Phase 0

When this is what dinner becomes.

It’s been one of those days, another one of those days, when you think it’s Monday but it’s actually Wednesday, when you think it’s eleven in the morning but it’s four in the afternoon.

Before you know it, the clapping party has started and you’re watching the Big Bang Theory in Spanish and polishing off a Magnum Double Cherry ice cream bar. Outside, the neighbours are pumping techno through the green hills of Galicia, and you just wish it would end.

Luckily, there are only three to a box.

And, apparently, it will end. What 46.7 million have been hoping for has finally been announced – Spain’s “deescalation” measures. First step – Phase 0. On May 2nd, this Saturday, we will be released from our homes and be allowed to go out for a walk.

It’s not yet clear where we can walk and for how long, but that’s not important. Already news reports talk of the sunny skies expected for this weekend, an “early summer hot spell” to lead us back out into the light. Finally, something to mark on the calendar. Green pen. All caps. OUTSIDE.

Where I was walking this time last year.

At the end of June, if we pass Phase 1, 2 and 3 successfully, we will enter what the government is calling the “new normality.” This new normality will likely be wearing a face mask and surgical gloves. But, perhaps, it will allow trains to be booked, even planes.

Maybe some people from foreign countries who’ve said they’re stuck in Spain because of a lockdown will have to quit eating ice cream bars and make decisions about their futures, again.

The view that just keeps on giving.

While lockdowns around the world have tested the mettle of millions, the return to the “new normality” could pose its own set of problems. Especially for those of us who suffer from what people like to call First World problems.

For some of us the lockdown has provided the perfect cover for the existential angst we usually mask by calling ourselves writers who preach living in the moment whilst storing boxes at our nearly 80-year old mother’s house. We’re kept awake at night by worrying about what address to put on our driver’s license.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree,” said Martin Luther. How about edible flowers?

While so many complain of lockdown loneliness, I’ve rarely felt more connected. I’m no longer the only person walking alone through the streets of Bueu, or perusing the supermarket shelves. Everywhere I look, people are just like me. Too bad that when I try to smile at them, in the spirit of camaraderie, they’re wearing a mask. But I’d like to think they’re smiling back.

Also, I’m no longer the only one who has no idea what her future holds. Finally, we’re all in Phase 0 together. Welcome, everyone. It’s really not as bad as it seems.

What about your career as foster mother for the kittens of Galicia?

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