Government curfew, Day 66.
As the United States slowly reopens this Memorial Day weekend, restaurants flinging open their doors, barbers unsheathing their shears, and beach goers rushing for the sun, sand, and surf, we find ourselves still, forever, always, confined to our home, day 66 of a government curfew. What was once an islandwide curfew has slowly lifted in various parts of the island over the last several weeks, leaving only Colombo and one other city still under lockdown.
Supposedly, that is to come to an end starting tomorrow when the curfew will lift in Colombo for the first time, from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. The rhythm of our daily life will likely not change much. My office remains closed for the time being, and the kids will finish out the school year online. We can’t travel outside of Colombo, and flights off the island are limited. We aren’t yet comfortable going to the grocery or other stores or restaurants that may reopen (except for takeout), because while the reporting on the virus is mostly reliable, there’s no way to know for sure what’s going on in the country, or — perhaps, more importantly — what will happen when the curfew lifts. Social distancing isn’t really a thing in crowded parts of South Asia, where the only way to get anything from life is to maneuver on, around, or through a constant press of bodies. I am hopeful, but pragmatic.
My thinking has evolved over the past ten weeks. We’ve felt anxiety, hope, contentment, happiness, and yes, fear, too.
I don’t know if it is the specific nature of the global pandemic and the resulting economic catastrophe or the lack of leadership. I remember a time trusting or knowing there were smart capable people, experts, who would help us navigate challenging circumstances and make difficult decisions, but I’m not hearing those voices. I’m not sure if it’s because I am older now, and the voices I would have once trusted and listened to at one point in my life, I have since come to learn are no wiser than my own voice. Gone is the naïveté of ignorance. Or maybe the situation really is that unique, new, and complicated. Most likely, we are all going to have to figure out what to do ourselves. Just like Elise and I have already been doing for the last ten weeks. One day at a time.
The wonders of the curfew continue. Elise and Clementine made homemade spring rolls, including homemade wonton wrappers.
Here is the live demonstration:
We pitched a tent in our living, a shelter for the kids from the confusing world outside these four walls.
And we put out the bird feeder. It’s taking time for the birds to find the feeder (though the squirrels didn’t have a problem).
I recently read this article by Mari Andrew “I Miss This Already” in Medium about how it is possible (and likely) we will be nostalgic for this time in our lives, despite the fact it comes amidst so much pain, so much misfortune. And while I realize I am lucky we are in a position where we don’t have to worry about our next paycheck, still, this doesn’t surprise me at all.
“I know there will be a day when I’m sipping a spritz in a bar again, surrounded by people. It may be years from now but I believe it will happen — I can see myself trying to get a drink at the busy counter, the crowd elbowing each other to get the bartender’s attention. On that early evening, I see myself missing the creativity, appreciation, and connection that quarantine has kindled. I’ll recognize that it feels uncomfortable to miss something that has caused so much suffering, and yet, it’s the place where I lived for a time, along with every other person on the planet.”