A Lost Horizon

It’s Sunday morning but all mornings now seem like Sunday…no one outside, no noise, no shops opened. Nothing but lockdown.

The days continue to glide one into the other.

It would seem that by now I would have finished many books, diligently studied Greek, completed accumulated sewing projects, etc. But no. It’s as if I’m continually distracted and can’t focus on anything except the new reality, a prison without bars. We’ve been sentenced inside but without knowing for how long. The concept of future has been postponed indefinitely.

Curglaff

 “Curglaff” is an archaic Scottish word for the feeling of shock experienced with plunging into cold water, a word I can related to as it always takes me a while to convince myself to go into the sea. Being sensitive to change, the icy sensation on my back makes me scream. But once the shock is over, I’m okay. My body adjusts to the extreme change and I can tranquilly swim around. Then, once back on the beach, I sit in the sun at look at the horizon . There is something very magical yet comforting about it. A horizon line makes the world seem bigger and helps me understand that there’s more to life than only  my personal worldview. But, for the moment, there are no horizons. Just walls.

Please do not feel that I am slumping into depression and/or resignation with these words. I am simply trying to adapt. It’s a curglaff-coronavirus moment as I am trying to adjust, mentally, to the knowledge that the world as I’ve known it no longer exists.

After weeks of lockdown, people here in Italy are starting to get nervous not just about staying inside, but about not having enough money to buy food. So yesterday evening, Primer Giuseppe Conte, announced on TV that emergency measures were being taken to ensure that everyone had something to eat. The shock of hunger is not to be ignored.

Italians have style in more ways than one. To help out, Armani is making medical smocks, Ferrari is making ventilators, Bulgari is making hand disinfectant, and Gucci is making protective masks.

Designer curglaff.

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Coronavirus, Conspiracy, and Pocharte

A Chicano version of a Renaissance woman, Pocha Peña (aka Sandra Sarmiento) is a filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist, activist, and podcaster living in Orange County. For a while, she also lived in San Antonio, Texas, my hometown.

When California went into lockdown on March 20th, Pocha, with her ¡Dale Gas! approach to life, immediately began a quarantine journal on her website, Pocharte.  Pocha writes about a potpourri of topics such as her workshops on Zoom, her own version of a victory garden, and the challenges of sharing lockdown with a retired mom.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there’s also been an outbreak of conspiracy theories. Pocha loves to explore them as they are, she says, a deeply entertaining pursuit.  “Some folks favor crossword puzzles to keep their minds sharp. I like entertaining far-out notions that might relate to our everyday life.”

As for the coronavirus, Pocha says: “I’m partial to thinking that COVID19 was bioengineered but I don’t know by whom. My theory is that the virus will be used to usher in a cashless society and possible jubilee. It’s a conservative position. There are some wilder theories out there, like those shared by QGround ZeroDavid WilcockCorey GoodeBenjamin Fulford, and David Icke.”

Catapultable

According to 14th century conspiracy theorist, Gabriele de’ Mussi, the Black Death that devastated Europe was the result of biological warfare. De’ Mussi claims that the Mongolian army catapulted plague infected cadavers into the Crimean city of Caffa. The survivors fled to the Mediterranean basin taking the plague with them. For the next five years, the Black Death would continue to kill obliterating c. one third of Europe’s population.

Being an advanced civilization, we no longer need catapults. We have airplanes. And irresponsible heads-of-state.

Related: Biological Warfare at the 1346 Siege of Caffa

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The unbearable weight of being there

Daniela Trezzi was a 34 year old nurse working in the intensive care unit at Monza’s San Gerado hospital. Anyone who has been following the news understands how traumatic it is for doctors and nurses to work in these units. First of all, they are on their feet for hours wearing a mask that, once sterilized, can’t be taken off until they go off duty. This means going without food and water for hours.

For nurses, more so than for doctors, it also means that you are with a patient in the last minutes of their life. Without family or friends around, the dying patient prays the nurse for one last expression of comfort before he’s gone forever. Imagine the psychological burden that that can leave you with. Imagine the nightmares these nurses have at night.

Daniela was already stressed out mentally and physically when she learned that she, too, was coronavirus positive. That’s when her world fell totally apart—not just because she feared for her life but because she felt guilty that, unknowingly, she’d infected someone else. Unable to live with this thought, Daniela killed herself. And she is not the only nurse to have done so. SOURCE

The death rate of nurses and doctors who’ve died because of coronavirus increases every day. But they didn’t catch the virus because they were bored at home and just had to get out of the house like a dog in heat. They caught it because they were in the hospital trying to save an infected person’s life. The life of a person who was a stranger to them but, for someone else, was a family member and/or loved one.

If you are not self-isolating, you are putting someone’s life at risk.

deaths related to illness

There is no international standardization as to how data is interpreted. Many countries base their COVID-19 death count on those who, having another illness, died of that illness and not because of the virus. Italy, however, bases its death count on those who died with the virus even if they had other illnesses as well.

In Italy, a large number of the deaths are those of the elderly. Many have pre-existing conditions so their immune system is weak thus they are easily infected.  (Italy has one of the largest populations of elderly in the world). The chart above shows how only a small fraction of the deaths in Italy are due strictly to the coronavirus. Many countries apparently have a lower death rate because they blame the other existing illness as the main cause of death  instead of  the coronavirus.  It reminds me of how, years ago, many people infected with AIDS were said to have died of pneumonia and not of AIDS.

Related: 24 doctors dead of coronavirus, Chi sono i 24 medici morti per il coronavirus  + 34 Heartbreaking Pics Of Overworked Doctors Are Going Viral, Proving That They Too Have Human Limits + US coronavirus: Worker at NYC hospital where staff were forced to wear TRASH BAGS dies at 48 + WORLDOMETERS with daily updates + “VOGLIO INIZIARE A DIRE LA VERITÀ: LA METÀ DEI NEWYORKESI VERRÀ CONTAGIATA” – È LA TETRA PREVISIONE DEL SINDACO BILL DE BLASIO +

a nurse breaks down and cries…after a 48 hour shift, she goes to the supermarket to find the shelves empty

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When little things suddenly become big.

Mariagrazia Casanova, a 49 year old supermarket clerk from Brescia, complained that she had a sore throat and difficulties breathing. Four days later, Mariagrazia died. Her four kids will never see her again.

Every day, poorly paid people we take for granted– clerks, butchers, bakers, fishmongers, delivery people– are getting sick and/or dying just to provide us with services necessary for our own survival. So when my daughter (who’s in Milano) posted about her trip to the grocery store, I asked permission to repost it here. Chiara’s post was written in Italian and her words are perfumed with untranslatable nuances. It’s impossible for me to render her justice in English but I’ve tried. (The original in Italian is found below).

Thank you, Chiara.

Asparaga Claws

Asparagus Claws by Chiara Pilar

Quarantine, 5th week.

Yesterday I left home for the first time, after ten days, to go to the supermarket. To feel your joints move as you go down the stairs, to see the saturated colors on the street, to feel the fresh air on your face … what a strange sensation. But alas, the goal was near.

There was a line in front of the supermarket and I heard people complaining about it, they didn’t want to waste so much time … who knows what they could possibly have to do, I asked myself. In what place could haste go? The concept of time – and not only – has been disrupted by this situation. At times, I don’t even remember what day it is and I’m almost thankful for the existence of that line because it makes me gain more moments of fresh air on my face.

Once I entered the supermarket I hurried to get my goodies and, when I arrived at the checkout, I thank the cashier and his colleagues for being there and giving us the opportunity to buy food. He remains stunned for a moment, looking at me with curiosity.

I tell him that I imagined that it’s not easy to work in such a context and that I appreciated what all of them were doing. Half his face was covered, but above that piece of fabric there were shiny and moved eyes. The mask does not hide emotions. He told me it is hard, that the mask he has is not enough to protect himself and that I was the first to address him with certain words.

Now, I don’t know about you but I feel lucky to have the opportunity to protect myself at home without having to be like a suicide bomber going out to work in contact with the public with minimal and deficient protective measures. The situation is heavy and exhausting for everyone, you know, but if it ever happens, between a zucchini and a kiwi – or whatever situation it is – it would be nice to address a little word of solidarity and encouragement to those who have no choice and provide us with a huge service. Let’s smooth the claws of the asparagus, beautiful children.

Italiano:

Quarantena, 5° settimana.

Ieri sono uscita per la prima volta di casa, dopo dieci giorni, per recarmi al supermercato. Sentire le gambe articolarsi per scendere le scale, vedere i colori saturi per strada, sentire l’aria fresca in faccia…che strana sensazione. Ma ahimè, la meta era vicina.

 C’era la fila davanti al supermercato e sentivo delle persone lamentarsene, non volevano perderci troppo tempo…chissà cosa avranno mai da fare, mi son chiesta. In che luogo andrà mai, la fretta, di questi tempi? La concezione del tempo – e non solo – è stata scombussolata da questa situazione. Io, a momenti, non ricordo neanche più in che giorno siamo e quasi ringraziavo l’esistenza di quella coda, perché mi faceva guadagnare istanti di aria fresca sul viso.

 Una volta entrata nel supermercato mi affretto a prendere le mie leccornie e, arrivata in cassa, ringrazio il cassiere ed i suoi colleghi per essere lì e darci la possibilità di acquistare il cibo. Lui rimane per un attimo basito, guardandomi con curiosità. Gli dico che immaginavo che non fosse facile lavorare in un contesto del genere e che apprezzavo quello che tutti loro stavano facendo. Mezzo volto era coperto, ma sopra quel pezzetto di tessuto c’erano degli occhi lucidi e commossi. La mascherina non nasconde le emozioni. Mi ha detto che è dura, che la mascherina che ha non è sufficiente per proteggersi e che ero la prima a rivolgergli certe parole.

 Ora, non so voi ma io mi sento fortunata ad avere la possibilità di proteggermi a casa senza dover fare la kamikaze per andare a lavorare a contatto col pubblico con misure protettive minime e carenti. La situazione è pesante ed estenuante per tutti, si sa, ma se mai vi capitasse, tra una zucchina e un kiwi – o qualsiasi altra situazione che sia – sarebbe carino rivolgere una parolina di solidarietà ed incoraggiamento per chi non ha scelta e ci fornisce un enorme servizio. Smussiamo gli artigli degli asparagi, fanciulli belli.

Related: Mariagrazia’s story, Death of Store Clerk in Italy Highlights Contagion’s New Front Line

the scarf b

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Viva la nonna

Adesso Pedala

In Italian, there’s an expression “Hai voluto la bicicletta, pedala” (you wanted a bike, so pedal). Simply put, accept the aftermath of your actions.

Once upon a time, there were a bunch of dudes hyped up on globalization because they thought that, by having a bigger market, they’d have a fatter wallet. But they didn’t consider possible consequences. Like that of  burdening the world with a pandemic.

Alma Clara Corsini

Alma Clara Corsini is a 95 year old grandmother. On March 5, she was admitted to the hospital of Pavullo in northern Italy as she was infected with the coronavirus. But, to the joy of all Italians, she’s recovered. SOURCE

At the same time Alma was praising the medical staff that cured her, Texas Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, was saying that grandparents were willing to die to save the economy. (I, personally, would like to know how many grandparents he polled to come up with that declaration.) As with Trump, Patrick is worried that taking preventive measures against the coronavirus will hurt the US economy. And, as the elderly are more susceptible, they should be sacrificed so they won’t burden the system. I wonder if he was referring to Trump who is a 73 year old grandfather with underlying health issues. SOURCE

There reason why this pandemic is hitting so hard is because of budget cuts and an irresponsible reaction to the coronavirus outbreak from the beginning. Instead of considering Napoleon’s battlefield triage methods, heads of state should, as my mother would say, jack up their backbones and affront the problem. That’s what leaders are supposed to do.

Suggesting that the elderly should be the first to go is a form of discrimination thus anti-American. How can equality exist if one person’s life is given more value than another’s. (Please take a look at the Declaration of Independence where it says “All men are created equal.”)

And please, stop faking to be a Christian. If you share Patrick’s idea, then you’ve flunked Bible school. Remember that commandment, the one about honouring your father and mother? It says honor your father and mother. Period. It doesn’t say to honor them save when you fear your losing money in the stock market. (Exodus 20:1–21)

And why aren’t the pro-lifers protesting Patrick? If a woman gets an abortion because she can’t afford to raise a child, that’s a sin. But to hell with saving granny if it means losing money.

Dan Patrick & Co. should take time out from looking at stock market graphs to read up on “The Grandmother Hypothesis.” Then they would know that grandmothers helped societies evolve. As the lifespan extended, post-menopause women could stay  home to take care of the children as younger women went to forage for food and do other chores that the community depended upon (and this was a big boost for the economy). Plus grandmothers had a wisdom that could only come with age. Eliminating many of the trials and tribulations needed for acquiring knowledge, this wisdom helped the community survive.

Moral of the story: we need more grandmothers and fewer politicians.

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Related: The Gifts of Our Grannies + Grandmother Hypothesis, Grandmother Effect, and Residence Patterns

7 Old Wives’ Tales That Are Actually Scientifically Proven + Older age becomes common late in human evolution

* Unfortunately, I can’t give credits for Alma’s photo…it was published everywhere but without a name. I excuse myself with the photographer.

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