A Profound Look Back at the Week: March 9-13

Welcome to the Apocalypse. Our regular program will resume after the panic.

Just joking.

State of emergency

Yup. Bulgaria joined the ranks of countries in a state of emergency on Friday. The government acted with uncharacteristic swiftness to actually utilise it, too. All bars, restaurants, taverns, pubs, the lot, have been closed till end-March and whoever can work remotely, will have to. Schools are closed, too, but there will be remote classes.

I’d say that’s pretty good. Except for the majority of people, who seem to spend most of their free time in bars, restaurants, taverns, pubs, the lot. It’s a cultural thing. Even in the worst economic crises, cafes, bars, and eateries were full. Now, this majority is facing their own kind of hell. It was about time. Life’s not just a party, people! Now see how we feel when we are forced into socialising.

So, introverts are rejoicing, extroverts are freaking out, and everyone is stocking up on non-perishables. Okay, not everyone but a lot of people. I mean, a lot. Crowds descended on supermarkets yesterday afternoon around the city, buying — yes, you guessed it — toilet paper but also things like rice, beans, and flour. Oh, and cooking oil.

Now, that generally makes sense if you’re planning on self-quarantining but it seems a lot of people are planning to self-quarantine for a year. Which makes my heart melt. If only they’d go through with that plan and stay put for a year, what a paradise the city will turn into… Oh, sweet dreams.

Anyway, I’m happy to report there are no toilet paper shortages. I went on a recon mission this morning, expecting empty shelves and aisles and was kind of disappointed when I encountered none. Except in the meat section. That was a wasteland. There were just two trays of pork bones there and a few cuts of that veal supreme that sells for a million a pound. That was it. No pork chops. No mince. No chicken anything.

Now that was a scary sight. Sadly for my apocalyptic hopes and visions, the meat counters won’t be empty for long. They’ll restock soon enough. Basically, my apocalypse is not going as I imagined it but to be honest I imagined it with zombies, so there’s that. All in all, underwhelming. Let’s hope the disease spread will be underwhelming as well.

Paper. More paper.

No, I don’t mean the wiping variety. I mean the writing variety. I’ve always had a thing for stationery and by ‘a thing’ I mean a strong attraction, with a special focus on notepads and the likes. I guess it makes sense for a pre-millennial person who’s most comfortable expressing their thoughts by writing but I would also admit a hoarding tendency. Not that I will leave a notepad empty, of course I wouldn’t. I even found one from 1972 recently, no joke. One of my dad’s notepads, with just a few pages used. I cut these off and I’m using it for blog post idea lists. The paper is yellowish, it smells old and I love it.

In the past, I used to use notepads and notebooks for literally recording my thoughts and musings and I also kept a diary. Now, I use paper to plot. And I’ve jut encountered a problem.

I started plotting my disease novel in a new notebook, a small one, 100 sheets or so. I thought it would be enough for the rough plot. And then I had this idea of turning my funny ghost story into a book and now I’m down to the last twenty pages of the notebook but I’m only halfway through with the novel. Which means the notebook will end before the book does. Which means I will have to continue plotting in a new notebook. Which is horrible and it causes me physical pain in the centre of the chest.

Now, when I say ‘plotting’ I don’t mean just sketching outlines. I write the chapter in the notebook first and then type it in the Word doc the next morning, fleshing it out but, right now, not much because the flow of the story is so strong. So I could have expected to run out of space if I’d given it a moment’s thought but I didn’t because, as I said, I was too busy writing. And now I will have to split my book into two notebooks. Or glue them together, I have considered this, too. But I’ll know these are two notebooks glued together and not one containing the full first draft of One Last Cigarette. As you can see, my life is extremely difficult at the moment and I see no happy resolution to my dramatic problem. My suffering will be eternal.

Toss a thought to your extrovert friend

When I broke my leg about 20 years ago, a couple of friends came to see me at home to commiserate and to sympathise that I would be staying home for two months. I told them not to worry. Not going out for me was a blessing not a burden. I went through the party period, I outgrew it and by age 24 I was most comfortable at home. This hasn’t changed so I’m in my element right now as I’ve been since 2002 and no kid’s birthday party can take me out of it because we are all in my element. Sadly, this means that extroverts are out of their element, which, I imagine, is not an element at all but rather a mixture of elements.

I could have gloated because that’s the sort of person I am but I won’t. Triumph makes me generous so extroverts, even the very loud ones, have my full sympathy. Remember, dear extroverts forced to stay in, this, too, shall pass. And it shall pass more quickly if you do stay in. The cafes and bars will still be there when you emerge from your self-isolation. End of thought for extroverts.

I won’t advise you to wash your hands and stay away from other people because you already know this. Stay calm and read books.




3 thoughts on “A Profound Look Back at the Week: March 9-13”

  1. Sorry for the image of it but in case you were wondering why people rushed for toilet paper, I’ve heard that’s because when one person sneezes, ten people shit in their pants!

    After one week of “io resto a casa” alone, I can tell you that humour has become my main focus. And I mean any kind of humour…

    PS: now I won’t wish you “break a leg” for your soon to be published book because you might be sensitive about the subject…so I’ll say “in bocca al lupo”!

    Cheers from the “inside”


    1. 😀 That’s a good one, about the toilet paper. Humour is our best medicine, definitely, so I’m not giving up on it ever.
      As for the book, I just heard from the publishers of my first one. They’ll only publish the second one if the sales of the first are strong. Which I don’t expect them to be without any marketing. But, well, that’s life, and it’s full of publishers. (And I’m not sensitive at all, a thick skin is good to have when you’re a writer)
      Stay well, Domenico!
      P.S. Crepi il lupo! ( found that with Google but I am indeed learning Italian. Almost 30 years after I started but better late than never, right?)


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