03.08.2020 | “I’ve got the Twenty-First Century survival blues…”

I haven’t listened to that song (in the title) in a while. I always liked it a lot, the lyrics, the music, the sentiment of it, which was more or less about how parts of the world went crazy in 2016 (Trump, Brexit and other ‘catastrophes’) . When it was shuffled onto my car stereo playlist on my way back from work this afternoon, I felt like it had a whole new meaning. To me anyway. Some might think: “Duh! The pandemic has been raging for months now and it took you till now to get that feeling ?” I had the feeling on and off for a long time, but either hadn’t listened to the song in a while or just didn’t connect the dots. Of the opening lines anyway…

I’ve got the Twenty-First Century survival blues,
A condition brought on by watching the news.
Things have been quiet for far too long,
And if I know human beings, things are going to go wrong.

and the chorus,

So meet me at home when the sirens go off.
I don’t want to be alone, so don’t you get lost.
I know a place where the two of us can hide,
We could barricade the door and we’d be safe inside.

even though it’s just me, but the ‘safe inside’ is something I can very well relate to.

On Saturday I went to meet up with two friends for the first time since March. We had cake and coffee indoors, because it was one of my friend’s birthday and we went out to have burgers and drinks after. We picked a restaurant with a patio and requested a table outdoors at the edge of the patio. We had a lovely time and I didn’t feel too stressed. (And yes, I did check the stress level on my smartwatch when I got home. So what?) I didn’t hug my friend to say Congrats though and it did feel wrong and weird.

In my lunch break today I went for a quick stroll into the small pedestrian shopping area near the office. Like I do most of the days, even if to just stretch my legs. But I needed some bread so off to the bakery I went. I can’t even say what was different today. It felt like there were more people around. Not necessarily more careless with masks and distance and all. But I definitely felt more uncomfortable among them today. Very much so. I bought my bread and went back to the office right away.

The rest of my break I spent at my desk reading news sites. News about the 20.000 people who this weekend in Berlin marched and demonstrated against mask requirements, pro ‘freedom’, against a vaccine, against 5G and Bill Gates and and who were spewing lots of wild conspiracy theories and Nazi rhetoric and just UGH! I can’t even…

Next item: In a city about 90 minutes away from where I live, a couple celebrated their wedding with about 120 guests. I don’t know if they rented a venue for it (because the venue should have had a mandatory plan to reduce the infection risk). Anyway… 120 guests. One of them – who came from Sweden – didn’t feel well and it turned out she had COVID. By now – a week later – it turned out half the guests (over 60 as of today) have been infected as well. It turned out the guests obviously mingled (left their assigned table) and of course there was dancing. It’s a paaaaaaaarty, there needs to be dancing. Indoors in a probably poorly ventilated space. Dancing and singing along loudly, because that’s what you do. Or maybe that person from Sweden hugged those 60 people long and good and hard. I have no idea what else, but… WTF, people!?!? Yes, you can invite 100 people to a wedding if you really want to. But for God’s sake, make sure they keep in their “family / friend” bubble and not mingle too much and don’t sing for hours close to each other indoors! You are bound to kill each other! How do these people not know this by now ?!?!

Ok, to be fair, I have no idea if they were singing while partying, but the fact remained. There are about 60 new cases, stemming back from that event alone, not to mention the amount of people those 60 might have passed it on to in the meantime.

Last news item of the day, which makes me want to crawl into my – yet to build and stock – “apocalypse home”, was about the trial for a 25 year old male. About a year ago he drove a leased sports car (570 hp) on a motorway at night, speeding up to over 300 km/h (=185 mph), lost control and in the following accident his 18 year old female companion was killed instantly. He didn’t go to jail. He was fined with 25.000 €, got 18 months probation, lost his license for two years and has to do 500 hours of social work. But still… He killed someone! And he didn’t go to jail! And he will be allowed to drive again at some point! WTF?!?!

Tomorrow will be a day with more good news, right? It has to be. The day at the office all in all was alright. Maybe I should take that as good news. I also switched my work computers wallpaper for no other reason than that I came across that photo in one of my personal folders. I take that as good news as well (and will try not to dwell on the fact that I have no idea when I’ll ever be able to get anywhere close to this location…)

Loch Cairnbawn, July 2016
Loch Cairnbawn, July 2016

Lyrics: The Twenty-First Century Survival Blues, Frank Turner, 2018

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