Tel Aviv Diary March 20, 2020, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 20, 2020- Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 20-24, 2020

called back.

i've been asked to be retested and will be heading out at noon to the tent about five minutes drive from here. it seems more efficient than the previous test i had where the health care worker spent a good quarter of an hour getting dressed in the hall before he came in, and then even more time changing clothes after.

So i take a fresh pair of gloves and a mask and drive out to the parking lot the first stop is that there is the entrance where, through the window, i show the code i got on the cellphone. that allows me to proceed. everyone is completely covered in plastic and masked, so when the second guy checks my code and holds up 3 fingers i fail to understand that i am to drive to the third tent. when i finally notice that there are five tents i'm not in the right lane. where to go? the guys in lane 5 signal me to come to them, and i head over. but i'm too far to the right to scan my code on the machine, so i move over. not close enough. he comes out and grabs the code and puts it in the scanner, "Netta?" the other guy asks. "No, I'm Karen." but I don't know whether i could be heard, and I don't know how many times i repeated my name before the tester stuck the swab up my nose and then another one down my throat. And I was released. Took me a while to find the exit.

I hope Netta is okay

Tonight they mentioned on the news that today's testing was just a pilot. and i spent the day worrying that they called me back to test because my previous test was terrible...

Tonight the kids entertained us with a news program on zoom. morning news corona afternoon news corona evening news corona. then they had the political news - one kid played Bibi and the other played Benny.. i couldn't stop laughing for an hour -

March 21, 2020

Spring has sprung.

so we went out for a walk and discovered that there are new problems in Tel Aviv - the old people stay home and there is no one to feed the street cats. Even in our dog-crowded neighborhood there are many many hungry cats.

But we have bigger problems here - our first corona-related death has occurred - a man who caught the virus at the old age home from a social worker. Thank goodness we're finally moving up to 2300 tests a day. So as much as we try to stay isolated we're incredibly vulnerable in a protected environment.

And don't think it's easier for old people who have lived on their own. no matter what the media says, most grandchildren have better things to do than call their grandparents - they need to feel alive. so if you know someone who is in isolation - remember what my mother used to say about her state - alein vi a shtein - alone as a stone. Call them and see if they need anything, maybe just to talk and reminisce. they may have good stories to tell.

I spent part of this morning making videos - one for Leyvick House, and another for the Willy Brandt Center. they were short videos but i wanted to do them while the sun was shining.

March 22, 2020

Last night i participated in an online virtual protest - the shutdown of the knesset was the straw, but the lack of central government was also part of my curiosity. the justification for paranoia was assured when Lucy Arish, who mc'ed the protest, was fired from her job at the israel radio/tv channel this morning.

Today I decided to start giving people some hope for the future and tried to organize the writers of IAWE to send me videos on their reading happy poems to put on our facebook page. i started with my own here, it took me all day to figure it out, partly because i was interrupted all the time by depressed people wanting to talk

we also took a walk. we are blessed by living just opposite a neighborhood of rich people who are never around so we could move around easily. I looked at the corona map and saw that Tel Aviv is dotted with corona victims, but our block is clean.

My neighbor was just leaving as i was coming back - i backed away from her to a six feet distance, but she was blocking the entrance, "My son said i shouldn't got to the supermarket," she said, "But i want to buy food. Should I go?" "You really shouldn't," I respond, "But my teacher - you know i have a number on my arm - and my teacher when i got here - told us to keep clean and eat healthy and we'll be healthy." " Yes, but the virus is something else," "Yes, but my teacher Drora said I was the smartest one in the class, and now the guys in my class are in the knesset. but i was the smartest one." She wears rags and a kerchief and carries a string bag - but I'll bet - at this moment - she really is the smartest one in the class.

March 23, 2020

this is what i recorded for the peace center. it went on youtube this afternoon.

Two people I spoke with this afternoon - one said it will be over in two weeks, you'll see. the other said it will be over in two years.. Ezi said, it's somewhere in the middle. Ladies and Gentlemen - we don't know, and it would be wise to make the best of it.

March 24, 2020

amazing that trump is going back to business and canceling the quarantine at the same time that we are going into total lockdown. when i heard about our new rules - that we will not be allowed more than 100 meters outside our home - we had just come back from our daily walk, and i made us go out again before the rule went into effect. i wonder how that will work, but i think what we'll have to do is run around our parking lot for the next week - if we're still healthy.

Every one is getting fat. At least that's one of the things people complain about. that once we get past this event, everything will be small - especially our jeans. But i'm full of nervous energy - like women just before they give birth. yet what could happen after such a terrifying time? and how will it end?

So I've been looking for positive poems to encourage people. And they all come from my childhood.

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