Quarantine journal —back to (norma|responsabi)lity

Tudor Barbu
Jun 4 · 3 min read

Spain is still in quarantine, but some of the restrictions have been lifted. More will follow next week. As the confinement is eased, the responsibility moves from the government to the citizen. That’s the official message. We need to be responsible for our actions in containing the pandemic. The streets full of thrown away surgical masks and plastic gloves tell a different story.

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I want to go outside. For the first time in months, I can but I don’t want to. It’s raining. Barcelona is not a city built for rain. Even on a good day, if it rains, everything stops. Somehow it feels the entire city changes color and becomes gray. Quarantine weather if there ever was such a thing.

I’m bored. I look around my room. A Guy Fawkes mask I got for a Christmas party. A souvenir zero euros banknote I bought in Brussels for 1.5 euros. In hindsight, that could be used as an IQ test. To its right, there’re a couple of bullet cases superglued to a paper target with a lot of holes in it. A lot of misses. I’m not built to be a sharpshooter. A caricature of myself dressed as samurai I got in Tokyo is hanging from a wall. A lot of random bits and pieces, scattered all around the place. Memories.

Time moves slowly. I look back at the last few months. I read some of my previous quarantine posts. They’re memories now, but I can still connect with my emotions from back then. It was bad! Really bad. I have never felt more alone in my entire life. But I’m finding solace in knowing that the whole situation wasn’t under my control. I was just a victim, so to speak, held under house arrest. And it is exonerating in a weird way: there’s nothing I could have done to change the situation. Just wait it out. Like a draught.

If I fucked up back then, I could blame them on the quarantine. “I’m having a really bad day” was an acceptable excuse for pretty much everything, even if it was used 53 times in a row.

Now we’re moving to the “new” normality. Which is pretty much the old normality with gloves and masks. The same ebbs and flows.

Some things went perfectly. I met with friends, I had fun for the first time in a while. I managed to follow up on some of my plans. I went out every single day, biking, riding my moto, driving.

Others blew up in my face in the worst way imaginable. I fucked up the right handlebar of my brand new one-week-old motorcycle while driving out of the parking lot. I ruined a relationship that took months to build with two WhatsApp messages. I need to take responsibility and move on.

It’s funny how our brains work. Sometimes we get the feeling that we receive the same message on different channels. For me, in the past few days, this message was “taking responsibility”.

I read in the news. I experienced myself. I also watched DEVS — amazing show— which among other things, deals with the concept of responsibility and brings up the age-old dilemma of freedom in a deterministic Universe. Or in theological terms: “can free will coexist with an omniscient God?”. Can we be held accountable if everything is already decided?

I don’t believe in fate or that everything happens for a reason. I’m not *that* arrogant. The Universe, God, The Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other personalization of the Divine doesn’t give a fuck about me or my problems. Things just happen. There’s causality, but there’s no reason. No master plan. We’re responsible for how things go. When we’re not quarantined away, of course.

Until now, staying alone indoors and being bored and miserable all day was mandated by the government. Going forward, it’s a choice. Today I made that choice. I just didn’t want to get wet.

The forecast for tomorrow looks good though…

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