P.P.S., a teen in Madrid, Spain

This post is in collaboration with covid9teen

Abnormal Normality in Madrid

Madrid, Spain:

At the moment of writing this text (April the 14th), it’s already been 35 days since the last day of school in Madrid, 31st since the government declared the state of alert. For me, it has certainly felt like a longer period of time. Classes have still been going on via Google Meet, homework is still being sent, and we even had our 9 day Easter break (in our homes, of course).

Measures taken forbid everyone to leave their residences except for vital necessities. The majority of businesses are closed, and the military patrols the streets to make sure no one breaks the rules, so we’re not allowed to take walks (which has proven to be challenging). I could also include a long list of details on how the disease has spread through the country and how the government has reacted to it, but after more than two months of speaking about this, I’m fed up. I’ll just say that, for the moment, Spain is one of the leading countries in cases and total deaths, and that Madrid is the most affected area as far as I know.

Reflecting about it, once we’ve reached this point it’s weird to think of life before the quarantine, when we were able to go to school, before our country was locked down. I’ve been writing a diary these days to keep myself busy, and the majority of the posts are just thoughts on how we used to live. There’s one particular anecdote that comes across as shocking these days. The second week of February, my school took my year on a field trip to a university fair nearby (by the way, that same space serves now as a giant hospital for Covid19 patients, which only makes the thing more strange when remembering it). There could easily be around 2.000 people in there, and the teachers only told us we should wash our hands when we returned to school. And one asks himself: “How could we be like that? How could we do that? How were we living like that?”

Quarantine is not anymore an entertaining new activity, but a lifestyle. As for me, I can’t complain, I’ve been coping with it pretty well. Reading adventure books has helped me as a way of evading reality and feeling as if I had gone for a walk at least, and having the school routine as usual tricks my mind into thinking I actually went outside of my home.

As for the future, it is yet unclear. We keep postponing the date of our “release”, as we call it, but it’s for everyone’s safety. I doubt very much we’ll return to school this year, but if we do, I thought I should buy cookies and give them out for whoever wants them, as a way of celebrating the end of our lockdown, and the restart of our (as for right now) abnormal normality.

[submitted on 4/14/2020]

Learn more about the LiQ and the covid9teen collaboration here

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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