photos: Roger Sabaté.
What a fucking rollercoaster ride. I’m sure most of you will agree that the last 3 weeks have been some of the most intense ones we’ve all lived through. It’s hardly an exaggeration that what’s happening right now is the biggest shared global experience since… ever? I don’t even think the world wars actually immediately effected every single country in the world as this pandemic does. And I guess even previous outbreaks didn’t reach as far and as fast because back then the world was just much less connected than it is now.
But while it’s crazy outside in the world, what most people are really experiencing right now is actually happening on a much smaller landscape. For us, everything’s going down now in our own four walls. And unless you are still working and have not been confined to the home office, the longest way you walk from there is probably the small number of blocks you have to pass to reach your nearest supermarket. Our world feels like it shrunk remarkably.
With every passing week the noise, the drama, the exponential graphs are fading a little and get slowly replaced by a new reality of improvised live streams, an overabundance of home workouts and endless phone calls. We’re musing on how things will go on, how productive we can or should be right now if self-made face masks would be a good idea. For however long, this seems to be our new normal.
After the first week, I was worried that if we all continue to get bombarded with dreadful news and conflicting information we will all just go insane. But I think many of us kind of managed to keep the flow of information filtered enough to let some kind of routine and normalcy come back into our lives. For the sake of our own sanity.
It certainly has become less noisy in our house – and in our heads. We’ve taken the time and attention away from the pandemic and the struggles we’re facing because of it, to ease our minds with activities we might not have had the time for otherwise. There’s no shame in some good old distraction.
My husband, for instance, made his first lasagna because he knows how much I love it. It came out a bit more crisp than he anticipated, but I devoured it with glee nonetheless. In an effort to have to leave the house less on a quest to satisfy our increased appetite for sweet bakery goods he even baked a cake for us which normally only happens on the occasion of birthdays. It became apparent to us how such little things are really so under-appreciated in this day and age when we cut the first slices of the cake and it felt like Christmas as a kid.
There is this weird expectation of being active about the situation, working right through it as if nothing had happened, or even keep up with all these home work-out routines you see everyone sharing. But to be honest, it feels so liberating to NOT put any extra pressure on me right now and just go with the flow of these mundane days at home. And I don’t mean that in a romanticizing way, I just want to be a leaf floating on a river right now.
Talking about leaves: I started to propagate plants and run a tiny little plant nursery now in my living room. With some luck, I’ll have 30 new plants soon. I also started to gather all woods, paints, and tools in my house to see what fun DIY projects I could do with them to make something new for the house. Now that I’ll be spending more conscious time in this nest I better make it as cozy as possible. I also trimmed my beard as short as I have ever done in my adult life. And I might have also silently abandoned any rule on how much chocolate and ice cream I consume per day. But let’s not advertise that too loudly maybe…
Does this all sound a bit familiar to you? I bet it does. In fact, I have proof!
I have a new colleague in my iHeartBerlin team. Roger is a young photographer and videographer from Spain and we had big plans to shoot photos and videos in many different places and with many different people here in Berlin. Well, those plans are on hold right now, and in an effort to keep Roger busy during his quarantine I asked him to document his life in his shared apartment with his flatmates. What you see in this article are his photos. I didn’t tell him anything about the things I mention in this article, yet here they are: The lasagna, the cake, the phone calls, the hair trimming, the DIY projects. Without knowing, we have lived quite similar lives confined in our respective homes.
This makes me realize that probably many of you have lived the same lives these last couple of weeks, and I find unexpected comfort in that. After all, this seems to be the biggest global shared experience we’ve all lived through…