Where were you when lockdown was announced a year ago?
It was a few days before the beginning of spring and our bodies hadn’t recovered from carnival, nor had we had time to clean our windows which were stained from the most intense calima to hit the archipelago in 30 years. We lived oblivious to the news that was coming in from China, still sharing memes on social media and Whatsapp groups. Then the news came.
There are always events that people ask, ‘do you remember where you were when...’, such as the first moon landing or when Princess Di got killed, and included in this inventory of dates should be March 14th 2020, the announcement of Spain going into lockdown.
That afternoon the country froze. British ex-pats, some of who couldn’t name the Spanish Prime Minister, focused on Pedro Sánchez's speech, confirming all the restrictions that had been leaking to the media throughout the day and which now highlighted the severity of the situation after the announcement of school’s closing a few days before.
And on that day our lives changed as quickly as toilet paper flew off the shelves of supermarkets as people stockpiled with the hysteria and fear of the unknown ahead.
Suddenly we were locked at home. The digital media soared their audiences, with a society desperate to know how the virus would continue to affect its routines. A trip to the supermarket became the only safe-conduct for many, and it was there with the health requirements in place that the affect was most noticeable.
Those were the days when people believed that we would be better humans when the virus passed. Gestures of communal beauty were born, such as applause for the health service, who every evening at 7pm filled the windows and balconies of neighbours. Many put on faces at that time, which despite condemning us to isolation seemed destined to humanize us.
The days were images that, until then, we had only thought existed in science fiction. Deserted pavements, vehicles that roamed the neighbourhoods broadcasting messages that it was necessary to stay at home, soldiers patrolling the streets, police blocks at major junctions.
The situation caused moments in which creativity prevailed. Electricity became golden with the 'boom' in home baking, and we consumed streaming platforms at such a high rate that we are unable to remember what series we were watching a year ago.
Homes were converted into offices, and all life happened on a screen, with teachers trying to put together the remote school program and ruling numerous classrooms from their living rooms, and parents working from home. We even discovered new artists, who came out to their balconies to sing loudly or share their musical selection with their neighbours.
The weeks of confinement were overcome with ingenuity. The cities were recovering their activity little by little. Obviously there was a desire to resume normal life. Along the way, spring left and summer arrived. And so people began to recover their pulse, but with increasing awareness that there is still a long way to go to 'normal life'.
A good example of this is the mask, a fashionable accessory this season. After initial doubts about its usefulness, and with the exorbitant inflation of its prices in the first weeks, it has become another garment in our wardrobe. There are all kinds of them, and they range from the classic surgical ones to those designed by fashion labels.
There were months in which the second wave was sailed. The time in which a society, exhausted from being locked up at home, took advantage of the decrease in restrictions to release what was inside.
That brought new restrictions, alert levels that accommodate epidemiological data with the crazy pace of a roller coaster. A mountain that we have not only, not gotten off a year later, but that still continues to manage our emotions and our days.
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The public supported the Government in the difficult decision of total confinement, but, although the approval of community funds and the implementation of the vaccination plan have generated some hope, the growing discontent shows that the economy does not wait.
So what do we know 365 later?
We know that we have adapted, we now that we will survive, we know this isn’t yet over, but we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. By the way, where were you when the country went in to lockdown?