?? This time in English.
Curitiba, Wednesday 22.04.2020
Hello from Brazil. Let me first start by asking how you are doing and sending you the best wishes for physical and mental health during our global lockdown. We are in this together, if this serves as any consolation. I hope you are having fun with online exercising and with the dozens of films, books, series, operas, exhibitions, Instagram feeds recommendations. Are there any interesting Lives you want to share?
Last Friday I drove to the farm to bring groceries, mail, and medicine (sleeping tablets, painkillers) to my parents. They’ve been quarantined there for over a month already. I was also looking forward to having less access to the internet and my phone. Raul and I have been taking turns in keeping them company. There is a feeling of anxiety in this coming and going, even though we are all trying our best to social distance (both in the city and at the farm). But I guess the anxiety is normal, as it also happens every time I get into a supermarket, go for a run or simply take the lift downstairs to collect my deliveries (of books, artisan bread and lunchboxes). It feels as if the virus is everywhere and that I will surely breathe contaminated droplets at any moment. The urge to go out, however, beats any anxiety.
While I was at the farm I kept thinking about how to develop a community over there. Who would want to live there? How many people would we need to have most of our basic needs in check? How would the rules be so that everybody could live in harmony? How much space could we occupy rationally? I have always thought about the farm as a place of last resort in case everything in the world goes wrong. But lately, the appeal has never been higher, don’t you agree?
Anyway, in the end, all of these considerations are more food for thought than actual planning. Unless everything in the world does go terribly wrong. However, certain aspects of life before all our attention turned into corona can be felt there. We have not had much rain lately. In fact, rainfall has been diminishing over the years. At the same time, the weather has been perfect. Perfect for humans who want to have fun and enjoy endless sunshine, but awful for the rhythms of Nature, which need the temperatures to come down at a certain point, and for the rain to fall. For the first time in many years, I have been beaten by a bug, both on the top of my but cheeks’ crevice and on my elbow. It itches like crazy! First I thought it would just go away, but 12 days on and the blister is still here, itching and getting purple.
As much as we keep reading that pollution levels have dropped and so on and so forth, don’t blink twice. The Amazon is still being torn down, the ice is still melting in Greenland and there has been a surge in plastic usage for all the protection we need against each other’s sneezes. Albeit these last pessimistic paragraphs, I hold my hopes high. Just yesterday I watched an interview with French President Emmanuel Macron for the Financial Times and let’s hope he is right about the post corona world order.
Living in Brazil during this pandemic has not been so much fun on the mental health side. The virus has infected our politics, which was already incredibly divisive before it and now has become even more so. Brazil has joined Belarus, Nicaragua and Turkmenistan on the small list of countries whose leaders downplay the virus. We also have, like America, demonstrations against the quarantine measures and people begging the military to take control of the government. So now when we go out and see somebody not wearing a face mask, you tend to believe the person is a fascist. Life could be so much simpler.
Today I went on the Emirates website just to see if they are flying anywhere. Apparently there was a flight from Dubai to São Paulo yesterday. A friend of mine who works for the airline and is confined at home in Dubai said operations may restart July 1st. It is so strange not to see planes in the sky anymore. They were a constant fixture from my balcony at home. This made me realize that never before have we all been confined to our homelands. The Swedes are all in Sweden, Brazilians in Brazil, Germans in Germany and so on. Like cattle on the farm, where each group has a distinct paddock, we are all paddocked in our countries, unable to go in and out. Even with the few flights, there is nowhere we can go to as entry restrictions forbid us from doing so. Crazy days. So much so because my mental sanity relied on the fact that even though I lived far from you, I could jump in a plane and be with you in less than 24 hours have we fancied (or needed) to.
Another thought that keeps creeping up is the perishability of time. I always know there were perishable items such as milk or eggs or meat. But it never occurred to me that time is as perishable as a carrot. The time you don’t enjoy today will never be available to enjoy later. And we waste so much of it! And this thought urges me to enjoy life to the fullest, to go dancing, to hug friends, to explore the world. But all I can do now is write, drink and take drugs (just kidding on the drugs, of course).
Well, too much of Vicente’s brain for today. I just hope you are ok and that we keep our bond through these days until we can jump on planes again, and go to the theatre, and visit new restaurants, and explore cities, and drive to the Moon!