Quiet World

Staying Home

It goes without saying that life has taken a power punch to the gut. I did not leave my apartment for three days; yesterday I finally went for a bike ride. Red lights were my biggest fear because bikers stand wheel to wheel or pull up next to you in the bike lane. There were not enough people out to cause any sort of bike traffic, and the bike-frenzy commuters were all working at home presumably, so I was frequently alone at many of the stops. The parks were full, and a few people sat 2 meters apart in the small restaurants that still seem to be open. Many restaurants are take away or delivery only at this point. The closest face I have seen was the Amazon delivery man and we only touched corners of the package. I wore gloves and a mask. Let’s face it, we are all a bit scared.

Recipe blogs that I subscribe to are sending recipes and foodie ideas about how to get through this period of “pantry” cooking. They were better at planning than I, or perhaps in anticipation, they already had a stockpile of these type of recipes. I frequently use their recipes for nightly home-non-blog cooking, and have been trying to up my photography game by working on my light and airy style (if you follow regularly, you will see the work in progress as it unfolds), which many of them do quite well. I do have posts that will go up over the coming weeks, but they are ones already in the pipeline.

Blog links that I highly recommend are included below for when you need a new idea beyond opening a box of pasta and doctoring a jar of tomato sauce…

Food is accessible, and most of us have done a Hamsterkauf. Die Hamsterkäufe (dee hamster – koy- feh) is the act of panic buying, something we are hopefully all guilty of at the moment. There is food, the food supply is not being cut off, and we are not going to be shut-ins forever, but I do like knowing I can be a little overly prepared. People were going in and out of the local grocery stores as if it were a normal day, holding only what they could carry (not that there is much choice other than self-carry in general as it is a city and few people drive cars to the grocery store).

For those of us who are old enough to vividly remember 911, we all have a distinct memory, the most uncanny thing ingrained in mine is the silence. We lived about an hour from downtown Manhattan and could see the towers billowing smoke when we went to the beach on Long Island Sound. Gray puffs rose above the city skyline, but the silence is what stuck, because it was something I had never before experienced having lived mostly in cities. Planes were stopped for 4 days, and the closest road was almost a quarter of a mile away; every now and again we heard a lone car. With no background noise to drown out anything, it really was hearing the dropping of a pin.

It is not quite as quiet yet, but it’s coming.

In Berlin, the trains, trams and buses are fewer in number, and the sidewalks usually crammed with parents, children on little bikes, strollers, and older residents pulling their wheeled grocery bags, are also not at the level of business as usual. Many carry large bags of TP, and others as much fresh food as the bags or carts can manage. Someone told me that the stores sold out of meat last Friday. It’s Germany and meat and potatoes are still cherished (and thoroughly enjoyed, I might add).

Whether it is resignation, acceptance, or subconsciously enjoying that I have nowhere to go, no one to meet, or being able to stay in my pjs until 3:00 in the afternoon, I cannot say. It is a bit frustrating, but it is what it is and I, like many, am making do and doing what is necessary to make the world a healthy place again. Because there is not much more that we can do, moments like this can only be approached practically. There are still planes flying overhead, I know not to where, but I assume someone must trying to get to someone they love.

The days are passing without climbing the walls so far. It gets to be 5:00PM and I realise I have made it through another day, look back at what I did, and it does not seem like much. You are probably experiencing much of the same. The reality is that we really are doing something magnanimous, we are doing our part for society and the world, we are staying put. And right now that’s the best thing we can do.

Over the last few days the children around the neighbourhood have been playing outside. They are running in the streets, skateboarding and playing their boomboxes loudly. No one tells them to turn the volume knob. Old enough to understand the disruption to their lives because it is the middle of the school year, but still young enough to forget about anything but where they are and whom they are with. Ah to be impervious to the possible doom at hand. I wish I could transport to their carefree existence and just enjoy running around in the street, laughing as is if though the world were still the same as a few days before.

This piece was written over several days, and the update is that the playgrounds are now closed, I did not go outside today, and I saw a lot of people on their balconies, enjoying the warm weather. I do believe that people are hunkering down.

Pull down the shade on your corner of the world, let it get the rest it needs, and it will feel better in the morning….

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