Br(u)no: The Start of Three (Difficult) Weeks

Photo: A week’s worth of shopping. Credit: KB / BD.

If you are like me then, while you wait in the supermarket checkout line, you surreptitiously check what the shopper in front of you has put onto the conveyor belt.

A 10-pack of condoms? Lucky guy. Five chocolate bars and two tubs of ice cream? Tough break. Frozen pizzas and hot pockets? Take it easy on your arteries, dude.

Yes, I am a terrible, horrible person, I know.

To atone, here is my shopping list from a midday trip to Makro, the wholesaler of bulk goods, at what feels like the start of a three-week semi-hibernation due to the tightening of coronavirus restrictions in the Czech Republic. 

– Pork cutlets, 3.9kg

– Chicken breasts, 1.4kg

– Italian sausage, 1.2kg

– Ham slices, 300g

– Spinach, frozen, 2.5kg

– Eggs, 60

– Bread, wholemeal, 1 loaf

– English muffins, 1 package

– Bread, fresh-baked, 2 loaves

– Rice, basmati, 5kg

– Rice, sticky, 5kg

– Rice noodles, two large packages

– Peanuts, 1kg

– Nut and dried fruit mix, 1 kg

– Hot Apple drink mix, 550g

– Bottled water, no flavor, 12L

– Bottled water, orange-flavored, 9L

And, at last (but first in my heart),

– Jameson Irish Whiskey, 1L

Too much? Is it ridiculous to jam my freezer with meat and pack the kitchen cabinets with dry goods? I grew 50kg of potatoes this year, I canned 24 jars of tomatoes and I have a lot of flour, many packages of pasta and much more alcohol. And, the online supermarket, is a regular visitor to my home. So am I over-reacting?

Maybe. Maybe not.

* * *

It is not easy to balance the national State of Emergency with the apathy of pandemic fatigue. But this past week, as the rain poured down, the general feeling of impending danger increased with some truly bad news:

– For the past two weeks, the Czech Republic has had the highest rate of coronavirus infections in the European Union.

– So many medical personnel have fallen ill in nearby communities — Uherské Hradiště, Kroměříž, Zlín — that hospitals have reached out for help to general health care professionals, medical students and retired doctors and nurses.

– On Tuesday night, this country’s political leadership offered a mea culpa for the loosened anti-coronavirus restrictions during the summer. Then Roman Prymula, the Minister of Health, did not sugarcoat anything when he announced the latest restrictions, including the closure of schools, restaurants and pubs and the prohibition of groups of more than six people. Prepare, he said, for a significant increase in serious cases and deaths. The next three weeks will be “difficult and unhappy”.

* * *

“Difficult and unhappy” is a dire prediction. I hope it is exaggerated, but I fear the worst.

Perhaps the best way to deal with these next three weeks is to simply take it day by day. Recognize the situation, help if you can, but don’t add any problems. Settle in and wait patiently.   

And, perhaps, be proactive to modest degree. Three weeks is short enough to be bearable and long enough to set the foundations for a new life. Exercise every day. Finish significant professional projects. Read three books. Clean out the junk drawer. And make some epic meals.

November 3, the date when the State of Emergency will be reconsidered, could be the finish line. Perhaps, the Czech Republic will have lowered the coronavirus reproduction number to below 0.8 and the restrictions will be lifted or, at least, significantly (and intelligently) loosened. There is not much most of us can do about it. Only time will tell.

* * *

What about you? Are you able to handle the difficult news? Or are you ignoring it?

Have you had a big shopping trip? Or do you live in a tiny apartment with not much storage space? Do you rely on restaurants for food? 

Do you plan to use this three-week period to do anything?

Be safe. Be well.

And enjoy your meals.

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