Ponderings

And so ends another surreal week in these corona times. For brief periods in the supermarket or at home, it can seem as though the world is normal. Then reality intrudes and you are in these unprecedented times again, where nobody knows where we are or how this is going to end. Frequently I feel as though I am trapped in the movie Contagion.

Because I work in the Swedish Parliament and government, I am still working, but in a different way. Work that is classified or confidential in any way cannot be done online, so I go in to work. Sweden is running a skeleton parliament, where only 55 of the 349 members are making all the decisions. Those 55 are all alternates in all the committees so it is like a warped version of speed dating or musical chairs. But they are getting the job done, and there are jokes that this proves that Sweden only needs 55 MPs anyway.

Work that is not classified is done online, and I have seen other sides of my clients. I have seen the human side – pets, children, messy kitchens and rumpled hair. And I have seen the worried side, the lonely side and the joint realisation that the world will never be the same again. We will come out the other side, but we will all be changed.

This week I have accidentally worn two different pairs of shoes.

and then, half an hour later, been stuck in an elevator for over an hour because none of the elevator repair people were at work.

The cat had emergency surgery in an almost-deserted veterinary facility. In a way I was grateful because he received immediate care.

My husband and I signed the penultimate papers for our new apartment, while wondering if we will be able to move after all. The movers have notified us that they have a skeleton crew but may not be able to enter homes in two weeks.

I watched as my family and friends in South Africa went into a 21 day lockdown at midnight on Thursday. This stripping of rights will be enforced by an army still viewed with mistrust in reminiscence of the worst of apartheid. I worry about all the people in informal settlements, without water or food, and wonder how on earth they are going to survive in one of the most unequal countries on earth. I have donated to charities – including animal charities, in the hope that it will make a tiny bit of difference, but I doubt it. If the virus gets a good grip on South Africa with it’s crumbling infrastructure, disaster will ensue.

Sweden remains cautiously open, with no gatherings over 50 allowed but a great deal of trust placed in the people to self-isolate and be careful. The Prime Minister has been very clear that if the people do not obey, stricter measures will be put in place.

Stockholm’s exhibition centre is being turned in to a hospital by the military. Measures are in place to help small businesses and make it easier to claim sickness and unemployment benefit. But the economy will be shattered anyway. Even in this rich country, COVID-19 will almost certainly bring about mass unemployment and a deep recession.

One of the good things in this whole disaster is that you do realise what is important – family, health, and being able to get through each day. We don’t need to consume as much as we have been consuming, or travel far away for holidays. My husband and I are supposed to be moving in a month, my daughter is moving to their new apartment 10 days later. We have tickets to travel to South Africa in July and my daughter is getting married in August. All of that is in limbo now but surprisingly, we are taking it in our stride, just taking it day by day. Maybe living in the moment is what it should all be about anyway. What do you think?



Categories: Personal

6 replies

  1. Big hugs to your cat, pets are family and I know it’s painful to see them suffer.

    In Greece we went to lockdown relatively quickly and I feel so good about this decision. Having Italy as a neighbour I think helps us realise what to do and what to avoid, somehow the shock alarm is bigger when danger is on your doorstep. I think countries who choose a relaxed approach play a bit of a gamble here. It all comes down to economics of course, and on paper it’s easy to say that some deaths are preferable to an economic depression. But: how do you choose who’s to die? Will this approach feel as right when a loved one dies? In my opinion people should count more than money. I’ve been trying to get informed about how other countries handle this. Italy hasn’t stopped warning other countries against the mistakes they did, they keep telling us that they underestimated the danger and didn’t isolate soon enough. Spain took drastic measures once they saw their statistics rise. French doctors admit they didn’t react soon enough even though they could and now have to face the consequences. The USA is in complete denial and the UK seems to daydream. I live in Greece now, a country that was beginning to recover from a ten-year long depression, and it’s certain that this situation will invalid all our efforts. And yet I’m grateful that we are in lockdown. Because we have our fair share of people who don’t get it, who see conspiracies everywhere, who don’t care, who think they are invulnerable. We are being babysitted because the minority could infect the majority, that’s the truth. If common sense prevailed this pandemic wouldn’t had gotten this far.

    About the shoes: it happened to me too in the past. That’s an easy mistake when your reach for similar shoes with similar colours in the dark and you don’t wear your glasses. I blame myopia!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Janet, First, I am virtually sending hugs and pets to Fluffy! Hugs to you and Jan as well! Life here with Convid-19 has been a complete turnover of our everyday lives,,, Our nephew in West Yorkshire has had to move his wedding from late June to early October so now we need to contact the airlines, etc. With all this craziness a few of my cousins from Canada and here in Massachusetts got together on a vert impromptu FaceBook video call. It was quite funny because the rare times we have reunited, our hair and makeup, clothes are all done up, and here we were on camera—no makeup, messy hair, comfy clothes, and all we could do was laugh….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First and foremost, I hope your little one (the cat) is doing well!
    My husband and I live in a rural area but I work a part time job in a retail store that the governor of Ohio deemed to be “necessary” .
    What I have noticed is that nobody seems to care about social distancing or the “stay home unless you’re out for the essentials”. I see ages from very elderly to little kids out and about like it’s no big deal, buying things that certainly aren’t “essential”.
    The USA could very well end up like Italy simply because of people’s arrogance that “that can’t happen here”. It makes me so sad!
    My husband and I are part of our Volunteer Fire Department. He is a firefighter and I am an EMT in training (official school was supposed to start in a couple of weeks but will probably be cancelled). Our Department is doing ok on supplies for now but we have very strict guidelines from our Chief about using them and strict guidelines for responding to medical calls. It’s a sad and scary time which is going to get so much worse because of the public’s irresponsibility.
    Keep hanging in there!
    The two shoes….so so funny! I hope you were able to laugh about it at the time!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kimberley, I happened to stumble recently on a conversation on Reddit, from about 6 weeks ago. The comments were showing such ignorance and arrogance. “This is a virus for poor countries”, “Such virus could never travel to the USA”, “We have a strong health system, we have medicine to stop it”. there was a poor woman asking for advice because she has asthma and she wanted to be prepared and she was being attacked by everybody, it was insane, they were branding her paranoid!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First and foremost, I hope your little one (the cat) is doing well!
    My husband and I live in a rural area but I work a part time job in a retail store that the governor of Ohio deemed to be “necessary” .
    What I have noticed is that nobody seems to care about social distancing or the “stay home unless you’re out for the essentials”. I see ages from very elderly to little kids out and about like it’s no big deal, buying things certainly aren’t “essential”.
    The USA could very well end up like Italy simply because of people’s arrogance that “that can’t happen here”. It makes me so sad!
    My husband and I are part of our Volunteer Fire Department. He is a firefighter and I am an EMT in training (official school was supposed to start in a couple of weeks but will probably be cancelled). Our Department is doing ok on supplies for now but we have very strict guidelines from our Chief about using them and strict guidelines for responding to medical calls. It’s a sad and scary time which is going to get so much worse because of the public’s irresponsibility.
    Keep hanging in there!
    The two shoes….so so funny! I hope you were able to laugh about it at the time!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m really surprised that MPs are still going to work. Here they have to work from home. All jobs including strategic or confidential datas have been equiped with secure systems and phone lines. I work for the EU and we are all working from home. Sweden should be doing the same if they don’t want to see their death rate increase to the level of Italy or Spain.
    I don’t know what job at a parliament that can’t be done from home.

    Liked by 2 people

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