Learning to live again

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Through the kitchen window, to be precise. While I was waiting for the coffee to percolate in the morning. I was thinking about tiny things and looked out the window at the horizon when I was startled by a pair of scarlet macaws flying right in front of me. Macaws flying early in the morning and at sunset are part of Manaus’ aesthetic history, for those who are unaware. It is a lovely sight to behold. The image reminded me that life had poetry, in addition to the bank slips and regular problems that occupied my thoughts.

Vaccination appears to be in full swing. Despite an inefficient government that is more concerned with its tenebrous activities than with assisting in the fight against the pandemic, a pandemic that, according to Boaventura Sousa Santos, marked the start of the twenty-first century. Corona has had a significant impact on our lives during the last fifteen months. Everything now implies that, if one is positive, life will return to being lived in the same manner as before. We, responsible non-denial citizens, already timidly go out to restaurants, shopping malls, restricted cocktail parties. Not without wearing the mask and occasionally sticking your hand in the gel.

It still feels like a misdemeanor, like I am on probation. It is weird for me to be in locations where there are no sofas, such as a bookstore. The message appears to be, “Come in, but don’t make yourself at home.” While waiting for my wife to buy clothes at the department shop next door, I just wanted to sit and casually flick through a book on Celtic history. However, there are no benches, chairs, or armchairs available. They were completely wiped out by the pandemic.

Returning to coexistence with others in the presence is weird, I think. We unlearn the ropes in a way. It is a bittersweet situation. This comeback has an exhilarating and unsettling quality about it. It is like though we have suddenly returned to our homeland after having been absent for a long period. What will people’s reactions be? Has anything changed on that street? Is the mother of your friend still alive? I am not sure what to say or how to welcome folks. Have you already exchanged handshakes? How about a punch with a punch? Isn’t it elbow-to-elbow? Is it just a no-touch greeting? Is hugging already acceptable? In these new times, what politeness standards left by the plague should we learn?

Our social muscles have weakened. Allow for social physiotherapy to rehabilitate them! We must relearn how to socialize. It is a fact. The pandemic has offered some consolation to those who, like me, have always been very homely. My home is one of my favorites. But, once again, I must embrace the discomfort of the unknown, the impending return. After a year of hearing that we should not mingle in groups because of a fatal virus on the loose, it seems difficult to alter it all over again.

The pandemic’s mandatory containment has raised a variety of philosophical issues. Do we really need to get out of the house so often to enjoy our lives? You can’t solve it with a text message or a Meet call? Do we really need to deal with congested roads, destroy the environment, and dress in long pants and shoes? Do women need to go back to wearing tight bras now that they have spent so much time at home with their bodies free? Do we really need to go to bars to socialize? Isn’t it possible to merely listen to the Spotify playlist? What do I want for my life? What kind of world do I want my daughters to grow up in? When will I be able to devote all of my time to my family again? I am not sure what the answers are. Really. Gestalt is open. As a psychologist, I envision a vast grassland stretching as far as the eye can see to be explored.

The truth is that isolation forced us to re-evaluate our priorities in life. We discover inertia and learn how to live in it without doing anything and without the constraints of time. And we enjoy it. Of course, I am referring to the number of people who could work from home. The debate is different for individuals who have fought at hospitals, running public transportation, pharmacies, supermarkets, and so on. My respect.

We must learn to live again. Regain our ability to embrace and laugh in the presence of others. Take better care of the group. Take better care of the environment. Living the life that truly counts since life is a breath that could be taken away at any moment. These are lessons in the virus’s pedagogy. We slow down to take in the scenery of life, focusing more on the journey and our companions than on the destination. You can even see the macaws in the window without rushing. It is now late afternoon. Just as though to illustrate the text, a couple has just come by. Synchronicity. Or is it God, who is a poet in his own right?

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