The idea of talking about “My Quarantine” seems to me a lot like old people sitting around talking about their symptoms. Nobody is interested, and everybody has their own.
So, here we sit in our apartment, in a kind of house arrest, locked downed by order of the French government. As 70-plus-year-olds we’re theoretically not even supposed to leave our house. We’re tucked away in this tiny village, and are probably in an environment safer than almost anywhere else we could possibly be.
No one is supposed to be outside without a “hall pass” of sorts, which details your alibi from a list of acceptable responses. Food shopping is one, going to the doctor, another. Exercise is acceptable, but not in groups, so the two of us taking a walk together is, in theory, a violation. Friends of ours who made an online-order from the big grocery store in La Fleche can only have a single person make the pick-up. Two people in a car together is apparently a no-no.
The good news is we have a supply of food and other necessities, and we have even prepped a small area in the back for a garden, as soon as the threat of overnight frost is over. The village has two bakeries still open every day, so our bread and ridiculously good pastries continue unabated right now. There are two small epiceries that remain open as well, each offering a limited variety of fresh produce; an assortment of dry, canned, and frozen foods; and lots of wine and liquor. All of these establishments are just steps away from our apartment.
So, all is good for the time being. Every morning I am out the door between 7:30 and 8 am, long before any kind of crowd shows up at the bakery, as it inevitably will. I’m almost always alone when I enter, and I get first choice of everything they have baked up in the early hours of the morning…all of it still warm.
Madame and I exchange a few pleasantries and chat a bit…something that would never happen when the queue has formed up outside, with people spreading out to acceptable social distance, and a slight tension fills the air. She is always cheerful , and remains so despite the anxiety of the virus. This morning she had added a screen between her and her customers, a wooden frame with what looks like plastic wrap stretched across it…a homemade but quite functional barrier to give her a little protection. When I told her I thought it was a good Idea, she said it was made for her by the town butcher; exactly the sort of thing one would expect in a little village like this.
We see in the news that in major cities like Paris people have been ignoring orders to avoid gatherings, just as is happening in the US, where the beaches in Florida were jammed with college students on spring break. Here we are in a bit of a bubble that seems, for the time being at least, able to provide most things residents really need, shielding us from the need to go outside of town, which we can’t do. It may give all of us cabin fever, but it hopefully will keep us safe until the threat has diminished.
Our confinement has energized Karen. She has a Masters in Worrying, and so even though our food supply is excellent now, she is already taking steps to be ready for a time of scarcity. She’s been researching online and has, I think, come up with something akin to “Cooking for the family in a prisoner of war camp.” This morning over coffee she rattled off four ingredients and said to me, “If that’s all you had, what would you do with them to make a meal?” It’s starting to feel like an episode of “Chopped.”
And even though only individuals are supposed to be out on the streets for whatever acceptable reason, we may wait until late at night, 11 pm or so, when the town is locked down and quiet as a tomb, then the two of us will go out for a late night walk for some exercise. We may have to duck into an alley if a gendarme car approaches, but that’s pretty unlikely. Not much need for a gendarme in a village like Luché in the middle of the night.