Sean

Male, 33


22nd May 2020


I started the lockdown period in the North of #Spain. Immediately, I felt uncomfortable about it. I was living in a small town with only a few thousand inhabitants. There were no cases of the virus in the town but instantly the atmosphere changed. Once packed bars and terraces were empty. The once friendly people now avoided each other - thrown into conflict by an unseen (and as yet for this town, non-existent) foe. Shopworkers wore masks. No exercise was allowed. You could buy food and work, but that was it. Life had been boiled down to these two facets (neither of which I particularly liked being both work-shy and a vegan in the Basque Country).


Initially, I told myself the lockdown would last only four weeks. Two for the purpose of the government showing they were taking action and a further two out of the usual government reticence to retract any draconian law. However, the news from Italy seemed to contradict this. Hospitals in the North were being overwhelmed. People over the age of 60 weren't being treated as they lacked capacity. I had read the virus had spread from only one man (who had returned from Wuhan) in a small town and quickly infected a thousand people. Were health systems going to be overwhelmed? But all this still seemed far away. The first man with the virus in the UK had been identified and named (and shamed). Maybe these measures were necessary in totality, even if a town had zero cases.


In Spain it wasn't permitted to exercise and I was going stir-crazy living with the owner of the school at which I was working. In the #UK you could exercise. I decided to leave.


I travelled by bus to Bilbao. I was nearly denied entry as I didn't have a travel card, but in this ridiculous situation I was allowed to board. I waited at Bilbao bus station for four hours for my coach to Madrid. There were no trains to #Madrid that day and only one coach. Four people were on the coach. I saw perhaps ten other people and cars on the journey to Madrid. I had been in Madrid in November and January. In November the streets were packed for the public holiday. The day I left the metro at Plaza de Sol, the only people there were myself and ten police officers. I was stopped and asked where I was heading. I told them an AirBnB, in a panic. AirBnB was not allowed to operate during the lockdown in Spain. The police accompanied me to the apartment. It turned out there was an exception, and those staying overnight in order to return home were exempted. The next day I arrived at the airport. At the airport I saw perhaps fifty people in five hours. I landed at Gatwick, again, deserted. The tube was empty. The intercity train to Leeds likewise.


Back at home I had to isolate from my parents for two weeks. Everyone was now fearful. Would I kill my parents, I thought? Would I have to live with that responsibility for the rest of my life? I had barely seen anyone for two and a half weeks but yet these were still my thoughts. The last human contact I had had (outside of the people with whom I was living) was a colleague (who was wearing a face-mask). I had sneezed whilst in the same room (dust related) and almost given him a heart-attack. An absurd overreaction, I thought. Why do people become so self-obsessed at the slightest hint of risk to their lives? I both pitied and hated him. How ridiculous. This news story, not affecting his town or anyone he knew, had caused him to entirely change his behaviour overnight. But for the lockdown he wouldn't have acted in this way. Nothing had changed but he had reacted to a sneeze like it was machine gun fire. Now, a week or so later, I was thinking the same. I would pass on the virus to my parents and be responsible for their deaths.


Two weeks passed and miraculously the family survived.


16th June 2020


Why am I such a lazy fuck? I don't really want to do anything at the moment. I spend most of my day planning what I'll be doing in the future, even though it's staggeringly simple.


I haven't read a book for weeks, not since I was on the plane to Bilbao in an horrendous gale. It was so bad I vowed I would never fly again. I already considering planes tin cans in the sky before that incident. A friend gave me a copy of his first novel yesterday, it's a thriller. I hate thrillers but I have to read it. It'll likely take weeks, but I told him I would read it in a day. He'll be disappointed.


I've spent most of today deliberating going to Portugal in mid June just to get away from living with my parents. It's a stupid idea as I've booked a flight to Bilbao on 6 July but I like the idea of solitude as opposed to habitually darting from room to room to avoid my parents.


I've been following the news in America the past few days. It's clear to me it's a fascist state. No one seems to have said this in the press.


I was also thinking about Jeffrey Epstein this morning. I believe he was murdered, but no media talks about it. There were some documents supposedly leaked by Anonymous showing a witness statement calling Trump a paedophile in cahoots with Epstein. I'm not sure as to the veracity, they're likely false. I remember when Epstein died I laughed a lot - so sure was I that he had been murdered by the state. They're not even pretending anymore, or making an effort to cover things up. Maybe I'm slipping into conspiracy theory. I think it's borne out of the riots. I think America is a sham democracy. There are six million people (dissidents against the system, essentially) in prison and the weight of the national guard immediately introduced once there are protests. A friend of mine was telling me earlier that supposedly one of the 7/7 conspirators had been an MI5 agent. Is all this nonsense? Before I would have thought this conspiracy but now I think it's naivety to not assume there's huge coordination to maintain the status quo. Personally, I think the protests should continue until there's radical change or revolution.


I'm becoming irritated by anyone who suggests any existence of a crowd 'spreads the virus'. It's embarrassing to me that people would throw away fundamental rights (freedom of assembly) due to the virus. The majority of it seems to have spread because hospitals and care homes have little to no PPE (particularly in the case of the latter). Democracy has already been lost in Slovenia and Hungary due to the virus. It will happen here and in America before long. Not that we have a functioning democracy anyway.