This post was most recently updated on March 30th, 2020
I can’t tell you what “normal” is at this stage in the game. I can tell you that this is not what I expected to be doing two weeks after arriving to Paris to finally be with my husband. I had places to visit, plans to research, flowers to gaze upon. Friends were coming to Paris for the first time and I was determined to fill their 7 days with the essentials! I did not expect to be writing a “permission slip” when I needed to go to the grocery store.
All bars, restaurants, cafés, theaters, cinemas were to close at midnight on Saturday 14 March. We got the news as we were playing extras in a friend’s film. There was about 30 of us packed into a tiny little gallery not too far from la Porte Saint-Denis. It was about 8:15 PM and there was a slight wave of fretfulness that spread around the room; everyone checking their phones and whispering to each other. Is this really happening?
France went on a “lockdown” on Tuesday, March 17 at 12 PM. This means that it is highly super-duper suggested that you stay inside, putting it nicely. You now need an attestation (a.k.a. permission slip) to be outside of your residence. And the reasoning for being outside is being changed and tightened every day. For example, you’re allowed out for exercise: running, until today when it is recommended (and probably being enforced)that you stay within 2 km of your residence. Of course, you’re allowed outside if you need to go grocery shopping, or to the pharmacy, or the doctor’s office. If you’re still supposed to report for work, there’s a special permission slip for that with the included information of your work location and your boss’s signature. You’re allowed out if you have family that needs attention (i.e. young child or older relatives that may need checked on). Sounds a little much? I don’t think so.
My life right now, living in a 250 sq. ft. apartment with my husband who is working from home. Only venturing out for groceries (and no hoarding), which I did today and it was extremely eerie. Felt like I belonged in a zombie or apocalyptic movie since we live an extremely vibrant neighborhood and there happens to be a mall and a huge transportation hub just a few blocks away. I am trying to find our new normal in this weird time. There is so much we both want to do but are limited to our four walls. Hoping this time will lead to more creativity, learning, knowledge, and exploration from our tiny Parisian apartment.
Please, please, please, heed the words of those in official positions. Stay inside, weather this thing out, we are all in this together. Ohio, you are doing a fabulous job!