Br(u)no: How Has Brno Changed During this Pandemic Quarantine? Week 5

Photo credit: KK / Brno Daily.

It feels like the end game is coming. The government is publishing plans for opening businesses up again. School schedules are being made. Dates have been circled on calendars.

Brno, it seems, will soon awaken from its coronavirus slumber.

So what will our lives be like when we get to the new normal? How will the world have changed by this whole weeks-long pandemic quarantine?

• Will there be a bigger push for G5 technology to increase the power of the internet and further ingrain it into our personal and professional lives?

• Will large crowds be a thing of the past? Will Czech people stop crowding you when standing in line?

• Will sports resume any time soon? Will leagues be completely changed?

• Will more countries, like Hungary, turn away from democracy and allow leaders to rule by decree?

• Will there be a new push for universal health care and a stronger safety net in the United States?

• Will supply chains that were built upon just-in-time deliveries be replaced by robotic warehouses?

• Will conventional armed forces become a thing of the past when viruses (and cybertechnology) flow largely unencumbered around the globe?

• Will nationalism and anti-globalists gain power such that there will be a bigger push to close borders? Will international institutions be weakened?

• Will the coming economic downturn change the international power structure, with powerful nations that hit hard by the virus (i.e., the United States) being replaced by smaller nations who missed the brunt of the virus (i.e., the Czech Republic) in some significant aspects?

• Will the temporary suspension of civil liberties that allowed mandatory quarantines and the gathering of mobile phone data lead to general acceptance and the potential for more intrusions?

• Will the Coronavirus Generation of children have less touchy-feely relationships? Will people kiss on the cheek any more?

Saturday, April 11 — Day 29

Today was the day that my family and I were supposed to go to northern Italy for a weeklong break. It is off-season and cheaper. The kids are young: they need not go in the water; they simply want to make sand castles. The weather is perfect for walking barefoot on the beach.

We cancelled the trip in mid-February, as soon as we heard how things were going wrong, but it has made the events there seem sort of personal, somehow connected to our family.

Sunday, April 12 — Day 30

I take a sports angle on child injuries. When they fall down, I pick them up and say: “Walk it off.” It works, mostly. They’ve started to get up on their own. However, the little shits are good at throwing things back in your face. I painfully stubbed my toe on a piece of furniture. As I was hopping around in pain, my son said: “Walk it off, dad.”

The kids also repeat other things that they have heard, like “Where’s your brain” of “What are you thinking?” Cheeky buggers, those.

Monday, April 13 — Day 31

Today was velikonoční pondělí. It is one of the strangest days on the Czech calendar. According to local tradition, boys and men are supposed “freshen up” the girls and women in their lives with the tap of a pomlázka, a braid of willow branches. In return, the boys and men are supposed to get an egg or a shot of slivovice. Women, understandably, hate it. I know of a group of women who go hiking every year. Not sure if they went this year.

Today there can be no going from door to door, like what happens in villages. Mandatory social distancing has rendered this custom obsolete, which, really, is about time. Hitting women for alcohol is a tough sell in this #Metoo generation.

Tuesday, April 14 — Day 32

After weeks of Zoom conference calls and constant Microsoft Teams instant messages, I can see how some companies may consider going completely online. Why not? It would save a lot in rent.

My company, for one, made a seamless transition to home offices for dozens of people in at six time zones across two continents. There have not been many drawbacks. Frankly, things went better than usual because we are able to make fast adjustments to accommodate the quick-changing laws and regulations of the United States.

Wednesday, April 15 — Day 33

Once, when I interviewed the football coach of my university, he surprised me with a compliment. “You have a strong handshake,” he said. He was probably buttering me up because his team was legendarily bad, but it is a moment that has stayed with me for more than two dozen years.

Will we ever shake hands again? Or will we now bump elbows when we meet someone or close a business deal? Real estate agent: “Congratulations, you now own this house!” Elbow bump.

Thursday, April 16 — Day 34

Have you done enough during this self-quarantine period? Much of my adult life I have read about a book a week. But during these past 35 days I’ve read exactly one book chapter. Instead, I am constantly plowing through newspapers and periodicals.

Have you exercised enough? I fear that I put on the Covid-15 — which could be disastrous, because I’ve spend decades in an ongoing (losing) battle against the Freshman 15 pounds that I put on during my first year of university.

Friday, April 17 — Day 35

Shakespeare wrote “King Lear” while sheltering during a plague period. I’ve written nothing creative, although, professionally, two days of non-stop writing and updating and editing and proofreading knocked me out and had me asleep in the early evening.

I hope others have not been so lazy: The deadline for the fourth annual Brno Short Story Writing Contest is a month away. It’s free to enter. The theme is: Brno. Click here to see the website and access the Official Rules.

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How do you think life in Brno, in general, and your life, in particular, will change because of the coronavirus pandemic? Tell us about it in the comments below or on Facebook.

Be safe. Be well.

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