It appeared like a perfect plan. A week at a sunny beach during the fall break in Bavaria would supply us with the energy needed to resist the mood swings of the dark season. Then, just in time, the German government announced the second lockdown. This time we hadn’t booked the tickets in advance, because we had learned from our bad experience with cancelled Japan flights in spring. So what to do when school is closed and it’s raining outside? We are supposed to keep calm, work or recreate if we are on leave. Perhaps we should put ourselves into hibernation mode until further notice as our national airline has decided.
After graduating from school I did my community service as an ambulance man. On a cold and wet day in winter together with an emergency doctor I visited a gipsy family. I was counting at least ten in their council flat, nestled down in couches and armchairs around a huge TV set, men smoking cigarettes, woman preparing tea or coffee. A young girl with sad eyes asked me about the day of the week, and if I knew when the beginning of spring will be? I was not prepared for that question. Apparently she hadn’t left the flat for weeks. When she saw my surprise she explained that they are not used to go out in winter. Their public life starts when they are on the road with their trailers, meet with other families at campsites, play their music, sing their songs.
Within three days all public life in Germany will be shut down. Schools stay open until further notice, which is a big relief for us, because we can work from home while our son learns to read and write. I don’t care much about the bad weather. I like going out, to the theatre, to hear a local band, to meet with a friend in restaurant or a bars. Not being able to do this gives me the sense of being trapped. All I can do now is to “hope for a better future”, a sentence I once read on a street sign in Guadalupe, California. My preliminary conclusion is that this year or vacations plans rarely worked. Having no plans at all, live for the moment, and wait for a signal from the outside to resume normal operation would be an option. Another alternative would be to see what’s possible and plan for the day. As in spring I expect to do some walks along the river, this time wearing a warm jacket and rubber boots.
I am aware that I am concerned with luxury problems. The mother of a kid in my son’s school had to extend her job as a nursery teacher, because her husband lost his job. As a consequence she won’t be able to prepare her son’s breakfast. The people who are suffering most from the situation are those who have the talent to make our lifes worth living in the real world. They are jobless now because we have to stay in the digital space. I start missing my analogue life. I’m sitting at my desk trying to calculate the time until the beginning of spring. Perhaps this how the gipsy girl felt.
I can’t write a blog post that ends on a negative note. Last Monday I watched the recording of a virtual session with Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. To work for a company where scientists and engineers try to solve the problems of the real world gives me a sense of purpose. On the next day two gardeners planted a tree in the garden in front of my window. There is hope.