I’ve been off work since Wednesday March 18th, which is three weeks now. At first it was chaotic and creative, then well-ordered and clean as I scrubbed floors, cleaned shelves and cupboards, reorganized my CD, DVD, photo collections, and lifted up my bed to see what was underneath, gave a little shriek, and put it down again. There was, and still is, a ‘domestic goddess’ period as I made oatmeal raison muffins, peanut butter cookies, that divine blood orange syrup cake, pasta Bolognese, Korean sweet and sour meatballs, Indian dahls, and gratin dauphinois. Never have I eaten so well! Or so much! The problem is, all this food is for myself because I cannot share, so I feel like I’ve gained ten pounds.
But now, I’m bored. Three weeks of house arrest is enough, plus the weather is glorious. As I sit here typing, it’s currently 25°C (77°F) outside. Like a fine July day. I wonder where we’ll be in July. Will I still have a job? Will COVID-19 be a distant memory? Will the economic damage be worse than that of the Great Depression or 2008?
But most importantly, will any good come from this?
So at 2 pm this afternoon I wrote out my government-imposed attestation by hand, slathered my forehead, arms and hands with suntan lotion, put on my mask and went outside. It was so good to walk and feel the sunshine on my skin. I usually go to my local supermarket, MONOPRIX, but decided to go further afield to a small, independent organic supermarket. As I walked down the street, just me and my caddy, I thought – why am I wearing a mask? The streets were completely empty. Later, I read that since the outbreak of this epidemic 200,000 Parisians left Paris for the countryside, as if fleeing a medieval plague.
After I had done my food shopping – shelves well-stocked except for the absence of eggs, bread and flour (I did manage to score a bag of organic farine d’épeautre which is spelt flour) – I made my way to the cash desks and thought, this is the new normal: cashiers wearing plastic visors over their entire face and the rest of us wearing facemasks and standing in line six feet apart. It looked so silly, and yet no one was laughing.
President Macron is scheduled to speak to the nation next Monday night on the 8 o’clock news. As predicted, he will prolong the lockdown which was supposed to end April 15th. We are in the dark as to the new date.
Here’s a good video clip from The Economist I just watched because I am very concerned about the world economy: