18 March 2020: Domestic
What is in your garden right now at this time of a pandemic?
It might be these pink flowers, brightly reflecting the pinkish wavelength while some insects bore holes on petulant surface and shy-green leaves.
As the situation unfolds, the uncertainty hovering over us all is becoming more of a daily chore together with the question of where to get or buy the next roll of tissue paper, what’s for dinner upon checking an empty pantry or a cabinet full of processed edibles and complex carbohydrates, or if tomorrow, will there be work or public transport?
We look for ways to alleviate this disaster, which around 60-70 per cent, as of this writing, is actually in our head (at least here in Australia, where I am, right now). But in other places, like China or Italy, the ground becomes heavier with new graves being dug each day the virus kills many. Homes, therefore, are not just becoming a solemn place for grieving but perhaps, an unwanted place for both lockdown and untimely death of a loved one, as hospitals and care places are unable to accept the diseased and dying.
Here in Melbourne, the sun has been a companion in recent days, making this earlier part of a horrible flu season, strangely lit up but portentous. Outside, in supermarkets, things are turning ugly as shoppers fight for a pack of pasta or rolls of toilet paper. Entire buildings full of bankers and corporate workers get evacuated upon learning that one of the employees has the virus. Shops and restaurants are empty, as well as the pockets of waiters, cleaners, and storekeepers. The prospect of a total lockdown places pressures not only to a struggling domestic economy but down to the ordinary household who will bear the brunt of this looming social and economic chaos, after we overtake the virus from spreading.
In other places, the malady seems to be beyond what’s in the house. Work must continue for daily wage earners. In Manila, one of the most congested cities in the world, public transport has been put on hold by the government. In an already crowded place where getting between two points are at times almost impossible, this puts not just enormous stress to someone who still needs to work amidst social distancing and trying to avoid the infection. This might be a death sentence, a total lockdown, and a rejection of that person’s humanity and life. Imagine if that person has other people to feed and hug upon returning home. They too will catch the virus of this harshness and impoverishment. They too face the prospect of hunger and deprivation.
In your household, in your pantry, what do you have? What domestic issues are you facing now that some of you will be at home while this contagion is unravelling, many are dying, and in some places people fear they daily woes and bills than catching the dreaded infection? What routine will you go through to counter both the chaos in your mind and the actual reality you are facing? Do you still have that roll of comfort in your toilet or are you anxious as you swipe that dirt under your bum?
Think about it as you wash your hands and refute all the discomfort of this world, right now, as you envision a disinfected world or household.