Christina/ March 28, 2020/ The daily grind

Yesterday I took a ride with my mountainbike. My MP3-player suddenly played the song “the world stands still” by Jan Delay. That could be the hymne for the next weeks if not months. According to the impressions I received today upon a flying visit in Hannover and the yet to come health risks and economical challenges for the world the sentence “you cannot relay on tomorrow” gets a completely new meaning.

The expulsion from Paradise
The first week of restraining order has almost passed by. The indication of economical and social consequences are slightly visible. So far I mostly stayed in my neighbourhood, benefitted from the beautiful weather after work and went jogging in the nearby parc. I guess I was on the “Island of the Blessed” as I found out today.

I have an appointment in Hannover and I take the train to get there. The Brunswick train station on this day about 10 o’clock is more empty than on a rainy sunday morning. The train is also pretty empty, people are sitting on their seats with much space between them. I do not see a conductor that day. Should I be angry that I bought a ticket? Stupid thought, but still it is there. Around 11 o’clock we arrive at Hannover. Everybody, who has been to the train station of Hannover on a friday knows how packed the station normally is. Usually it is difficult to step off the train and to reach the stairs to the entrance hall. Today everything is different. Yawning emptiness.

Upon leaving the train station direction Kröpcke I take a picture of the empty forecourt. The pedestrian zone is also empty, sure, why should somebody go there when all business are closed anyway? Just the supermarket of Galerie Kaufhof is still open, but it seems that nobody cares.

Shopping cards in the pedestrian zone
Everybody might have realized by now that it is obligatory to use a shopping card upon purchases. However, I also see full shopping cards outside supermarkets. No, these are not panic shoppers who bring their pickings home. These are homeless people and beggars pushing their belongings through the streets. I spot an old man with a completely broken and used pair of slippers. He pushes a shopping card in front of him. A variety of dirty fabric bags are attached to the card. The bags have names on it such as “Hannover” or “Bremen”. It is heartbreaking for me to see things like that. I see a lot of beggars that day squatting on the ground, partly with signs stating “I am hungry” and partly they are still asleep in front of the doors of closed department stores.

I am depressed with the situation and makes me feel helpless and powerless. It is no use to give each of them two Euros to make them and me feel better. It is sink or swim now and this is only the start I fear.

It smells like urine
When I return to the station I experience the situation as even more frightening. The forecourt is more populated by now. There are all-foreigners on the streets. I do not mention that because I do not like them. No, it is all about the impression that inhabitants who can afford to stay at home do so or take their car to move around. Only the people who are reliant on the help of others or do not have a home are still on the streets.

Upon entering the train it smells penetrantly like Urine. I have to leave my primary seat for another one which is not that easy as everybody – of course – tries to sit alone. Instinctively I pull my scarf above my face. I do not feel happy with it I just want to go home. Reaching the station of Peine I see a police car and the regulatory authority they are both checking persons and the observance of the new rules. I think it is for the first time that I see a car from the regulatory authority in my life.

Oranges as a scarce good?
I am happily reaching the train station of Brunswick. I take my bkie back home. On the way I stop at the supermarket. It is early afternoon and obviously a good time for shopping, the market is quite empty. I want to buy oranges as my supermarket around the corner did not have them for at least two days. I am lucky to buy the very last mesh. Are oranges a scarce good in the meantime or are they also a victim of panic buying? I am astonished as surveys always claim that people are not panic buying and that they believe that groceries will be available for the next months. Why are people lying? Is it social desirability? Are they trying to convince themselves that they are no hamsters even though they are creeping at the same time to the nearby supermarket to buy secretly the ultimate package of toilet paper, flour, sugar, pasta or latterly yeast?

In order to get rid of some mental stress I take a ride with my moutainbike. Unfortunately the roads are packed with walkers and cyclists (like me!) and it is rather an obstacle course than a ride. However, I am thankful. I know that I am still privileged. I can still go outside, I can still make use of the nice weather (to some extend) and I am still healthy. That is my personal therapy for the time being, to be outside (for a while) and take notice of beautiful things around me, like ducks and goose, the awakening nature and the thankfulness that all of my friends are healthy and well – even though I miss them a lot.

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