This article is, more than ever, a bottle that I throw into the sea of time. I write it at the beginning of the seclusion, surrounded by a silent and captive city, fragile snails hidden behind the shell that we only show our soft body at the time of applause, on the balconies. And you are reading it two weeks later, still locked up and, I'm afraid, with quite a few days of closure still ahead. I imagine myself in 15 days, together with you; the white roots of my dyed hair will be more grown and will be a memento of the transience of life (how grizzled many of us will emerge from isolation: looked at, the debate on the opening of hairdressing salons was existential). But, other than that, I guess everything will be more or less the same. We will continue sailing through the deep waters of the intense plague weather.
How easily the coronavirus has loaded that mirage of security and control in which we lived in modern societies. It is an especially humiliating defeat, because the virus is so tiny a pinch that it is not seen with light microscopes. It is a lump of nucleic acid and protein that is not even fully alive: it is like the zombie of infectious agents. And that nonsense has brought down the planet. Humility should be our first learning.
At times, especially as a young man, when I was still very ignorant of myself, I have wondered how I would have reacted in certain critical historical situations. In Nazi Germany, for example: would he have been able to hide a Jew, with the danger that this posed? Well, now we are experiencing our critical circumstance. It is a tremendous, unexpected test. It is our test. The rest of our days will be marked by what we did or did not do, by how we behave within this colossal anomaly.
I am talking about those mindless supporters who left to fill up and infect beaches as if they were on vacation (by the way: they were a minority within the population of Madrid; falling into the stereotype of hatred of Madrid is another mindless attitude); those ignorant kids who play to circumvent authority and gather on the floors of friends (you are potential murderers); those selfish smarts that supermarkets empty; Those scoundrels who disguise themselves as doctors to break into houses. Or those miserable people who create false news about Covid (I just heard the audio of a supposed doctor giving torrents of lying data to justify that we should abandon isolation). All these individuals, in short, each one in his own measure, have chosen to go down in history, their own history and memory, like pigs.
But I am not just referring to the social sphere. The biggest challenge is the interior. How to live life when you have run out of defensive tricks or costumes? Raw and clean life in the slow and incandescent time of the plague. Among the healers and wonderful jokes that run through the networks (blessed technology that unites us) this came to me: "A friend says that with this isolation at home she has been talking with her husband for a while and that she has found him very nice". That's the question: let's try to find ourselves nice. Or let's just try to find each other. When the noise and the incessant movement stop, the real remains. Enduring weeks with some children that you usually park somewhere. Really live with your partner in a narrow environment, and learn not only to listen to her, but also to respect her absence in the presence. Endure your loneliness, if you live alone, and manage to feel comfortable in it. And, above all, manage time well. Instead of losing it, burning it, throwing it away (life is what happens while we deal with something else, according to a supposed phrase by John Lennon) as we did in the agitation of normality , now we have a unique opportunity to inhabit the present. To fill with conscience and will every minute. To discern between the essential and the superfluous. Let's try that this test, and the painful economic hangover that will come, teach us at least to be a little better.