When We’re (Not) Half Way There

It’s the 8000th of March today so I decided to spruce up the corner where I spend most of my day writing browsing the Internet. I placed the currently on rotation home scents on a cake stand for no particular reason, as well as set a framed photograph of my boyfriend Brad* next to it. This took me about three minutes, so I’m back staring at my neighbours exercise on their balcony across the courtyard. How’s your lockdown working for you?

I have good things to share about mine: I have witnessed many a miracle in the past weeks. First, Belgian public authorities do have internet access and email. Requiring people to haul ass to various offices has been a hoax all along – the Government is connected to the World Wide Web! Only a mere apocalypse was needed to nudge them to switch on the computers in the morning!

My bitchy resting – and potentially lethal – face has been requested to make an appearance absolutely fucking nowhere lately, and miraculously the Franco-Belgian fetish for stamping documents has given way for running errands online, much like in the rest of the world. I know not nearly all of you will understand the magnitude of this, but this is absolutely, monumentally pontifical.

Ever been a victim of a DHL/UPS drive-by shooting? When they give you heads up about the day your parcel is about to be delivered and you take that day off work, stop imbibing liquids the previous night so as to spare you from going to the loo on the day of and thus miss the buzzer, and station yourself by the window facing the street for nine hours straight so that you absolutely will not miss the bloody van? Just to find a message in your mailbox the next morning announcing
Sorry we missed you yesterday as we attempted to deliver your parcel, please pick it up yourself from the arse end of the world (see overleaf for instructions). Thank you for your understanding“?

Maybe it’s the fact that nobody’s not home these days, or the delivery people just one day realised that they are in fact in the business of delivering parcels, but here we are. Parcels are being delivered. I should probably not celebrate this here lest I jinx it for everybody else, but ordering online these days is a lot less anxiety-inducing than pre-corona.

If we count out Hungarian dictators, it seems many people are actually trying to be nice and do the right thing. I worry about the countless women who are imprisoned in their homes with violent spouses. At the same time a number of women are using their platform in the media and making noise about this issue with the consequence that countries like Germany and France are already opening hotels for victims of domestic violence.

The ratio between assholes and good people in the world is probably going to remain constant post-corona, but it is good to see, on some level, that yes, there is no us versus them in this shit, really. Deepak Chopra said in a podcast** the other day that “if this doesn’t bring us together, then we deserve whatever happens”.

Another great thought-leader, Jon Bon Jovi, penned this already back in 1986:

We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not
We’ve got each other and that’s a lot for love
We’ll give it a shot
Woah, we’re half way there

So yeah, there might be some hope. Even if we’re still not quite half way there.

*You might know this multilingual superstar from the Inglourious Basterds, in which he made a memorable performance in (fluent) Italian.

**Recode Decode with tech-journo Kara Swisher.

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