Like a deer in the headlights

Like a deer in the headlights

Dear diary

Dear diary,

I ate the last roll of toilet paper today. The stores closed early, and the delivery service is understaffed due to an increasing number of employees with burn-out.

I think we are in December now; I must have written it down somewhere. It's hard to keep track these days. They all start to become one long rerun of “the neverending story." Carrot, stick, off the leash, on the leash, hug your mom, leave your mom outside, getting fined on a playground for loitering with two neighbours, creating a perfect visual to remember what the rules of engagement are if you can leave your house. And the eerie silence at night. It's like we're paying our mortgages for our own, perfectly styled concrete prisons.

We're now at lockdown number four, I believe, dear diary. Like I said, it's hard to keep track. I've resorted to printing out the Google Meet invites in my inbox and counting the empty strips of “good night rest pills." Seriously overpriced by the way, dear dairy, but we make do.

Getting hammered in a bar was a short period of pure bliss. Where, not unlike our wrists prior to the Fitbit watches, we were free. I haven't seen my friends for a long time now. I miss them.

Sure, I know that it was necessary, because my kid contracted “the virus” at school camp. And they used bubbles for protection as well. "Contraceptives aren't infallible," mum always says. So, we had to stay indoors, of course. While our front door was spray-painted with a large "c19" tag, in our house, the situation got dire. It's been a month now, dear diary, since “the C virus” got foothold. And it's spread rampantly. After my kid? Me. Shouldn't have been so foolish as to build a Lego mech robot with him in one room. It's not like he was allowed to celebrate his birthday anyway.

But we had to be sure, dear dairy. So, we did it. We were lucky, we could get our cerebellum poked with a cotton bud quickly. I've heard stories of hordes of people shambling in line, with a vacant look in their eyes. The horror of having to stand in line. I can't remember what it was like. Doing nothing outside. How stupid can you get?

And then my other half said: "I don't feel so well. " She had a raspy voice, a running red nose, and she looked like she'd been hit by a drunk driver in a vegan food truck. Instant gentrification, the worst way. We took care of her as best we could. Taking turns getting berated for missing the classroom meeting by the teachers, taking turns with the noise-cancelling headphones, and eating whatever leftovers we had in our freezer from a couple of years ago, back when you could just “pop off to the store."

Luckily, we have our neighbours. But they're succumbing as well. From my window, I could see one of them pushing a shopping cart filled to the brim with stuff she managed to scrounge for her neighbours.

I heard on the news that not everything is closed. That is a ray of light in these dark times. The stocks in stores specialising in leather belts and ceiling fans are (ha!) through the roof, and even though the schools closed, and daycare fell quickly afterwards, it was nice to hear that “notary” is now considered a crucial profession to the continuance of our stressed society. I can't image what it's like being a notary, having to work from home.

But it's for a good cause. My parents are also part of “the vulnerables." They said earlier that they would really like to come over for dinner on Christmas Eve. We were looking forward to it. All of us. It was hard to hear that they couldn't be with us for Christmas. But I get it. They didn't want to put us at risk for a fine if there were six adults in our house. I told them I'd go loitering as a diversion. On the corner of the street. Talk to two people at once. Buy them time, to get into our house. I tried.

But in the end, right before, she hung up the phone, my mother said to me: " It's ok, son. Dad and I will celebrate together, we're getting used to it. We'll whip up something from the fridge. Dad and I have always faced life together.”

Talk soon, dear diary.

Deer in the headlights

Of course, the story above is overly dramatised. My point is: if I interpret the signs around me and in the papers correctly, our response so far, after being confronted by our own mortality (and a strikingly absent explanation why we don't seem to be able to put “all hands on deck” to divert all power to the forward shield, a.k.a. healthcare) is that of a deer in the headlights...

Haroen T. Lemmers


Haroen T. Lemmers

HI! I am Haroen. Named after an Arabian sheik Harun-Al-Rasjid. I dunno. I was three when I left and have lived in the Lowlands for all my life. My...

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