“Secret” life of a EuroPeer during the COVID-19

Inspired by stories of my other nice colleagues, Jessy from Germany and Ter (the familiar name for the Tereza) from Slovakia, I decided to add a small piece to the circle of EuroPeers. I am sitting now in a chair in a cold but sun-coloured room with flames reflected in the windows that brighten the human soul. I have strange hair. Actually, thinking… thinking about nothing. I want to start the story like in Disney’s fairy-tale, Tangled:  „This is a story… how I die…“ but it is not so dark. It is just colourless. This is actually the story of my Corona life from a different point of view. 

My “lovely” COVID-19 lockdown caught me during a period when I have been on the course which could help me change something in my life. It was like a force majeure, because even though I was looking forward to the course and was full of expectations, once again I was deeply disappointed. Sometimes I say to myself that it’s perhaps my destiny, but the mega-positive me kicks my butt and says: everything is as it should be and it happened that way because it should have happened in that way. So I was happy deep, deep inside in my heart because I knew my soul was exhausted from those real feelings of negativity that happened to me last years and during the course as well. I felt like Prometheus after many years of the rock’s embrace and his torment when finally Heracles broke up the chains and released him.

I narrowly managed to get home from the city where I was. The COVID19 virus was just in its initial phase. I sat in the nice yellow bus with the empty black-leather seats. It felt like the world could end at that particular moment. And, what did I do? I thought it would be nice to eat some ice cream and enjoy the last moments of my life with my feet on the windowsill of a big window, enjoy the last unique view of such a wonderful scene where I could participate as a human being. 

We listened to promises that the quarantine would have been 2 weeks only. I somehow felt it was not the truth. I felt the society would not overcome it so easily because we have been blind and deaf to the voice of our planet for such a long time. The voice which has been whispering quietly to the air for many years: if you do not stop what you do, you will pay for it.

I came home. The life in the village where I come from has not been different. In the true sense of the word, I experience how is it when the poet says: … “where time has stopped…” In our municipality, I feel the time has stopped somewhere around the years 1945 – 1970. 

Despite using semi-modern technologies, the way of thinking is horrifying old-fashioned. Nevertheless, people were informed about COVID enough. Due to the slow progress of the virus and effective actions of both government (we had the elections before the coronavirus), nobody was that affected or badly panicking. It looked as if no one really noticed or took care of the virus. When COVID slowly sneaked into our dwellings, people began to act like madmen. They started to buy large amounts of flour and other consumer goods, disinfectants included as if they were preparing for the third world war. I thought it would be pretty nice to write a poem titled “30 kg of flour”. I was almost scared these hungry creatures will redeem all the ice cream. Luckily, nothing like that happened. And I lost a taste for that.

So I finally settled at home, sweet home. I have been thinking, what I will do with all my free time. Each day, I was bombarded by the news from around the world about people, the corona crisis, the issues that will accompany that. All the time… round and round and round. Ooooh “Corona Style” (I took this from the original song “Gangnam Style”). Especially, I was taken aback from the society crying about economic impacts. A society that always runs away from the essence of life and deals with things that are certainly important in their essence but yet secondary. And I have been thinking… I felt sorry for those people, their losses, but… I did not feel any difference in my life. I realised I was not able to immerse myself in their stories in the same way because it was nothing new for me. Crisis, no crisis, I have been lonely and excluded from society for such a long time, and I could not feel much empathy. I experienced horrible things, even death of people close to my heart, their last seconds that I accept death itself as a natural part of our lives. 

And when loneliness floods your life for more than 15 years, it suddenly becomes your best friend. You stop to miss other people. So, you live as you used to live before. That means, I enjoy every little thing from pollen to the singing birds, little running lizards who accompany me during my housework journeys around the house or in the garden. Almost like in the Disney stories. At that moment, I can still feel I have a connection with nature that much of our mankind had already lost.

Even in this loneliness and social exclusion my thoughts are still not focusing only on myself, but on other people as well. It has been part of me since my childhood. It does not matter they are rich or poor. I can feel all these connections. I can feel their pain or worries. I am often thinking about what these different kinds of human beings do or what they feel in this difficult time, in different parts of the world.

In time, when I do not lead “a boring philosopher’s” life I usually read a lot of documents (on-line & off-line), do housework, and dream. I love dreaming. For me, it is a form of relaxing and pre-visualising my reachable future. Even I fulfil it once or no. Occasionally sketching and I am always pleased to find objects that bear traces of our human past.

As I am getting older I am realising that our inner happiness is probably the most important thing in our lives. Same as our ability to have a certain healthy compassion for others. Except for this, I love reading the articles associated with art – because art is crazy art is smart, the social interactions, etc. I can finally devote a bit of time to myself. I actually never have had time for myself. So, after almost 25 years it is quite new to me. Walking and sitting on the hill, closing my eyes, touching the moss, or stroking grass stalks, just relaxing. 

Sometimes, when I am so tired, I fall asleep for a few hours there. During sleep, I can hear the voice of flying birds, bees buzzing, the rustling of the grass, and also enjoying the silence. At that moment,
I am able to find and give back a piece of my broken soul for a few magical moments. “What a wonderful world…”

Until I will come back to the reality where the hungry “demons” of our society await me the same as the orc horde has been waiting eagerly for the last command of their dark lord – Sauron.

Time flies… I was lucky to renew a very old connection too. In our minds, we return with my friend to our childhood when life was so, so different, so carefree. We think about our future. Flying so far away from reality. We immerse ourselves in our dreams. No ambient noise, no harassment. NO “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” I finally think positively. Simultaneously, I am thinking about my friends from EVS and EuroPeers as well. Would they like to see me too? Who knows?! And who we actually are, and what this connection means for each of us? For our future? I miss many of them so much. 

My current thoughts are interrupted by my mom… She looks at me worriedly. Neither of us has an idea of what will happen after COVID, she has no idea what will happen with me, with us. I am looking at her with a gaze of a grateful son who has no words and whose heart is scarred by thoughts of giving nothing to her in return.

By Peter