The Longest December Ever (a.k.a. Week #2 from the Red Zone)

Oooook, the week-end started off with a blast. Specifically, it started off like this. I have never had a panic attack in my entire life, so it might as well have been a stroke. Even if, in moments like these, you discover lots of highly educational comparative tables: is it a stroke or is it […]

Oooook, the week-end started off with a blast. Specifically, it started off like this.

I have never had a panic attack in my entire life, so it might as well have been a stroke. Even if, in moments like these, you discover lots of highly educational comparative tables: is it a stroke or is it a panic attack? Is it a panic attack or is it #Covid19 (I’m pretty sure the scientific name of the disease comes with the hashtag)? Is it a panic attack or am I pregnant?

There you go, in case you needed it. Now that I look at it, maybe it was a stroke after all.

I have never been known to suffer from panic attacks, as I was saying, but I have been known to cry in front of a commercial, when the time is right. Not that I want to diminish my friend’s post, of course, but with all due respect it’s a beautiful story I have only heard a thousand times. This is her post.

This is the picture…
…and this is the part that made me cry.

Loosely translated, it says:

And from time to time it echoes in my head, I was at km 35, the voice of that girl I didn’t know, a stranger, who saw me exhausted and, reading my name on the bib, cheered clapping her hands: ALLEZ ALLEZ GERMANÀ!!!! COURAGE!!!

It’s better when she tells it, because she does the impression of the French girl and her accent on the name (Jermanà vs Germána). Still, as I said, a good story I have only heard a thousand times so far. This time it struck a chord and I started crying. It apparently was what my panic attack needed (let’s face it, it was not a stroke) and I felt immediatly fine. But why did I start crying on that post and not on the post of a panda cub that immediately followed?

Isn’t it the cutest thing ever?

It is clear enough why. Or, at least, it’s pretty clear to me. We are all in need of a stranger to cheer for us, especially in times like these, and the world would fare a little better if we took our time to cheer for a stanger, when we get the chance.

So here we are, strangers and friends alike, with a weekly report from Northern Italy, the Red Zone (but only because they ran out of worst colours).

Since last werk, when the Government introduced the concept of zones, this is what happened.

November, 4th
November, 13th

As you can see, Italy is quickly becoming one big red zone, with Lazio (the region where Rome is) proably being the last one. Don’t get me started.

The main goal is to be able to ease the lockdown in December, in time for Christmas shopping and Christmas itself. Which probably means that, even if we succeed, we’ll be back in lockdown in January and through February. There’s already talk that we will not succeed and we’ll reach the peak the first week of December.

Meanwhile, we breached the limit of 1 million cases and the overall situation looks like this.

Those big swings you see are weekends, when we are able to process less tests.

My father went out for a walk, this week, and sent me pictures of the field hospital the army set up in our neighborhood, one of three here in Milan. It’s a little disconcerting.

I am finding myself in high appreciation of what John Bon Jovi did with his pandemic song.

They built a hospital on East Meadow
In Central Park last night
Doctors, nurses, truckers
Grocery store clerks manning the front lines
I saw a Red Cross on the Hudson
They turned off the Broadway lights
Another ambulance screams by
There, by the grace of God, go I

It’s not a masterpiece, it’s cheesy, it won’t go down in the history of rock, but it has compassion, it has love, it even has optimism, and that’s pretty much the song we need, right now.

A year ago I was in New Zealand. Thanks both Instagram and Google for reminding me. They should ban throwbacks, when you’re depressed. This prompted me to another consideration, this morning, while reposing a picture from one of my usual angles.

#Throwback. One year ago, me @gwava and @raffaele.castagno were coming back from #NewZealand. This was taken at an airport, tired beyond words. Longest journey ever. Best time ever.

I miss my friends so much and the idea that I couldn’t go visit them even if I wanted is driving me insane. We are born in privilege, we are not used not to be able to go wherever the fuck we want. For lots of people around the world, this is normal: not being able to see friends, having to fear for your loved ones health. I am not optimistic that this will spring a new sensitivity towards equality, when (and if) this is going to be over.

Still, I miss my friends a lot and it makes me happy beyond words seeing that, down there, they are free of this nightmare, they can go around, hugging bewildered strangers and licking every single lamp post in town.

Stay safe, stay happy, try and do all the things that we can’t. Till we meet again and we’ll do them together. 🥝🌋🐛🇳🇿

In all of this, my grandmother on my mother’s side, aged 92, is in a nursing home and I haven’t seen her since February. Few weeks ago, they notified us that they had found few cases in an upper floor of the house. Few days ago, they called us to say she too had the virus, a bronchitis (which is not unusual for her) and she’s been given antibiotics intravenously. She’s not at the highest spirit possible. Today I’m sending her some flowers, but all winter flowers look a little bit like death, don’t they?

Really, who died?

So it hit me. Yes. It’s going to be a long winter. The longest winter ever, probably. We could face it like this.

I’ll give you a winter prediction. It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be grey and it’s going to last you for the rest of your life.

Or not, you know?

If there’s one thing that’s just bound to make you happy, in winter, it’s Christmas. Or, at least, it makes me happy. Specifically the part leading up to Christmas, the wake, the decorating, the beautiful shiny things, the small toys, the crystals, the lights. So I thought to myself, what the hell, we’re locked inside the house. We’re going to be he reddest zone forever. There’s absolutely nothing preventing me from pretending it’s December, already. Aside from my significant otter, who might argue against me listening to festive music, but we can probably find a common ground. So, I’ve elected to decide that it’s December already and I’m officially preparing for Christmas. Specifically, it’s December -16th. This is going to be the longest December ever. But maybe we can make sure that it’s only in a good way.

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