Anonymous 3m 765 #covid19
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
I’m writing this from the small city where I’m from, near Bordeaux called “Gujan-Mestras”, in the south west of France. My full time job is a world class touring circus performer but for now, I write. The date is now March 16th. I’m at my brothers house visiting and we hear all over the news, social media, and radios that the president will speak to the people, live, at 8pm. Now I don’t know about other countries, but in France this NEVER happens. The president will speak once a year on New Years Day to send his best wishes to the people for the new year OR if there is a national emergency .. and there you had it.
“Tomorrow march 17th, at exactly 12 pm, the whole country will be put in full lockdown.” Every school were being closed, non essential shops, access to the beaches, parks, forests, mountains prohibited. We were no longer allowed outside our house unless it was for basic necessities such as the 5 following : going to work (if you cannot work from home), go to the grocery store / pharmacy, go to a medical appointment, go to assist a family member in need (ex : my mother was in high risk group so we were doing her groceries and bringing them to her), or for sports activities within a kilometer radius from your home, and for one hour maximum.
We had a paper that we needed to fill out (that eventually became a PDF on phone) for every time we were to leave the house, with those five options. If you got checked by the police and did not have the form, or were going against the rules, it was an instant 135 euros fine. Tick one of the boxes, fill in your name, date of birth, city of birth, address and the time with a signature on the bottom. That’s when it started to really hit me and the process to realizing what was truly happening, started. Until that day, everything was seeming so absurd that I hadn’t really started understanding what was going on. Little did I know it was only the beginning.
Within 48 hours, every gig I had planned for the next 6 months were cancelled and my life was basically put on hold. Two weeks after we were put on full lockdown, the president speaks again to announce he was adding an extra two weeks. At this point, the death rate was increasing to about 500 deaths a day so to be honest, it was more reassuring than anything. Although the daily death rate was significantly increasing even after those 2 extra weeks (the highest was around 950), things started to get scary when our prime minister announced that they were adding an extra .. month.
This is when shit really hit the fan, pardon my french. People were starting to literally go crazy and so was I. I started developing this huge anxiety of feeling useless that I started a dozen activities and online jobs to then develop anxiety because I didn’t have enough hours in a day. Suicide and domestic violence ratings had almost doubled, people were killing their roommates with frying pans and others were starting to break the rules.
It was a no mans land and every time you listened to the news, although media always exaggerate everything, it sounded like a freakin episode of “The Purge” out there. Thankfully this madness didn’t last too long as we were announced two weeks later that full lockdown would be officially lifted at the end of that month. People started getting hope again, even if we knew it would be an extremely progressive return to “normal” life. We’re on week two since lockdown was lifted as I write this, and I realize how unreal this moment in time feels.
I keep hoping that it’s all just a wild dream and that any minute I’m going to wake up on the 16th of March, fully hungover and ready for another day. But it’s not and I’ve accepted that now. After 8 full weeks in lockdown, I’ve been able to see my parents and my grandmother again and although we still make the effort of social distancing, I realize how much this time has allowed me to reflect on the little pleasures of life such as walking further than a kilometer away from my home, feeling the sand in between my toes, and enjoying some time with my family while I still have it. I will never take anything for granted ever again.