The past few weeks have strangely both flown by and dragged by. While things were gradually shutting down after finishing my last tour at the end of February, I still couldn’t imagine the storm that was brewing. I am not sure I want to imagine what is yet to come. There has been an amazing outpouring of creativity being spread around on the web but it feels like it’s ebbing a bit. I have a number of groups that I post things to and get things from, but my phone is chirping less as we hunker down even more. Between laundry, random distractions from the kids, (usually while I’m in the middle of something) listening to Mauro on the days he works from home, cooking and cleaning, there is constant noise and I fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day and toss and turn all night long. Reading back over that last phrase, life sounds rather tedious right now and quite honestly, it is, but there are good things too. Playing Uno and Jenga, trying to learn to play the piano, (both myself and the kids) sharing the jokes that are running around on the web. Filippo has started training Emanuele which keeps them both in shape and outside for a couple of hours a day and I am lucky enough to have a garden to play in when the weather allows. By play I mean weed, there are lot’s of weeds, but it one of my zen zones which I very much appreciate these days.
I find it hard to focus, confined to home with no real schedule. I should have finished my second tour of the season by now and instead I find myself wondering when we might possibly get to go back to work. This is a major concern and I am trying not to dwell on it. I know this is a problem for people all over the world and it is heartbreaking.
Another major concern is that our schools have been closed since the mid-winter break started on February 22. Filippo, in his 5th and final year of High School, is thankfully very autonomous and his high school, Liceo Scientifico, has been on the ball in getting video lessons up and running. I believe only one of his teachers is not doing online lessons and quite frankly, it doesn’t surprise me. This is a professor that is disinterested and lazy at the best of times and he needs to retire. Fortunately it is a subject that Filippo is interested in and as a guide, I have a fair amount of knowledge in, so we make it work. What he could learn from this Prof is not fundamental for his academic future but it could make him a more interesting citizen of the world if taught well and drive his imagination. You are welcome to guess the subject matter but I won’t say any more as I wouldn’t want to make my son’s life miserable by incriminating one of his teachers on the off chance that he sees my blog.
Emanuele, my baby is in his second year of middle school, and it is getting harder and harder to drag him out of bed in the morning. The first half of our day is still all about school, but now it’s all done at home with a new system that seems to be evolving on a weekly basis. We have had two video lessons so far and hopefully there will be more coming soon. The teachers are pretty good about assigning homework, but there is too much stuff that needs to be printed and I am not sure what I am going to do when the printer cartridge runs out of ink. Turning in assignments is another project that seems to be evolving and until now has been time consuming. I am sure by the time I’ve got the current program figured out, there will be a new one to learn. Bureaucratic practices are still in place and they seem to be on Viagra these days. This seems to be true for our government too. Every other day they publish a new set of authorization papers that we need to go anywhere outside of our homes in case we are stopped during random controls designed to enforce the quarantine. After this crisis is over, we will need to remind our politicians that they actually are capable of making decisions and getting things done fairly efficiently, but they need to cut back on the paperwork.
As I was writing the first part of this yesterday, I was hoping for some good news at the end of the day. It did not come. The number of deaths in Italy was nearly 950 people, Spain had over 500 and the increase in the number of cases in the US is terrifying even if there haven’t been as many deaths as a percentage of the population. I will continue to hope it stays that way and I am looking to China for inspiration. The Chinese came down hard with their quarantine and are now more worried about new cases coming from external rather than internal contagion. They are also offering their help and experience to the world. One of the first things they said to the Italians on arrival is that there were still too many people out and about, the Italian reaction was to lock things down even more than before. We can’t just go out for walks or any exercise anymore, our parks are closed. Unless I need essentials, I am confined to not going more than 200 meters from home. For my essentials, I cannot leave my towns’s limits, hence me wondering what to do when I run out of printer ink. I haven’t used my car for nearly 3 weeks as I take the opportunity to go shopping to have a walk as well.
One of the things that bothers me at this time despite knowing it is necessary, is having people policing our movements because not everyone is thoughtful enough to respect the level of selflessness required in this situation and respect the rules. Most people are, but there are always just enough people who think that nothing could possible happen to them or just simply don’t care. The problem in this situation, is that it is slowing down the process of flattening the curve that will allow all of us to get back to life as is was, for better or for worse. The Italians have given out more sanctions to people for going out when and where they shouldn’t be right now than there are Corona virus cases in the country. Not only is this punishable with a hefty fine, €400-€3000. If someone known to have the Corona virus and is quarantined at home, obviously all the people who live there are also in quarantine, even if their test results are negative. Everyone who reads this should say, “well yeah, duh!” If someone violates there quarantine, the penalty is up to five years in prison. How can this not be enough to dissuade people from breaking the rules? I don’t get it!
I have rattled on long enough and hope this is coherent. I am going to wrap this up by counting a few of my blessings. I am at home with three of the most important people in my life and we are healthy. My friends and extended family are healthy and the couple of people I personally know (and haven’t been exposed to) who are sick, seem to have mild cases of corona virus. The cold weather and snow we got a few days ago doesn’t seem to have stolen spring from the garden. I have faith that if enough of us respect the quarantine, we will start to see some positive results within a few weeks. Io ho ancora speranza…I still have hope.