Chronicles of the Virus Day 4

My first venture outside!

Yesterday afternoon I just had to stock up on fruit, to keep up my vitamin C; on diesel for our tractor, because the potatoes will not wait to be planted; and on cat food, because otherwise, I'm cat food.

So, I got in the car and drove slowly, savoring the smooth movement of the tires on the asphalt, warm wind blowing in through the open window. At the gas station, the attendant took the container from me at arm's length, and we exchanged money from a meter away, as well. When I got to the supermarket, the first words from the cashier by the door were, "Gloves are on the table!" 

The supermarket still had shelves without toilet paper. There must now be a world-wide supply problem. There was no problem with other things, and there were fruit and vegetables to choose from, even fresh fish. But the entire place reeked of bleach, and there was a cleaner spraying the mixture of bleach and water everywhere, and wiping it off. All the supermarket workers were wearing blue nitrile gloves and masks. Where did they get them, the black market?

In front of the seafood, meat, and cold cuts counters were black tapes on the floor. No one could get any closer. People could reach to receive package, but only just about. And when the person serving and the person receiving are both short (five feet is all I could do), then it does become a bit more difficult.

At the checkout counter, there was also tape on the floor, giving each client one square meter around them. At this, our local supermarket, the cashier was accepting cash, but at larger places in cities, they accept cards only. By the door was a bin, and customers were asked to deposit their gloves there. 

This morning I had to return, because my mother-in-law pressed me into service. I also went to the pharmacy, where they also had tape and even a barrier, to keep people apart, with the pharmacist wearing gloves, though not masks. At the supermarket this time, though, there was an employee at the door and a line stretching down the sidewalk, each person well separated from the other. As one left, another was allowed entry. I rushed through, so those waiting outside could come in quickly to get what they needed. I picked up everything on my mother-in-law's list and some more strawberries for me. Oh, and cat food. I can never have too much cat food.

While yesterday I didn't see policemen anywhere, this morning there were two stopping the cars going into and out of town. They asked each driver where they were going. There have been people who haven't been paying much attention to the quarantine, and the online newspapers have already started mentioning that the police are not playing pat-a-cake with infractors. 

The army is also out and about on the streets of larger cities and the roads. Where they might think about patrolling, as well, is deep in the woods. Last night, with warmer temperatures, and a nice northerly breeze, we had our first forest fire in the hills. With the ground as soaked as it is, it wasn't accidental.

You know people have begun getting restless when a major national newspaper publishes articles on things you can fix at home to pass the time. "How to fix a leaky cistern," is an article from El País. And there are some cops that, in their daily search of infractors, try to make the quarantine a little easier for those that comply. In Almería, a police car arrived at an urbanization with its siren on. It stopped, a policeman stepped out, and started dancing to a children's song while the neighbors filmed and laughed. 

But there won't be many laughs or applause this May on a Saturday night. The Eurovision Song Contest for 2020, to be celebrated in Rotterdam, has been cancelled. It's the first time in its sixty-five year history it's happened. Other things have been pushed further into the year. I think I heard the Roland Garros tennis tournament will be celebrated in September. A European soccer tournament has been changed for next year. The Feria de Abril, faithfully celebrated every year in Sevilla, rain or shine, is also moved to September. Life is being put on hold at the moment, and we are going to have to learn to amuse ourselves with what we have, or each other.

Life continues.

Waiting to enter the supermarket.


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