24 September 2020
23 September 2020
One thing I know—and this is the central paradox of COVID-19—is that despite the isolation, we are not alone. The pandemic has brought about a sense of shared human consciousness and experience. A friend emails to say: “I find I’m beginning to tune out the politics of it and get more into the humanity of it.” Maybe this is what COVID-19 means: a referendum on humanity. A societal performance review.
The only way to fight the plague is with decency.
Albert Camus (The Plague)
and for the winter, this:
19 September 2020
|artist: EJ Hill
This week has been somewhat tough, despite holiday rest. I did have that long overdue shingles vaccine on Tuesday because heaven forbid I catch a case of shingles while living in my isolation cocoon. But then again, R had it out of the blue this time last year and the friendly GP has been reminding me ever since.
So, with such splendid fatigue and a grand potpourri of aches and pains, I try to remind myself that, yes, this body is still my own.
Most days, I try to make a joke since after all, I have been working really hard to be one of those people who seem to live through all of this with courage and humour. And sarcasm. Don't forget sarcasm, that handy disguise of despair.
Anyway, don't try this at home, it doesn't work.
In the absence of any further cohesive thought from me, I will just paste a couple of things I have picked up along the way.
11 September 2020
Half way through my two week September holiday - and still more to come! A week each in October, November and December. The beauty of German civil service regulations.
I don't miss a thing, apart from maybe a visit to the seaside. I mostly sit on the patio, R's voice drifting out of his office upstairs, explaining to some (un)fortunate final year student the intricate workings of cell membrane structures, around me the busy noises of the retired neighbours exercising their expensive gardening tools.
I crawl out of bed every morning in disbelief that this body is actually me. Morning stiffness is a glorious euphemism. This is when dawdling comes in handy. Slow dawdling.
And so I fill my time with pleasant useless stuff until eventually, my limbs begin to respond to my wishes, at least enough to push the bicycle out into the world and get a move on. I have slowly but purposefully increased my daily distance to a now staggering 20 km, which is still a crying shame compared to my healthy past self. Anyway, must take things as they are. By the time I am back home, triumphant and sore, inflamed tendons screaming, more dawdling awaits.
And thinking, trying to explain the world in my head.
In no particular order, this is what's swirling around:
1. The covid conspiracy theories - there are people I know, who really truly want to believe that the world is good at its core, that all power lies with nature. And now this evil nature dishes up a creepy virus. So it must be someone else's fault. I have given up any desire to discuss this. I admit I have avoided phone calls.
2. Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through
our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that
democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.
3. Garden. Here is one blossom from each of the currently flowering plants. As of today. We are inundated by wasps this year and we have completely surrendered one apple tree and most of the grapes. They feed on it in a frenzy for a day and end up dead on the patio stones. In other words, they are starving. It won't last much longer.
4. Sir Ken Robinson died in August. I was a great fan. Watching this talk always brings me back to my student days, when I still had dreams of changing the way children are educated - something I soon realised as utopian on a grand scale. Anyway, listening to him still makes me a tiny bit hopeful.
had to agree have been told to reduce my home office work and, after this holiday, will have to go back working on campus for two days a week. My GP is not amused. In theory, there is a strict hygiene protocol incl. airing the room every 30 mins which I can just see happening in the winter months. Not.
6. I leave this here for general perusal (for source click here). When I am in my office, I'll be in the yellow. But currently, only 40 cases in my city.
Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from asymptomatic people in different settings and for different occupation times, venting, and crowding levels (ignoring variation in susceptibility and viral shedding rates). Face covering refers to those for the general population and not high grade respirators. The grades are indicative of qualitative relative risk and do not represent a quantitative measure. Other factors not presented in these tables may also need to be taken into account when considering transmission risk, including viral load of an infected person and people’s susceptibility to infection. Coughing or sneezing, even if these are due to irritation or allergies while asymptomatic, would exacerbate risk of exposure across an indoor space, regardless of ventilation.7. We are in for another heat wave, apparently.
8. This week's music is in memory of R's parents, who taught this to my daughter one day driving back from the beach.