-wife’s home and can’t fly back. He’s lucky that he can work remotely, but what if he couldn’t? Meanwhile, Ben’s mother has now been exposed. She was going to visit her elderly mom but can’t now till all is clear…but what if, unknowing she was a carrier, had? There are ramifications.
We are all in this together.
It is important that we each do our part. You just don’t know what chain of events you are starting or perpetuating. Until everyone realizes we are all in this together, there will be potential problems for all.
It feels very surreal here in Granada. I am glad to be here with Jim (and the three cats). In many ways I feel we are safer in Spain than in the US. Spain has better healthcare and the most important thing is people here are taking it seriously and went on lockdown a day earlier than required! Many people in the US, on the other hand, seem yet to take this matter seriously, or are locked in behaviors dictated by American defiance.
This is an historic time and we all are on the front line watching events unfold and unravel. Things happened very fast in just under a week – from playing our last tennis drill on Thursday to the complete lock down today; We went from bustling streets, double-kiss greetings, and “luego” (“later” casual goodbyes) to Granada now being like a ghost town with empty buses circling the city and almost no one on the street. The only collections of people are outside markets or pharmacies, where lines extend to the street with everyone standing one meter apart in perfect silence – no cheek-kissing. It feels so strange and so un-Spanish.
On the other hand, there is already a great sense of community here, a coming together to support each other in solidarity against a common threat.
On Saturday night at 10 pm, two days before the lock down, I was moved by seeing our neighbors stepping out on their balconies clapping in unison for the front line and healthcare workers. The applause could be heard echoed throughout the city, and as we found out later, all of Spain simultaneously. That collective spirit and coordinated appreciation for those who work so hard on our behalf is not something I’d ever expect to see in the US, which is a shame, because it was such a unifying and bolstering moment. We were clapping for health care workers, but we were also clapping for each other, signifying we would rise or fall together.
Now going forward, at 8 pm every night, we step outside on our balcony and clap hands to show support for all workers, medical, the sanitation people, the grocers. It is a lovely moment. We clap, we wave, we smile. This happens all over Spain, even in the big cities of Madrid and Barcelona.
Today, Jim forwarded to me this very moving video. Honestly, it choked me up (and I am not one to do so easily). It’s the medical community’s response to the clapping.
Always with humor…
With all of what we are living through now – a life-and-death struggle, coping with massive uncertainty and horrific news every hour – it could be dark and debilitating if not for the rays of light that come through.
Luckily, we are seeing lovely moments of generosity, people reaching out to check in, sharing resources and humor, finding a lighthearted remark or bit of weirdness in trying times. to ease the tension. Jim and I got a few texts from friends and family in the US checking in on us. Thank you all for reaching out.
Even as the borders are shutting down, you cannot shut down Jim’s sense of humor!
Apparently using the lockdown time for this, rather than working on his books, Jim posted this on FB:
Each apartment building in Spain is like a mini-village, so to fend off community boredom during the lockdown, I took it upon myself to work out a fun-filled day of activities for the block. I took as my model medieval Spanish life, because they knew how to live when plagues walked the earth.
8:00 – 9:00 NOTHING, because nothing happens in Spain before 9:00 am.
9:00 – 10:00 Morning calisthenics: We will gather and self-flagellate while the priest explains that the pandemic was caused because somebody, somewhere, did some shit that pissed God off and He, in his infinite love and mercy, is punishing us all.
10:00 – 11:00 Visit kind and beloved neighbor Juan, who had a cough yesterday.
11:00 – 12:00 Brick Juan permanently into his apartment while we sing hymns of praise for God’s mercy and charity.
12:00 – 13:00 Village game: Hunt the Jews, because, ya know, they gotta be behind this plague somehow. If anyone asks me about my being Jewish, I will loudly announce that I saw old lady Sanchez only eat three servings of jamon last week, and if that’s not a sign of being a Judaizer, nothing is!
13:00 -14:00 Community Service, part I. Some of us will be called to sacrifice our lives on behalf of the building owner who took money from the King of Leon to have us attack the building next door, owned by the King of Aragon.
14:00 – 15:00 Community Service, part II: Some of us will be called to sacrifice our lives on behalf of the building owner who LATER took money from the King of Aragon to have us attack the building on the OTHER side, which is owned by the King of Leon.
15:00 – 17:30 Lunch (secreto del gato) and siesta.
17:30 – 19:00 Group discussion over coffee: Did Jesus need to wash his hands after urinating or were they always immaculate?
19:00 – 20:30 Tapa and wine, with vigorous debate over which city, Madrid or Barcelona, has the better team of book-burners of Moorish math and science texts. Pro-Madrid people will angrily deny the rumor that their greatest book burner, Ronaldo, has been hired by the Pope to burn books in Italy and will move there for the money and promised absolution of particular sins.
20:30 – 23:00 Light dinner (cause there’s no more food left) enhanced by the evening glow of people being burned for being werewolves based on the incontrovertible evidence of being hairy (again, probably Jews).
23:00 – Evening prayers thanking God for living in glorious times and not being English.
Fall into a stack of rancid hay for a good night’s sleep.
Stay safe everyone. We will withstand. Drop us a line to let us know how you are holding up.
And remember to wash your hands!