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An unexpected visitor

Lockdown, day 72.

From my home in Tiana, Spain.

In the regions of Barcelona and Madrid, de-escalation phase 1 has now started. But not without a struggle. Most doctors still do not think the liberations are justified and I read that 75% of the Spaniards agree with keeping the strict lockdown. But the other side is getting louder and louder, led by the right-wing populist party VOX, which has opposed government policy from the beginning. The contrast between images of long lines of people waiting in front of the food bank in Madrid and the hip girls and boys driving around hooting in expensive convertibles through the streets of the rich neighbourhoods of the Spanish capital is poignant.

Anyway, phase 1 has now arrived. What is allowed and what is not allowed? That is just as confusing here as in the Netherlands. We may, if I understand correctly, move freely again, but within our "medical region" (the Maresme) and only between 6 and 11 pm. Face masks are mandatory in all public indoor areas and in outdoor areas where you are not able to keep your distance.

From today on, it’s also allowed to meet with a maximum of ten people in your own home or garden, on a terrace or anywhere else, but only if you stay two meters away from one another. The day before yesterday we already did a try-out with this. We invited two friends over for lunch. It was the first time in three months that we really had visitors. It was the first time for our friends to visit someone. We have a enormous table in the garden, so we could easily cover the mandatory two meters distance. We thought that our guests would stay at the table so we could easily keep distance, but it immediately went wrong. They brought a delicious local wine and immediately walked into the kitchen to showus the label and chat about it. During lunch they helpfully walked in and out of the kitchen. In the beginning I tried to apply the distance rules: one person through one door, the other through another door. But it didn’t take long before w

e were sitting side by side looking at photos on the phone. It got completely out of control when we heard a smack from outside and saw a 1.5 meters long black snack roll from the pergola above the dining table, fall down on the umbrella below, and glide down to the ground to nestle itself in front of one of the bedroom doors. Our guests immediately called the police. They proposed to collect the animal and bring it to the nature reserve of Tiana. We thought this was a good plan, but suddenly our friends looked at us in shock. "It is not possible at all because we are not aloud to be here." We looked back at the snake but it was already gone. Problem solved.

In the New Normal we will have to keep a distance, that is the adage. During the lockdown, life was very simple. You stayed in and around your house and went out the door only for a visit to the supermarket. But now more and more is allowed, keeping distance seems to be more difficult than I thought. And in the company of friends and family, once it gets cozy and the alcohol flows, it can hardly be sustained.


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