Day 19 – Loneliness

The days are all the same in quarantine, thanks God since I’m working from Home in Smart Working as we call it, at least the day is full of meetings and activities that keep me away from the effort of having to fill many hours within the same walls. In the part of Milan where I live outside, everything is very quiet: few cars, few people, nothing more … The temptation to feel dozed off and to be assailed by apathy or worse by the panic of the numbers that continue to report a massacre of deaths (even today more than 900) is really big. We are alone and defenseless. Social networks simply mitigate this situation by mixing nonsense, messages, news in a whirlwind that leads to constant mood swings and enthusiasm. Then I see my mother’s message saying “Look at the Pope’s blessing at 6 pm”. Ah yes … The Pope. Who knows why in these moments faith is no longer just a typo from the past, an old appendix that we all remove but, more than ever, it becomes hope.

Pope Francis in an empty St Peter’s square

At 6 PM I’m in front of the TV, I don’t watch the usual daily bulletin and I simply put myself on hold. The show that presents itself is really full of drama the Pope faces a completely empty churchyard and who has been right there know very well how huge St. Peter’s Square is, especially when it is empty. It is he, but it is we, alone and tiny. There is little hope, and a lot of submission, to testify that yes, we are close to the end. The commentator says that it is the first time that the plenary indulgence is given to all those who simply wish it without any of the usual rules accompanying it. Another sign of the total uniqueness and drama of the days we are experiencing. Something epochal, without any doubts.

Day 13 – The show must to go on

Some thoughts on the 13th day of quarantine. The situation seems to be all but clear. We begin to see a certain nervousness through social media and in general among people. Yesterday evening Premier Conte announced a live intervention on Facebook and just beeing few minutes late generated a widespread sense of panic and chaos. The striking thing is that this crisis “the most important since the end o World War II” has passed like a tank on what for my generation has been a practically unassailable dogma: the show must go on. Whatever happened, the machine never stopped or if it did, it was for a short period of time, and above all, almost never everything and everyone together. Gulf War, 11th September, The death of John Paul II, Earthquakes, various (including nuclear) catastrophes nothing before today had succeeded like this microscopic being in stopping the car thrown at a thousand on which we were travellling. And one of the biggest paradoxes is precisely that: what stopped everything was not some world war, some atomic weapon but something infinitely small and infinitely simple in front of us and the technologies we manage daily.

And what if we took all of this as a success, as a try to realize that the sophisticated but certainly not perfect machine that we designed, could stop. That we are not slaves to our creation, that we can also choose to turn it off if necessary? Maybe for a short time, maybe planning it in advance and marking it on the calendar. A moment for everyone and if it should be for everyone it could mean that nothing can be done that day: no restaurants, buses, trains, planes, work, shopping, mountains, sea, football, basketball, F1 … exactly like these days … Except for one thing. Being together, on that day you could and should be together but being together just for the pleasure of doing it, without a specific end. Because in this forced segregation that we have been living for weeks, perhaps we realized that they are not the things from which we struggle to stay away. They are the people, who we love. This epochal plague some teaching will leave us and certainly this I hold tight, because when everything will return to normal and will say “you cannot just stop everything” there will be the memory of these days to tell us that instead it is all a matter of want it, first of all put a common good which, hopefully in other situations, can be identified in something other than public health. A hope and almost a certainty. Just want it.