19 Days In Quarantine

Pier Sfriso

What day is it today? It doesn’t matter!

Pier Sfriso

That’s what happens when there is an important shift in attention from the old everyday life to the new one. You stop paying attention to things that ruled your life before, like school and work, and deadlines and emails. Today we have other things ruling our lives.

To clear some confusion, we’ve been home since Feb 22, 2020, when Veneto, our region, first implemented the quarantine and asked people to stay home as they announced an important Coronavirus outbreak in Lombardy and Veneto. That was 19 days ago.

As of this past Monday, March 9, 2020, the rest of Italy went under lockdown as well, and as of today, further restrictions are enforced.

We can look at it in two ways: 1) we are 19 days ahead of nearly everybody else and, 2) we are 19 days into a complete resetting of our lives.

The frightening and growing numbers of infections, the constant restrictions in our lives, the doctor’s appointment that is canceled because the doctor has a fever and you wonder if it has to do with COVID-19. Suddenly, a doctor’s appointment for our daughter becomes not that urgent.

The constant mess in the house because we are all home 24/7, the fear of watching the news because there’s never good news, the lack of business and sales and having no idea if and when we’ll be able to make up for lost business.

We stopped buying stuff, we stopped driving to places, we haven’t filled up our tank for three weeks, and we haven’t used our credit cards either. The washing machine is barely used, the dishwasher is always running, and we hope nothing will break down in the house because now is not the time.

We look out the window at our winery and realize how privileged we are because we can’t imagine what it’s like for people in the cities, or for people with less means. We think of our friends who work with tourism who have gone silent with worry because tourism is dead right now. We think of people who need to work to put food on the table, who have no income because of the restrictions, but yet have rent to pay. We think of all our colleagues who depend on bars, restaurants, and hotels to sell their products.

Society is being reset. People are anxious, scared, and thoughtful. They want to point fingers, but who to blame for initial negligence when no one understood what this virus was about? While we are all in this together to contain the virus, there is no economic plan to help everyone afterward. No one has any idea of how and when our lives will get back to normal, or even if it will be like it was before.

And then there is the unspoken worry that by the time Italy gets out of this mess, the rest of the world will still be dealing with it, prolonging the time we can all get back to a new, and possibly, better normal lives.

In the meantime, while the number of infections in Italy is expected to exponentially increase over the coming days we stay home and cherish these moments together.