© Leif Gabrielsen / Neukirch
von Liv Heløe
Oslo, March 22nd, 2020
I have a friend and colleague in Italy. She is a playwright, like me. We met several times in China some years ago, in an international project.
We continued to keep in touch, but now we haven’t spoken for a long time.
Today I wrote her this e-mail:
How are you? Are you in Rome? We read terrifying news and numbers from Italy every day and I think about you. How is your family?
I am fine. I wish I was a doctor these days. Or a nurse or a bus driver or worked in a shop. Not to be a hero and not because I envy them. But to do something.
The text I have been working on for the last year (about climate change and personal responsibility) seems completely irrelevant. Not because of the subject, but because the prerequisite for saying anything at all, have changed completely. For ever? In our lifetime?
But: I am fine. Grocery shops and pharmacys are of course open, also book stores and some other shops. But schools, theatres, cinemas, bars and most restaurants are closed, metros and buses have reduced departures. Most people, among them my husband, work at home.
I myself (who almost always work at home) find it hard to concentrate. Feel like a drugged fly. I call my parents (83 and 87) and tell them how to behave (and they tell me: they already know). I tell my grown-up children and my fosterson how to behave (and they tell me: they already know).
My fosterson is Kurdish. His parents and brother live in Northern Iraq. We are of course concerned about them, as well.
Yesterday, I was at a pharmacy. There were no customers but me, and the pharmacist seemed to have a need to talk (and I was happy, I hadn’t talked to anyone but family for days). He said: “It is all a question about who we should prioritize; the old ones or the young. If we continue to prioritize the old (by closing everything down), the young ones will have to pay for years and years with unemployment and bad economy.” It’s not as simple as that of course, but I must admit worry about my children’s future. On the other hand: I am not willing to sacrifice my parents.
Last night we saw “Rome” – the film. Beautiful. And again I thought of you – and that I have not been in Rome – and that I want to go when this is over.
Cross my fingers and hope you and your family are well. Send a sign of life if you have the time and the spirit.
Hope and strength!