CHARLOTTE, NC: The “experts” warned us the Coronvirus pandemic would get worse before it gets better. They were right about that, but what everyone wants to know is how much worse, and when will it get better. Italy, where the virus first hit Europe, is still locked down to the point where it is now almost a police state. But as the saying go, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
And those Italians are singing and communicating with each other from their balconies, windows, and rooftops.
Looking to Italy for possible relief
Since the US is at least a week to ten days behind Italy, it’s not unreasonable to look to mid-April before we notice any real relief in this country. Then again, can anyone know for sure what the future will bring?
Over the weekend I received an e-mail from a longtime friend who has been a professional guide in Rome for years. The following are his firsthand observations of the current status of the pandemic in Rome and throughout Italy:
“We’re in even more stringent lockdown now. Since March 8 we can’t go out, except one member of the family to the grocery store or pharmacy for necessities. All other stores are closed. All office and businesses are closed. Police and the military are enforcing the rules.
“I’m at home with my wife and younger daughter (27 yrs old) and we’re lucky enough to have an apartment with a terrace to go out on to get some fresh air and exercise.
“(We see my older daughter and her husband by FaceTime.) And we have food, and wi-fi to follow the developments.
“In Lombardy (about 400 miles north of here) it’s even worse. They’re dropping like flies, stacking ‘em up like cordwood. (Emphasis added)
“It’s surreal. The few people on the street when I went for groceries the other day were mostly wearing masks and in the line to get in the supermarket people stand 6-8 feet apart.
“But it’s warm and sunny and we get our morning tea and lunch on the terrace. The view is great because it is so clear because of no pollution because of so little traffic.
“So after only a week we’re going stir-crazy one minute and relaxing and taking it easy the next. We’re renewing our family bonds of love and helping each other and we’re also at each other’s throats.
“It’s really quiet here, and Rome, if you remember, is anything but a quiet place. Except for the frequent sirens of ambulances and military helicopter flyovers enforcing the lockdown.
“We do gardening, read, watch movies off of Pirate’s Bay, listen to music and mostly keep informed about the latest developments on the internet (we haven’t had a TV for decades). Plenty of time for yoga and exercise, too. I’m going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger if they don’t find a cure soon.
“I have friends in protective quarantine but I don’t know anybody that actually got the Corona yet.
“You never know what life will bring you. It’s kind of like a hurricane except there’s no damage and you don’t know when it will end.
“The main problem is that we can’t go to work because we can’t go out, everything is closed, and there are no tourists at all. So there is no income for the foreseeable future.
“Like the mayor of Bari told his citizens: ‘Stay home! This is an epidemic, not a vacation!’
“The only way we can control this is to do our civic duty and stay home, not necessarily and not only to protect ourselves but to keep it from spreading further.
“Every day at fixed times we all go to the window of our apartment and with all the neighborhood at THEIR windows, we all sing together, beat on pan lids, etc. It’s fun and brings us together young and old.
Singing from the balconies in Rome, Italy:
“My cousin sent me this quote from (Chinese philosopher) Lao Tzu:
‘If you live in the past you are depressed, if you live in the future you are anxious if you live in the present you are at peace.’
“It’s really hard to do but I think it’s good advice for everyone. We all have our problems. But our problems are our problems, they are not us.”
Perhaps, just perhaps, if Italian thermometers continue to rise, that warmth will work its magic sooner than later and kill off “Mr. C’s” strength.
When that starts to happen, and the dreaded toilet paper drought is wiped out, everyone will feel welcome relief on both sides of the Atlantic.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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