Everything has become eerie and there is tension in the air. Merchants at the market wore gloomy and long faces, because people have stopped buying perishable supplies. Around half of the usual stands were open. Almost all butchers were missing, I got meat from the sole one left and the hygiene was appalling. I guess that’s why he still had meat, I’ll just cook it throughly.
The man who sell chicken was particularly combative about the situation, “they’re telling us that we should close! What are people going to eat! we can’t close!”, complained as he packed the chicken breasts. “Even if there’s a government decree, we will continue selling. We can’t afford take even one day off”. I inferred that a sizable amount of his capital was the inventory he sells, and he couldn’t afford to let it spoil.
It seems this new reality extends like a slow moving tsunami and us on the opposite side of the epicenter are the last to receive it. We are lucky to have that amount of foresight. In Mexico, it is not clear yet if closing schools and this voluntary confinement has worked so far. I sure hope so. Even if the measure works, the precautions and the scare will delay the return to normality, and we will have to learn to learn to live in confinement.
Half of people seem to think it’s an exaggerated response, the other half seems to think we are not doing enough. I think it’s just right: if we meet the outbreak with the same measures that were applied in Europe we will suffer the same fate, but at the same time the situation does not merit a lockdown.
In the morning imagination took me to fanciful scenarios: what if I quarantined myself during forty days? I’d need to stockpile on food and hole myself up. I wouldn’t want it to be very strict, I’d just not invite anyone over and not leave the house. I’d need to change my diet substantially (I normally rely on perishables) and…
The reality of the market made me notice this is not a time to engage in escapism. There are too many unknowns to commit to a game of strict self-confinement. But the opposite approach (committing to a somber war-like confinement) is not merited either. Something in between is taking form, it lacks the playfulness of a game, but it has romantic notions which are playful. It has not the gloom of war, but it will not be free of suffering.
Let’s see how this goes.