By Marina Akarepi
Five weeks have passed. Every single night I’ve been going to bed early, even earlier than before, when I had to get up for work. And yet I’ve been finding myself waking up in the middle of the night, by a weird new feeling, like a gap in my sternum, a chasm that violently pushes through my chest.
The sun has been brighter than ever. As if it is trying to seduce us into a promise, only to take it away just before we smile back.
I am walking to the mini market, warily. There is a bunch of bullies outside, ‘rebels’ who refuse to practice social distancing. I politely ask them to move away from the door so I can get in. They start intimidating me. Sarcasm, insults. Some things will never change. Even if it is the end of the world, bullies will still find a way to harass you. Even when harassment no longer requires any physical contact, but only a physical presence.
I ignore the comments and get in the shop. The -usually cheery and friendly- shopkeeper is looking frightened and avoids making eye contact with the customers. I let the elderly couple behind me go first, then after they leave I approach the counter smiling. He looks at me and finally his expression changes a bit. First he looks hesitant then he smiles back. I make a joke. He laughs, he seems a bit hesitant still. I know this silly joke could be the only positive thing he is going to hear all day.
I start walking back. And around me there are two types of desperate people. Those that are physically intoxicated, trying to survive another pointless day with the company of a cheap bottle of wine, wandering around as if they have been blinded by the only consistent thing in their lives: alcohol. And then there are those who are even more desperate: the sober ones, the ones that are mentally intoxicated. I can see them observing me intensely. Like they have somehow gained X-ray vision. Could I potentially be infected? Did I cough when they were not looking? Have I washed my vegetables thoroughly? Damn it. I turned around in the corner. Now they will never know.
I have been avoiding checking my phone. I am sick of ‘celebrities’ being bored. I am sick of Trump’s excruciatingly slow speech. I am sick of challenges and invitations on social media, awkward and unorthodox banter in my DMs, chain messages asking me to ‘share it’, supposedly motivational posts about productivity… How much can I tolerate when ‘positivity’ is essentially criticising me for not having learnt a couple of new languages, not having taken up a new hobby and not having built sexy abs for the Gram? I am sick of it all.
I just want to go back to work. I have been forced into a transition from an overwhelming routine that was crushing my spirit from the outside in to an overwhelming silence that is crushing me from the inside out. My reproductive system is rebelling. My skin is complaining. And yet I am expected to pick a new hobby. The world is there to judge me like I am an ungrateful brat. Like I am supposed to say thank you for this new situation.
I still remember my otherwise bold manager’s blank expression on our last shift. That night I went home and felt the weight of his silence hitting me harder than any loud argument ever could.
Some friends called me selfish for going to work until the very end. I imagine that they would be happier if I had quit, even if that meant that I’d be starving now. I would have ‘saved lives’, even if that had cost me my own. Reason does not exist anymore. It’s been replaced by a pathological aggressiveness. A manic urge to find someone to blame, since the real enemy is invisible.
I am opening the letter they put through the door. Boris is writing to ask me to stay home. He has enclosed instructions to show me how to wash my hands correctly.
I check my inbox. Numerous companies have e-mailed me to inform me that they will only be accepting contactless payments from now on.
I guess we are well prepared for this new reality. After all, haven’t our lives been contactless for a while now? New Media. Isolation. Disinfection. None of this is news. Networking, friendships, sex. They have been contactless for a long time. It won’t be that hard to adapt.
*Article for a column about quarantine days of coronavirus pandemic
Το 3point magazine είναι ένα οριζόντια δομημένο μέσο που πιστεύει ότι η γνώμη όλων έχει αξία και επιδιώκει την έκφρασή της. Επικροτεί τα σχόλια, την κριτική και την ελεύθερη έκφραση των αναγνωστών του επιδιώκοντας την αμφίδρομη επικοινωνία μαζί τους.
Σε μια εποχή όμως που ο διάλογος τείνει να γίνεται με όρους ανθρωποφαγίας και απαξίωσης προς πρόσωπα και θεσμούς, το 3point δεν επιθυμεί να συμμετέχει. Για τον λόγο αυτόν σχόλια ρατσιστικού, υβριστικού, προσβλητικού, σεξιστικού περιεχομένου θα σβήνονται χωρίς ειδοποίηση του εκφραστή τους.
Ακόμα, το 3point magazine έχει θέσει εαυτόν απέναντι στο φασισμό και τις ποικίλες εκφράσεις του. Έτσι, σχόλια ανάλογου περιεχομένου θα έχουν την ίδια μοίρα με τα ανωτέρω, τη γνωριμία τους με το "delete".
Τέλος, τα ενυπόγραφα άρθρα εκφράζουν το συντάκτη τους και δε συμπίπτουν κατ' ανάγκην με την άποψη του 3point.