A friend in America (hi, J!) asked me, “Are you all worried over there about the virus, or is this the start of the panic? It’s ramping up here.”
Quick context: she asked me this DAYS ago. This was my response. DAYS ago. I was writing this up at a cafe this morning and then I was …distracted.
Until a few days ago, people were mostly joking about it. But policies have changed. People don’t shake hands in public anymore. I’ve been scolded three times.
The Dutch are used to shaking hands with strangers and greet people they know with three kisses.
I keep hugging friends.
Cause I’m an idiot.
It seemed like the Dutch were TOO chill about it for a while.
For example, the Netherlands didn’t have ANY known cases because that’s the cultural norm – if you’re sick in any way, you take paracetamol and wait at least ten days for symptoms to pass. THEN you go to the doctor.
But then a local Groningen frat house went on vacation to a ski resort in Northern Italy.
The reports of active cases came out before their trip and they still went.
While they were gone enough people complained that the government stepped in and… gave them instructions on how to social quarantine when they returned.
Force them to stay in Italy? NO, that’s not the Dutch way.
Force them to quarantine upon return? No, that would invade their personal freedom.
While I was writing this, my glasses seemed to have something on them, so I cleaned them. Then I seemed to have something in my eye, so I took a minute to try to clear it. Then I just ignored it and kept writing anyway.
Then I realized it was an ocular migraine.
I quickly packed up, signed out of work sick, emailed my group, notified my personal trainer, slammed 1000 mg paracetamol, dove into bed, and slept for SIX HOURS.
Things have changed a LOT since I wrote this answer to her days ago and I’ll write about that, maybe tomorrow.
Cause it’s intense and I’m cancelling all those flights and car rentals and gym memberships and ordering food online and realizing I’m pretty much not going to get to touch anyone except my family (and minimizing that) for the next SIX MONTHS.
Also, this just doesn’t feel real.
It feels like I’m playing a really shitty world wide end of days LARP or, as a friend put it:
you guys it has been such a wild ride being an extra on the set of multiple apocalypse movies filming on the same location all at once, these directors are so creative, such an honor to be part of this, having a blast, when do we wrap?— Colleen Murphy (@cmurpheus) March 13, 2020
WHEN DO WE WRAP, PEOPLE?