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Notes on the coronavirus lockdown: Sounds of silence and missing friends and rituals

March 25. Silence. The lockdown on March 17 with the standard restrictions, also limited automobile traffic, and it got pretty quiet on the very busy street that my apartment overlooks. Today the curfew was moved from 9 p.m. to 2 p.m. and now at 5 p.m. the street is devoid of vehicles. As I type this, even with classical music from KDFC San Francisco playing, the silence is palpable. It feels like a presence inhabiting the room, quieting and calming the atmosphere.

March 27. Meanwhile, my life goes on. Tania continues to bring my meals (dinner now arrives at one), I continue to spend too much time on the computer keeping up with the news. I continue to read a lot and I continue my exercises and walking.

March 29. The lavanderia where I take my clothes, sheets and towels for laundering is closed (not essential?), so Anja, a retired woman from Finland who owns a unit across the courtyard, is doing my washing. Ryan, the tenant (with his wife and three young children) in the apartment above me, likes to get out and around and is going to the pharmacy, grocery store, bank, and to wherever else I might need something. I am able to do — and did — most of those on my own but being out and around exposes me to more people and at my age I am more at risk than others, so prudence prevails, overcoming my initial arrogant attitude of: “I’m in good health and I can take care of myself!”

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Once again, I am humbled by the offers of help and the knowledge that people are not only concerned about me but watching over me, ready with a gentle push when I may not realize I need one.

Doce de Abril devoid of traffic at 5 in the afternoon.

March 31. As a certified introvert living alone the past twenty years I am very comfortable being the only person in the household. I am pretty good at living one day at a time, not conjuring up disturbing scenarios of what might happen but also able to acknowledge a  truly serious situation when it arise. So it is a surprise to find myself affected by this coronavirus pandemic in a way that I can’t explain. Things are not quite right, a little off kilter. When the restrictions were put in place I thought good!, I can read more and begin writing again but that didn’t happen. As I type this I feel a tension in my belly that I had not been aware of which, in thinking back has probably been with me for a while.

Two things come to mind. One: this is a major, major event with huge ramifications now and for the future. As one who tries to be aware of the world, this is more to keep up with. Two: switching quickly from macro to micro, I really miss not going to class and seeing my Spanish teacher, Maria Elena, three days a week. I miss seeing my massage therapist and I miss the fifteen or so times each month that I go out to eat.

When the restrictions were put in place I did not realize not doing those things would be a major loss and reacted with a shrug of the shoulders and a “no big deal”, if that attitude rises to the level of a reaction. So, I need to acknowledge and mourn my losses, which, for me were a big deal. My belly is a bit better already.
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Dave Nelson is a retired workers’ comp attorney (representing injured workers). He was born and grew up in Oregon but practiced law in Oakland, California. He lives in Cuenca and is looking forward to his 91st birthday.

2 thoughts on “Notes on the coronavirus lockdown: Sounds of silence and missing friends and rituals

  1. This makes me feel great, and at 91! May those of us younger taker his message to heart.

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