Milan in the time of Coronavirus: Lazy and Slovenly or Emancipated?

Milan in the Time of Coronavirus

My Lock down Look

Putting mascara on is a big deal these days, as is doing my brows, shaving my legs and filing my nails. As for my hairbrush – thing of the past. On Sat night I had a virtual date. He looked great, prepped as if we were really meeting in person, wearing a lovely white shirt and even a splash of aftershave, as he told me. I was in the same clothes I’d been wearing all day and slept in the night before, propped up in bed with nothing on my face but a pair of glasses. I’ve never been the full coverage type, but usually a lick of mascara and a dab of blusher are my go-tos, like wearing knickers I’d feel a bit naked without them. But not this time, in fact I felt totally comfortable, relaxed and confident.

It’s not that I don’t care, it just feels so liberating, as if I’m shedding layers of “shoulds”. I should do this, I should do that, wear this, wear that, eat this, drink that – all these “shoulds” – they’re falling away, and there’s so much more room without them, as if my life were a garden that I’ve spent the last couple of months de-weeding. Ah, freedom and space for new plants to grow that are much more to my liking.

My mental state and physical appearance are not the only things that are changing. I’ve let the reigns go on time too. On Friday, for example, I clean forgot about two English lessons: one at 10:00 and one at 17:00. It wasn’t until 17:30 that I remembered about both of them. I logged into Skype and saw the message from my 17:00 student. At 17:12 she’d written “OK, we will re-schedule this session! Have a nice weekend” followed by a smiley face. “I’m soooo sorry,” I wrote back, “my fault completely”. Then I remembered the 10:00 lesson. “Scusami Tracey, I can’t make our lesson tomorrow,” he’d written the day before. “No worries,” I wrote back, “I completely forgot about it myself”. Again, it’s not that I didn’t care (I’m genuinely fond of my students and enjoy teaching them), but it was as if I knew I could let myself off the hook this time and the heavy thud of “Oh f*ck, I’ve completely blanked on my lessons today” wasn’t there and I felt really glad about that too as I merrily popped open a bottle of Prosecco and went back to playing scrabble.

Time in general has taken on a whole new dimension too and I think that’s what’s confusing me. The days are flying by, but time itself feels more spacious, more expansive. Little things like picking up my pace as I near the metro so I don’t miss the next train, even though there’s always one after that, waiting impatiently for the green man to cross the road, for the elevator, to pay at the supermarket, at the bar for my espresso, all these moments in time – they were quite stressful for me now that I think about it.

Saying that, I’m double checking my calendar more than usual this week. It’s my brother’s birthday today, haven’t forgotten that thankfully and have already called him. I’ve also got a couple of lessons this afternoon, the first one at 15:00 so I’ve set my alarm clock at 14:45 just to be on the safe side.

And bar my regular lessons, I’m not sure what the rest of the week holds (that feels good too). I’ve been enjoying my chats on Cat Back Chat with Seanie – a live radio show organised by HC in Kilkenny, Ireland. Love speaking on it and love listening to other guests too. It usually airs Monday to Friday every evening.

I’ve also been checking out the Italian property market and I kid you not when I say there’s houses on the market here for 1 euro. It’s an interesting situation and there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye obviously, but basically there are many little villages and medieval hamlets in Italy that are so depopulated they are literally becoming ghost towns as old people die and young people move to cities or other countries. So there’s a huge incentive to repopulate these places, plus now with Covid-19 and lots of Italian people themselves wanting to get out of built-up city areas – I think it’s an interesting situation. I’ll write a post about it soon (whenever that may be) and will also talk about it next time I’m on Cat Back Chat.

Off now for another game of scrabble and then a possible trip to Carrefour supermarket. Won’t be wearing make-up, but will have the mask on. Wonder what it’s going to be like when we’re not all wearing masks and communicating through screens. Boh (who knows?), but right now it feels like emancipation.



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