Corona Quarantina 1

Fayes T Kantawala is maintaining a journal in these times

Corona Quarantina 1

I’ve already been in self-isolation for a week, although its only been a day or so since New York told its residents to stay indoors for everything but essential matters like grocery runs or medical appointments. The streets have gone from empty to derelict. I decided to go out to get some fresh air because my apartment is the size of a small crate and not built for confinement, but I can already feel judgmental eyes watching from high windows. It’s spring here, the air is fresh and the streets a parade of flowers. I pass by a restaurant and for a moment think they are open but I see the same note pasted to the door as in front of every other store: Covid-19, closed, safety, further notice. The room inside is dark with twenty tables eerily set with napkins, glasses and cutlery – waiting for a party of ghosts.


Maybe quarantine is going to be amazing! I can use the time to master cooking and do pushups so that by the time that last person coughs, I can emerge resplendent with abs and a lifestyle show. Maybe I can become a Youtube sensation or an Instagram star! How hard could it be, really? Oooh! I could finish my novel and maybe start writing a screenplay about infectious diseases. Wonder whats on Netlfix? Could do with some inpiration.


I wake at 10 am (whats the point?) And see a message from NY’s Governor Cuomo. It takes me a moment to realize that we are not, in fact, friends and that this is probably a text that every registered phone in New York is getting. It doesn’t say much: just to wash your hands and stay in. There are more stories of closures and preemptive measures, although I am surprised the subway is still running. Anyway, time to do Vinyasa yoga in my lounge, a feat I manage by removing a table from the room so that I can downward dog without impaling myself on an IKEA spike.
In related news, astrologers across the world have suddenly fallen silent. Didn’t see this coming, did you Astro Fraud?


I’m getting really sick of bloody daal, to be honest. Had it five times so far because its the only things I can keep in this tiny apartment that won’t rot at sight. Envy all my friends in normal-sized places who have full-sized fridges to freeeze meats and stocks. Already beginning to feel the cabin fever, imagining self as heroic civilian in World War 2, making do with what I have – like those women who made lipstick from beetroots or mechanics that used cat guts for lubricant. Going to make quiche with a sage butter potatoes today. Also Netlfix doesn’t have anything new anymore, so will try Amazon. In related news, astrologers across the world have suddenly fallen silent. Didn’t see this coming, did you Astro Fraud?


Oh my God, I’ve put on three kilos on four days. How? HOW? Surely butter doesn’t act that quickly?! In the midst of my weighing crisis I hear a knock on the door followed a muffled voice. I gasp and frozen in silence but realize the scale went up, so I exhale to feel thin. Finally whoever it is leaves my door (must remember to bleach that) and now they are knocking on my neighbours’ door. escortnavi geneva escort

“Exterminator!” A man says cheerfully.

“Get the $$$$ away from my door!” my neighbour replied behind her closed door. Exhausted footsteps are followed by more knocking, this time on the floor below. Since everyone is at home its now common place for me to hear when my upstairs neighbours - until now purely theoretical presence in my life - watch TV or flush their toilet. What they look like I couldn’t tell you, but I know they love watching car shows and late-night comedy. More news about New York City becoming an epicenter of the pandemic, making me wonder why I am in the one city that stars in every disaster movie ever. Also, now seen everything on Amazon movies so moving onto Youtube.


I’m out of groceries and so I get pandemic-ready before going out: surgical gloves first, then a mask. I wear a set of workout clothes that I keep by the door as my outerwear and then walk the empty streets to the closest grocery store. Even at 9 am there is a line around the block. Everyone stands casually six feet apart, and it’s one of the many instances in the last week that I think how nice New York can be without people touching you. They only allow 100 people at a time inside the massive store, but giving priority to older people. I wait an hour and then enter in a sparse line. People pull out disinfectant sprays before touching the trolleys, others have brought their own. I get my stuff and walk home though the dog shit that owners are not picking up because nothing matters anymore.


The news is getting worse. It’s now an order to stay in doors. Six friends have fled the city for the countryside, betting that it’s better to be out of the high density of Manhattan, although I know just as many who stayed on, so as to be walking distance from a hospital. I’m getting frustrated talking to loved ones back in Pakistan because no one seems to be taking it seriously enough. Arguments like “But I am in quarantine, except for the funeral yesterday, of course…” are triggers for my head to explode, but it’s important to stay calm. But how can I stay calm? What if they fall sick? What if they die? How long will the flights remain closed and I can’t get back in time to help? Why isn’t Pakistan shut down already?


Another week. Cuomo’s latest text saying NY might live like this for 12 more weeks. Things are getting bad. Officially out of things to watch online, so turning to previously downloaded BBC period dramas to keep alive. Also, daal seems to have multiplied like virus and I now have enough to last through 2090. Oh God.

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