I couldn’t find the book I was looking for, so I chose one of Diana Wynne Jones’ books to read next. It starts with the saddest addition imaginable, withdrawn from a library in Illinois. I bought it through Amazon a couple of years ago, and now it’s happily situated in my home in Norway.
My life has been somewhat disrupted now that we have to stay at home as much as possible, but I probably feel the effect to a lesser degree than many other people. I’m used to spending a lot of time at home, so I don’t feel that I have been forced to isolate. Less people is generally a good thing to me. I’m going to read Archer’s Goon this weekend. I am fully aware of the danger and the seriousness of the situation, so I know this isn’t a holiday, but it seems to be to some.
My people are major cottage dwellers. I’m not sure when it started, but there’s been a culture for as long as I have lived at least. These cottages used to be rather rustic, but they are getting more and more ridiclulous now. A part of the charm was to live a simpler life during weekends and holidays, and I remember spending a lot of weekends and summer holidays in my grandparents’ off the grid-cottage. We had a small natural gas stove, a fireplace, candles and oil lamps, and the sea was only 50 metres away. The most terrifying part was walking to the outhouse in complete darkness, knowing there was a wasp’s nest above me. I never saw anything, so I’m pretty sure it was abandoned, but it made a trip to the John in the woods a petrifying experience. Many modern “cottages” have all the luxury we are used to at home (some even more), so it doesn’t feel like you left home.
The government has daily meetings with the press, and one of the things they frequently have to deal with is “the cottage/boat people.” Next week is Easter, which is a major thing in Norway. It’s a religious holiday, and to Christians it is (or should be) more important than Christmas. To most people it’s just some time off, but as it is a religious holiday, all stores are closed the 9th, 10th, and 13th of April. This is what worries many people these days, will they get a normal Easter? The cottage, staying at a ski resort in the mountains, or starting the boating season is important to many. I’m pretty sure it won’t be same procedure as every year, not when distance is still a requirement. It could be a mess, because when someone says “it is allowed, but…”, most people don’t hear the second part.
I read in the paper yesterday that sales of chocolate, candy, and crisps had gone up, in some chains by as much as 50 percent the last two weeks. This could partly be about comfort, but it’s not a good long-term plan. I’m not going to spread doom and gloom, but knowing that viruses are remarkably adaptable and never really go away, I don’t think we’re running a sprint. This is more likely to be a marathon. In other words, we need to find solutions we can keep doing for a long time, and we need to boost our immune systems as much as possible. Shutting down businesses and public tax income is clearly not a long-term viable plan either, so perhaps we’re looking at a massive change in how we live and communicate, unless this resolves itself sooner than many fear?
I happen to be one of those that don’t find staying at home with my family difficult. That doesn’t mean I’m not worried. There are people I love, people who may not have an immune system strong enough to fight this virus. I’m also worried about the long-term consequences of a desperate, scared population. Things are looking good so far, but we’re not very far into this yet.
Still, I’m taking a break from reality this weekend. It’s finally perfectly acceptable to be brave as a hedgehog.