Editor’s blog

Coronavirus: Second week in the trenches

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

That is not the author in the picture in case you were concerned.
That is not the author in the picture in case you were concerned.

Related tags mask Coronavirus WFH

Operating under real restrictions now - a curfew imposed from 10pm to 5am in the morning in this part of France – we just hope the dog has no urgent needs.

‘WFH’ is slowing turning into ‘WTF’… ah no, we have got this licked. But schoolwork for the youngest is playing second fiddle to the day job.

My telephone interviews are stretching out, much longer than usual. People want to talk, no I mean really talk, to share their stories of ‘bunkerdom’, simultaneously scrambling to mute the noise of children letting loose.

Now how the hell am I going to transcribe all that?

Here horns are honking, but only in the evening, as the apartment dwellers on our street, in what has become a nightly ritual, crane their necks, put their hands together, and salute ‘les éboueurs’​ - our trusty rubbish collectors; they certainly count as ‘essential workers’.

Most who venture out here are wearing a mask now, some more makeshift than others.

No balcony, but we are getting creative, a picnic on our roof, with others virtually invited - it is not as scary as it sounds, but, yes, those terracotta tiles we rested on were of the ancient kind.

We try to stay calm and carry on, we think of Mandela holed up for 27 years, John McCarthy and Brian Keenan, who were kept mainly blindfolded during their years held hostage in the Lebanon - what’s a few weeks, we say. But, really, how many prisoners do you think have to put up with bored kids pestering them for food on an hourly basis…? Come on, show some sympathy for our plight.

Lots of you are in a similar situation. Tweet us at @FeedNavigator​ your tales of working through a lock-down, of dealing with coronavirus confinement. You can also leave a comment below this story, or email your stories to jane.byrne@wrbm.com

Read the first instalment of the emergency blog here​.

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1 comment

Curated lives?

Posted by Susan Miller,

Thanks for keeping it real, Jane. All this working from home is making it increasingly hard to keep up the faux front thanks to Skype. As if squabbling college kids and cat shrieking when hubby accidentally shut his tail (the cat's not my husband's) in the door hasn't delivered enough acoustic effect on video conference calls, there is the "Skype staging" that has all but fallen away. I want a qualifier that insists persons appearing on screen are smaller and younger than they appear, but the reverse seems to be the case. At first, I tried to create the visual effect of a calm, peaceful and hygienic setting, but it's fallen entirely by the wayside. Same with any efforts to curate a "relaxed, unstressed" demeanor. Consider we're warned not to touch our faces and if we do touch our face; to immediately wash our hands. When this all started, I was giving old Lady Macbeth a run for her money with the incessant hand washing every time a hand brushed against my nose. But then I realized I could just hold the mini-bottle of hand sanitizer up to the affected part of my face and dispense a friendly squirt- including to my lips which are now quite scoured from the regular dabs with the sanitizer dispenser. To say nothing of the silvery roots sprouting and it probably won't be long before I get the very bad idea of trying my hand as a cosmetology student with the scissors. But enough about me - there is the background ambiance of the home setting. That charade is given up as well. I started out joining Skype calls with careful thought to background. Now there are dirty laundry baskets, open wine bottles and cat litter bags (but not boxes) in full view. I've warned colleagues not to schedule 8:00 a.m. Skype calls or I will show up wearing my Spice Girls night shirt - making me the 21st century version of Scary Spice. They seem to be taking that threat quite seriously. We are indeed all in this together as others seem to have given up the ghost as well. It's been rather refreshing to see others on Skype with over-brimming wardrobes and peanut-butter sandwich crusts in the background. We are keeping it real in 2020! Perhaps this is the wake-up call we needed to drop the perfectly curated lives. Hang in there - the upshot is college-age "children" can make trips to "essential businesses" - that being the wine shop. My daughter told me this virus has been deemed the "Boomer Doomer" so I've insisted she do all shopping (albeit with my bank card). Thanks for bringing this moment of levity to Feed Navigator!

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