To dance, or not to dance. Quarantäne in Barcelona (Gastbeitrag von Mirjam Ziegler)

Yesterday, my brother went back to Germany, and I was a sad because I won’t see my family as planned, probably for a long time. But it quickly passed – I’m well aware that I’m among the luckiest in this situation: I can comfortably work from home, in a safe job, I’m not alone, I’m not bored. This job makes more sense than usually these days, as I can help people cancel their trips rather than hear them nag about missing eggs at breakfast. They have never been so kind on the phone.

A friend from Veneto who has been in quarantine since February tells me that her colleague’s dad has died because he could not be attended at the hospital. It makes me cry, and then I get angry again because there’s still no European curfew. She reminds me to keep up the spirits.

I have dinner with my roommate, we watch a series, and say goodnight. I open the window to close the shutters and see two police and three paramedics outside the opposite buildung. A white van is parked under our window: Barcelona Serveis Funeraris. The police leave. The paramedics go up. They carry out a body. They close the door of the van and talk while they take off their gear. I cannot understand the words, but the dismay in their voices.

I cannot sleep. I talk to my neighbour. I still cannot sleep, my mind spins from this street, this dead person – what happened to him? – out to all things that are happening around the world and might still happen. Then I do sleep and wake up too early. I do my morning yoga on the terrace and can’t stop looking at the balcony of the apartment that they entered last night. They left the door open, the wind draws the curtain inside. I don’t remember the face of the guy, I have many neighbours and hardly know any of them. We’re only getting to know each other now. After a year and a half of eyeing each other while we drink our coffee, I’ve introduced myself to C., who lives alone and tells me she’s going crazy already, and as we talked, we both introduced ourselves to the neighbour above her, whose name is also C. 

I need to buy food today, I go out. People follow the rules, keep the distance, luckily. I hope we’ll lose that habit again when it’s all over.  Only 1, 2, 4 people can enter a shop at a time, depending on the surface. At the end of my round, carrying two bags, I see a Caribbean family dancing on their balcony, grandma, mother, and a toddler girl. Others have been drawn out by their music and dance on their own balconies, cheering. I stop and join on the street for a moment. Until someone yells from another balcony: ”600 have died. Do you think that’s funny?” A bald guy and his wife stare at me. From their angle, they can’t see the rest of the dancers. I stare back but I can’t find the words. 

He keeps yelling. I go. Now I’m crying again. I cross the plaça, but then I turn around. I’ve found the words. He is already gone. The family on the balcony asks me what happened, they can see I’ve been crying, and I can’t wipe it away (don’t touch your face). Then the grandma starts yelling at the invisible man around the corner: ”We’re not responsible for the dead! Don’t take it out on us!” They tell me to come back anytime. They continue dancing. 

I go home, I can’t dance anymore. It is true that 600 have died in Spain. 7864 have died. I can’t blame the man. Still, maybe I should stop feeling bad about feeling good for a minute.

Ein Gedanke zu “To dance, or not to dance. Quarantäne in Barcelona (Gastbeitrag von Mirjam Ziegler)

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