Unbelievably enough, I have already survived my week of complete confinement and all I can do is wonder how human beings can deal with changes. I got used to my confinement routine, which is pretty relaxing, to working online and to communicating face to face only with my boyfriend. It all makes me wonder how much I was in need of disconnecting a bit from the rowdy hectic of city life. No more cars menacing to hit me while they’re crossing in red, no more morning shouting from those who got up in a bad mood and no more angry faces around me. Still refreshing. It seems that the slogan “you’re not locked at home, you’re safe there” has sunk in. I definitely feel unthreatened from the aggressivity I have to cope with everyday by merely going to the street.
There are already rumours about letting people go back to normal life in a gradual way but that is not going to happen before the fist week of May. The city’s voice now is the peace and quite of some birds chirping joyfully. We have all seen amazing pictures of wild boars taking up some desert avenues. It’s quiet here, so they don’t fear humans.
The most relevant event of the past 7 days has been visiting my father in hospital. I went there before lunch so that I could see him and help him with this simple and basic activity of eating once more. The wing in which Covid-19 patients are, was extremely quiet as if even nurses and doctors feared waking up the enraged fatal virus. I have been to several hospitals quite a few times n the past five months, and I have always found the cheerful talks of the staff very reassuring.
The silence in the pavilion gave me the creeps. Most doctors and nurses where dressed up with enough protection to give Covid-19 no chance: gown, mask, gloves and most of them caps. My father’s doctor, a young woman, wasn’t wearing any head protection so I wondered whether mine was necessary.
I was allowed to be with my father and help him have lunch and we were given as much privacy as possible so that we could try to communicate. He seemed very calm and at one point I wondered whether he really understood that it was going to be the last time we see each other. As I was reflecting on his attitude, all of a sudden he gave me a very tender look and I perceived that he did know but he was short of words to express what he wanted.
My father has always been a bit of a mystery because he preferred to keep his feelings and thoughts concealed from everybody. It was only through analysis of his movements, smiles, silences, gestures and looks, that one could grasp what was going on with him. In that sense he is the complete opposite to me. I really have to be thankful for the past 5 months because they have helped me grasp his real personality, and to see the part of himself that has made me the way I am.
When I went back home, I felt I had done what I needed and felt I at peace with myself and my life with my parents.
From the moment I entered the flat I knew I shouldn’t get out for 14 days. I was definitely more anxious about it a week ago than now and it is definitely because I know the total confinement is only a week more to go.
Some people go to Montserrat to enjoy a week of cloister life to detoxify from the brutality of the routine in a capitalist society. It has taken a Covid-19 crisis for me to have the break for the reflection I missed.
And maybe I feel less nervous due to the fact that I trust in the experience of the ones in charge of this crisis. They made their mistakes, and not few to be honest, might have learned from them and they won’t let people go back to their lives till it’s more or less safe.
In the meantime I have to see the bright side of everything: the confinement has made me save a lot of money on Easter holidays and day trips. Needless to say I hadn’t planned any lavish meals out or exotic travels but rather a 4-day camping holiday in Costa Brava to explore the towns I still don’t know. Instead of enjoying amazing views and the see, I have had to learn to cope with the day-to-day problems of working from home.
In spite of the fact that not having to wake up early is indeed alluring, telework involves never really switching off and sitting in front of the computer for long hours because you never leave your office. I bet most of us have been productive for half the day only because there was nothing really urgent to do with our lives any more.
In this Covid-19 scenario, replying to mails for work or trying to organise your tasks in a more efficient way, seemed like a very useful leisure activity. I don’t live in a house I can continuously embellish or have a garden I can take care of. And the only room I could still improve was the washing machine one, so the job did not take up too much time.
Maybe I am the only one pondering in which ways the confinement might have changed me, but I suppose there will be a before and an after this nightmare for some people anyway. I am sure I will have learned that staying at home is sometimes what we really need to have a rest and switch from the world. And the best option when we are far too tired to get out. We are continuously put under pressure to be in perpetual motion or to rush into places clogged with people to take part in events. That is supposed to be “cool”.
Adapting to work from home has been the real challenge so far. I belong to the community of teachers that have been overwhelmed by the amount of work generated with the transfer from the teaching/learning in school to the teaching/learning from home. If any teacher has been mad enough to try to teach online the same way as in the usual classroom setting, he or she might have had no sleep at all during these 3 weeks. We have to adapt contents to the circumstances and take into account that most students don’t have a PC of their own at home.
For those families that struggle to make ends meet at the end of the month, buying a laptop for the whole family is already difficult, let alone one for each member. For this reason, when the confinement started and employees were sent home to work from there, teachers had to face a new challenge: becoming flexible and imaginative to allow those students with less technological resources to be able to complete tasks that did not demand so much time in front of the computer.
The workload to be handed in and the amount of work to be corrected will have to be carefully measured in order not to make the learning and teaching process a real nightmare. One more to add to this Covid-19 crisis that has made the world realise human beings don’t control nature at all. Will we have become a bit humbler after this?
With still a couple more confinement weeks ahead of us, we have to bear in mind that life requires constant adaptation and reassessment. Let’s see if many teachers then prefer to keep on being only on the other side of the screen to feel safe…