My incoming calls continue to reduce by the day. It is worrying. Are my friends all fine and not sick, I wonder.
This afternoon, I decided to call my buddy. This is folk who will call me at least once in two days. As you grow old, true friendships are gold. Man is a social animal. However, #covid19 is re-writing all the rules. Social distancing. Online shopping. Home deliveries. No visitations. It is tough.
Below is our conversation:
Me: [Symptoms of coronavirus disease are coughing, running nose, sneezing, sore throat, fever, difficulty in breathing and body weakness], this is the first message before the phone starts Beep, beep, beep….
Friend: Hi Mustapha, coronavirus is not a joke.
Me: Indeed, it is not.
Friend: When the President announced a lockdown, I decided to stay at home. I stocked essential foods. Today, we ran out of stock. We agreed that I should go to the market since I am more careful.
Man, it has not been easy.
At the supermarket, the spaces are narrow. So many people are shopping. I pass by the teller’s counter. I head to the bread and food section. I pick rice, posho and bread. I go to the drinks section I buy some sodas and fruits.
Many people are squeezing themselves past me. I am getting concerned.
Then a young girl sneezes directly into me…
I take offence. The kid has no mask on. I don’t have one either.
I hold my breath briefly. But you know I cannot do it for long. Within just 30 seconds. I release and inhale. I feel as if I have caught this virus.
I move to the checkout counter. So many people are on the line.
Many things are running in my mind. Is this virus airborne or just poor hygiene? If it is airborne, why was China spraying people in their cars and on the streets? It must be through touch.
Now I have these boys who work in the supermarket coming closer to me. Holding my items and packing the products I have purchased. I am concerned. I rush first to the entrance and sanitize. I return and queue.
I hold the items. Then rest my hand on the bars in the queuing areas. I realize it should not have done it. Impulsively, I touch my face and nose.
Finally, they check me out. As I exit, I meet two people and they speak directly into my face. I feel as if some saliva landing on my body. I am furious. I tell them off, they continue as if nothing wrong they have done.
I decide to rush to my car. Thank God, I find it hot.
I lock my self in for like 5 minutes… in my mind I want the virus to die since they have said it cannot survive hot temperature.
Me: Man, that is quite a story.
Friend: I am not yet done. It gets uncomfortable in the car. I start the engine and start driving home. I arrive home feeling uneasy.
I decide to go and have a full-body bath.
Me: The best time to go to the market is in the morning. We are all anxious and don’t know when will this pandemic stop. We need it to stop urgently.
I thought you have heard about this virus spreading via phone calls.
Friend: No. I know it is not spreading over the phone. I have just been worried. So many things to catch up with. The kids. Man, this is the first time I am at home full day with the kids. Even in the holidays, I usually leave home early for work. On Sundays it is football. There is always something to take my time but family.
So, I have no football. No work. Nothing. I am with the kids.
I am learning a lot from these people.
Me: Good for you. I was just checking on you. I have to sign out. Keep well. Bye.
#covid19 is a game-changer. It is helping parents connect with their children. And learn to live without things we thought are addictive.
After all, there is life without entertainment.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.