I find myself having developed an odd fear of crowds and asking questions like: ‘‘Can I drink this here?’’ or ‘‘The shops are still open, right?’’
Sipping on my coffee in namesti Svobody and feeling like a rebel, I can’t help but wonder how people cope with the rapid changes to the rules in this country. One week we’re told it’s safe and everything can open up again, the next it’s back to locking up early and public sobriety.
I’m not saying that the rules are bad or anything, just that it feels like I’m running hurdles trying to keep up with each new little measure. And sometimes I lose track.
I imagine that I’m not the only one confused by the situation. With businesses opening and closing at the drop of a hat, many of my student friends who work in retail or hospitality are despondent, to say the least, and I’ve personally seen business owners trying to keep a brave face with tears welling up in their eyes.
Amidst the confusion and gloominess, there are heartwarming moments and random acts of kindness. Charities have been raising funds and awareness, volunteers help those in need and even expats are helping out where they can.
Still, this Christmas season hasn’t stirred any festive notions in me. The markets, the Ferris wheel, Christmas trees and decorations are all very pretty, but not worth standing out in the cold – unless I had some company and a hot cup of svařák to warm me up, body and soul.
My greatest sympathy goes towards older people, whose lives have changed immensely this year, with little hope of relief in sight. I share the longing to see family, since all of my relatives are overseas, and I’ve felt the fear of not knowing if you will see someone again. I can only hope that next Christmas will be different for all of us.
I don’t know what is the right or wrong way to handle a global pandemic, who does? But, I question to what extent the lockdowns and measures and masks and social distancing are affecting us.