Day 31: One month down

Thursday, 17th April

What will tomorrow look like?

As I was reading the latest coronanews this evening, I realised my frantic need to keep up had calmed down. It’s been over a month now and we have another month to go, more or less. I am no longer stunned by the surrealism of the situation, or the number of deaths announced. I am left wondering, like everyone else, what tomorrow will look like.

Many of us feel this way. This week, I was emailing with an old friend who lives in New York. She and her partner have just been through a very scary time: he caught Covid-19 and ended up in hospital with pneumonia. Fortunately, he is now out of harm’s way and recovering. She tells me she does not want to go back to life the way it was before.

Working from home

For a few years now, friends in the US and in the UK have been able to opt for a less hectic rhythm by working from home: clearly, anglo-saxon companies are much more comfortable with their workers doing this. The French still have a way to go. Here in Lyon, my former colleagues at the news channel where I used to work have suddenly all been equipped with the material needed to work from home since confinement started, and guess what? It’s working. They had been asking to be able to work remotely for years, mostly for family reasons, but the employer was very reluctant. The question is: will it resume once confinement ends?

I decide to make myself a proper office upstairs rather than a temporary one. I have been working from home for a couple of years now and usually choose to sit in the sunny kitchen to work on my laptop when the kids are at school. But now, I feel the need for my own space.

Going on staycation

School Easter holidays start in a couple of days. We were supposed to go to Sète to visit my father, but that won’t be possible right now. I spoke to him this morning. Though he keeps himself very busy I sense he is looking forward to resuming a relatively normal life – albeit one that will include face masks and social distancing! I hope he is right.

In the meantime, we will have to holiday here, and find ways of making it fun. Especially as we no longer have access to our shared garden: someone has put a padlock on the gate preventing anyone from entering – until now, the gate had been left open. Apparently, some neighbour has decided to take the law into their own hands… while we knew that shared gardens were not supposed to be used during the lockdown, we supposed there would be some kind of tolerance if we were respectful of others and didn’t gather in big groups of make too much noise. Clearly, not everyone agrees. It’s interesting how this confinement has brought about both inspiring examples of solidarity but also the worst in people. There have been several articles in the French papers on the soaring number of calls to police by people denouncing their neighbours for petty infringements to the strict lockdown. We call the local councillor who helped us set up the shared garden, and she confirms this: she says they are overwhelmed with calls. It is scarily reminiscent of WWII under the Nazi-friendly Vichy government – shudder.

Stay out : some citizens take the law into their own hands in French lockdown

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