It snowed today and while it’s not unusual to have snow at the end of March, it felt like another odd occurrence in this world turned on its head, especially as we had 18 degree sunshine on Saturday. The flakes were thick and feathery but didn’t lie for long, just enough for a soft, white dusting before evaporation. Some transformations are delightful and transient, others deep, strange and enduring.
Although I stayed in most of the day, I had two unexpected encounters, both coloured by the all pervasive context. The first was presaged by a ring on the doorbell, always triggering a hypothetical question mark, now even more so. On opening the door, I found a delivery man keeping his distance. He asked if I’d take in a parcel for an upstairs neighbour. This happens quite a lot as we live on the ground floor, or Hochpaterre as its known in these parts when just above street level.
The elderly neighbour for whom we keep a lot of parcels, grumbles that its laziness that keeps the deliverers from climbing the stairs. I’m pretty sure it’s working conditions and unreasonable targets set by managers who never have to try and fail to meet them, serving rich CEOs who they never see. The guy today was wearing a blue surgical mask and gloves, he looked nervous, worried I’d refuse. I told him I would of course but was relieved when I wasn’t required to sign, therefore touch his electronic device, instead spelling my surname as he typed it in. He put the parcel on the floor, I picked it up with a gardening glove and put it where they usually go.
The second encounter happened towards the end of the day when I decided to go out for a brisk bike ride as part of my daily exercise. Despite the extra hour we’ve had since Sunday, the light was already fading. As I rounded the first corner, I met a friend who lives in my street. We promptly stood 2 metres apart. Remarking on the strangeness of it all, we expressed gratitude for our relative safety, sanity and living conditions. As she grew up in Sarajevo and would have been in her adolescence during the city’s siege and war in Bosnia, my friend said it reminded her somewhat of “the ’90s” but “nicer”, as at least enemy wasn’t human she said.
My partner continued to create his chess set intended for outdoor events this summer. We took some photos in the cellar, on a chalked out chequerboard.